After an absence of 11 years, Denis Menchov will return to race the Russian Championships on June 24 prior to his come-back to the Tour de France. The Katusha rider announced the news in a blog on F-Sport. "It's been very long since I competed in the National Championships. The last time was in 2001. Since then, a lot has happened but I'm happy to come back to the most important event of my country," Menchov wrote.
However, the 34-year-old plans to take part only in the time trial, not in the road race, "as the one-day race format is not so much for me anyway."
Menchov has been building up towards the Tour de France, where he hopes to be an overall contender once again. Having won the Giro d'Italia in 2009 and the Vuelta a España in 2005 and 2007, he finished third in the Tour de France twice before and will be a dark horse going into this year's race.
A solid climber and gifted time triallist, the Russian is motivated to take the national jersey against the clock to France in July, where the amount of time trial kilometres will be in his favour. "It's difficult to say what result I will be able to achieve, but I'll do my utmost to fight for the win [in the Russian time trial championship - ed.]. If I can win, the feeling of riding the Tour de France time trials with the Russian champion's jersey will be great," he added.
However, Menchov's preparation so far for the big event in July has not gone without hiccups. Having had to abandon the Tour de Romandie on the very first day due to tendonitis, he returned to competition at the Critérium du Dauphiné but went unnoticed at the race, finishing 24th at the time trial and 42nd in the general classification.
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