Saunier Duval-Scott's Riccardo Riccò was unsure how he would fair in today's crucial time trial when asked at a press conference during the rest day. The Italian rider has claimed two stage wins to date, but will need to go into damage control mode today to limit his losses on the 39.4 km time trial to Urbino.
Riccò, who was vocal about the road conditions on the event's early stages, says he's improved his abilities. "I've improved my time trial skills over last year, but I still don't know how it will unfold [today]," he said. "I'd be content with giving up to two minutes to [Astana's Andreas] Klöden, but then I shouldn't let [Danilo] Di Luca go off."
The Saunier Duval-Scott leader said he wasn't nervous ahead of today's individual time trial. The stage will likely be better suited to Giro contenders Andreas Klöden (Astana) and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes).
"Anyway, tomorrow is a decisive leg for other riders, not for me," he said. "We need riders like [Paolo] Savoldelli, [Denis] Menchov or [Levi] Leipheimer to take control of the Giro and give us climbers time.
"I'm not nervous, I've scored two stage wins and there are quite a few mountain stages ahead," he added. "Even if I didn't do well [today], if I came in far behind the first bunch, I'd still have a lot of legs to make up for lost time. So I have to be relaxed and take it easy."
Riccò described his Giro campaign to date as being perfect. The Italian claimed his first victory on Stage 2, where he out-sprinted Di Luca from a small bunch, and claimed another win on Stage 8 where he outpaced compatriot Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) from a larger group of riders.
"My Giro's been perfect so far, and I'll be on the attack if I feel fine, but I know I must give up some things if I'm interested in the GC," he said. "Am I nasty because I'm taking too many victories? Name a rider who's willing to give his victories away!"
Riccò wouldn't be drawn into comparisons between Di Luca's form and his own. The Italian hinted that he thinks the form of last year's winner isn't as strong in 2008.
"When you can win, you have to win, there's no other way," he said. "Di Luca? He's below last year's shape, or maybe I'm above. Anyway, our duel hasn't been too close. Neither of us has attacked the other one, so you can't tell who's stronger, can you?"