Movistar's Beñat Intxausti is going into his first Tour de France with his sights set on contending for the white jersey of best young rider and the aim of dedicating the title to his teammate Xavier Tondo, who died little more than a month ago.
"I would like to dedicate the white jersey to Xavi, who told me before he died that I could win it," Intxausti told El Correo. "Xavi and I went through the list of my possible rivals for the white jersey," Intxausti said, adding that Astana's Roman Kreuziger and Sky's Rigoberto Urán were two of those mentioned. "I'm not saying I'm going to win it, but I am going to contend for it."
Intxausti and Tondo were on a high-altitude training camp at Spain's Sierra Nevada resort in late May when Tondo was tragically killed when he became trapped between the door of an underground car park and his own vehicle. Intxausti was sitting inside the vehicle when the accident occurred. His teammate died in his arms.
The tragedy has affected him profoundly. "I wasn't able to train for several days. Going to his funeral helped me, as did being there with my teammates. I was able to say goodbye to him there," Intxausti said.
"I will be going to the Tour with a great deal of respect," said Intxausti, who had high hopes of producing a good performance at last year's Vuelta for his former Euskaltel team, but ended up quitting the race on stage 15. "I prepared for it well but it didn't go well for me at all. I want to do well in a Grand Tour, but I'm relaxed. I'm not obsessing about it."
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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