The Giro d'Italia was a learning experience for Team Saxo Bank, team principal Bjarne Riis said and the Danish team “struggled” through the three-week race, he admitted.
“I had obviously hoped for more than we got,” he wrote in his column in the Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “But we struggled with what we had.
“When in the coming days I evaluate the events in detail, I must also be realistic in terms of what we went into the Giro with. We knew it would be difficult to bring home good results,” he said, while pointing out the team gained experience from the race.
He praised Manuele Boaro, who finished fourth in the opening time trial, and sprinter Juan Jose Haedo. The Argentinian, who abandoned after the 13th stage, brought in the team's highest finish when he was second on the second stage.
“At the Giro, JJ was able to practice even more to to gain the maximum benefit from the sprinter train, as his teammates bring him into an optimal position in the sprint. And we have further views on how JJ should improve. He should first improve his top speed.”
A high finishing speed is “is something you can train, and although there is relatively little time before the Tour, JJ may well manage to increase it. We have made a specific plan for the whole of his training, and now he has started with a serious preparation in training and will then run a few races before the Tour. So I am counting on the fact that he will be there with even more speed in his legs.”
The riders are not the only ones working hard to resolve the team's woes. “While my riders are struggling on, I am working at high pressure off the roads to piece together the future of the team. It is a big puzzle, but I expect soon that things fall into place.”
Chris Anker Sorensen: no Tour captain
Saxo Bank's Chris Anker Sorensen is also looking towards the Tour. He has been mentioned as team captain in the absence of Alberto Contador, but doesn't think it will work that way.
“I don't think we are going to have an actual captain on our team this year. I think more that we will come to the race with nine men, who get free roles to find their chance,” he told sporten.dk.
“We are going to ride offensively and I think you're going to see us often in break groups. But we won't go in break at any price, and we must also take into account that we might get sprints with JJ Haedo, so we also must focus on the flat stages.”