Spain’s Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) is written off as an outsider for the Giro d'Italia GC at best, yet the reality is that he is lying third overall after a week of extremely tough racing - and, with the considerable caveat that he usually has one very bad day on a Grand Tour, could yet rise higher if he manages to avoid that.
Intxausti benefited from Movistar’s very strong team time trial, where they ran second to Sky, but as he tells Cyclingnews before the stage seven start, he has been targetting the Giro since last November.
“I didn’t do so badly last time round, and since last winter I’ve had the objective of doing the Giro as part of the season plan,” the Basque said. “I’ve come here with 18 days racing, like in 2012, and above all feeling very motivated.”
“The team time trial was the first big objective, we’d been doing them well since the start of the year, even if Sky was stronger. We’re doing all right.”
“I was up there on the important moments, and my worst part came when I had a puncture yesterday with ten kilometres to go. That was pretty hairy, just when it was all going down and there was a cross-wind, but the team reacted well and I got back on all right.”
Looking at stage seven, an area which Intxausti knows well from the Tirreno-Adriatico, he said, “It’s a very complicated day, you’ll have to stay very alert and make sure you get through ok.”
As for tomorrow’s time trial, Intxausti says “I haven’t seen the route yet, and it will depend a lot on how it looks and then we’ll get a clearer idea of how things are for me.”
“It’s clear, though, that [Bradley] Wiggins will be ahead of all of the rest of us, at least he will be if he’s in the same sort of form as in last year’s Dauphine and Tour de France, the question is by how much. “
“Tomorrow is perhaps a little different to the time trials in the Tour, though, and I think there will be some differences, but not as big as in July.”
“Basically I think I have to forget Wiggins a bit, seeing he’s so superior, and concentrate on how I go relative to the rest.”
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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