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Vuelta time trial: Konovalovas last Worlds' test

Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo)

Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo) (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

Lithuania's Ignatas Konovalovas will gauge himself in the Vuelta a España's time trial in Valencia, Spain, today. It is the last test prior to the World Championships for Konovalovas, winner of Giro d'Italia's time trial in Rome.

"I want to finish with a good result and be happy with myself," Konovalovas (Cervélo TestTeam) told Cyclingnews.

Konovalovas, 23, made himself known this year when he won ahead of riders like Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins on the final day of the Giro d'Italia. Denis Menchov fought to defend his classification lead on wet roads around Rome's Colosseum, but Konovalovas posted an early unbeatable time that won the day and concluded his first Grand Tour.

He won the national time trial title June 24 and finished seventh overall in the Tour of Denmark in August. He finished 18th place in the Vuelta's opening 4.8-kilometre time trial seven days ago, 22 seconds off of two-time World Champ Fabian Cancellara.

"I don't think it is possible [to win Worlds] this year," said Konovalovas. "I am not thinking about the win, I just want to do it and come away satisfied with my job. I want to give 100 percent, if I do that then I will be happy. If I give 100 percent and I am the last five, then I won't be happy, of course. I think a top-10 would be a really good result for me."

The World Championship time trial is in Mendrisio, Switzerland in two and a half weeks, September 24. The elite men cover three 16.6-kilometre circuits, 49.8 kilometres. The 650-metre long Rancate climb is the main difficulty with sections of 10 percent.

Konovalovas has seen the course on the internet, but he will preview the course after he leaves the Vuelta around stage 12. He prepared for the Worlds time trial course prior to the Vuelta with specific high-cadence training at his home in Marseille, France. He is using the Vuelta as his last preparation for the Worlds, he said.

He finished 37th at the Worlds time trial last year in Varese, his first at the elite level. He finished 12 in 2007 and 2006, both in the Under 23 ranks.

Konovalovas receives advice from his dad, director of the national team. He sends messages and calls his parents often in the Vuelta, and will speak up to an hour on the phone with his dad if he has a bad day. As Konovalovas develops he asks for advice more infrequently.

He is still trying to decide if he will develop into a rider for stage races or one-day classics. Konovalovas will decide by the end of next season, he said.