Having won a stage of the Giro d'Italia, worn the maglia rosa before going on to finish eighth overall in year's first Grand Tour, Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) has big ambitions for the Vuelta a España.
The 27-year-old only returned to racing last week at the Prueba Villafranca - Ordiziako Klasika after a break from racing in June. He then rode the Clasica San Sebastian and the Circuito de Getxo - Memorial Ricardo Otxoa.
"I think these three races, and then the Vuelta a Burgos, will sort out my form before the Vuelta a España," he told BiciCiclismo. Intxausti had 20 days at altitude in the Sierra Nevada as part of his build up while his teammates helped Nairo Quintana into the polka dot jersey and second overall at the Tour de France.
Intxausti said that his performance at the Giro had surpassed his expectations for the three weeks.
"I was satisfied by my performance in the Giro and gives me morale for the Vuelta," he said. "It left a great taste, I had the feeling of making a historic performance. I accomplished the goals I had planned and I got better as the race went on."
Out of contract at the end of the season, Intxausti is hoping to extend his contract with Movistar before the start of the Vuelta so he can race "without pressure." Having made the move from Euskaltel-Euskadi for the 2011 season, Intxausti is now in his third year with Movistar and its arguably been his best. Now he hopes it won't be his last.
"I cannot complain because the season went very well. I want to stay here and I will do everything possible for that."
When it comes to the Vuelta, which begins in Vilanova de Arousa on August 24 with a team time trial, Intxausti won't have the same freedoms with the team aiming to elevate Alejandro Valverde to a second overall victory.
"The priority is to win the race with Valverde," he said. "If I can win a stage, it would round out a very good season, but my individual goals remain in the background. Also, if I'm near Valverde at the end, I should have a high finish on general classification."
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