Video: Danielson, Vinokourov, Manan speak on eve of Tour de Langkawi
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Video: Danielson, Vinokourov, Manan speak on eve of Tour de Langkawi

by Shane Stokes at 1:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de Langkawi, Video
American rider gunning for high result, Astana leader returning after injury

Tom DanielsonBoth starting the Tour de Langkawi as headline acts but coming from a very different positions with respect to last season, Tom Danielson and Alexandre Vinokourov will both seek to squeeze every second out on tomorrow’s opening 20.3 kilometre time trial in the Tour de Langkawi.

The first stage, which normally takes the form of a predictable bunch sprint to the line is radicaly changed this year, with the race against the clock immediatey opening gaps in the overall standings of the 2.HC race.

Danielson came off the 2011 season on a confidence high following his ninth place – later upgraded to eighth after Alberto Contador’s disqualification – in the Tour de France. It was his first time to ride that race and it was a highly encouraging showing. As he told VeloNation in a recent lengthy interview, it’s had a clear effect on his mentality and given him the hunger and ambition to chase GC wins in races.

“I figure I need to take it up a notch in my career,’ he said, talking about his post-Tour disussions with Garmin-Barracude CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “I figure I needed to get out of that top ten mentality and to get back to where I was earlier in my career [winning races – ed.]. I feel that starting my season here is the best way to begin that path.”

As for Vinokourov, he suffered a very different outcome in last year’s Tour, crashing out of the race on stage nine with a bad fracture to his femur. He initially said he would retire, but then changed his mind and decided to compete again in 2012.

The Olympic Games is thought to be a major focus for the punchy rider, who could be a factor on Box Hill if he is in top shape.

“I'm happy to come back to the country where everything started for me,” the Astana leader said today, speaking to the media as part of that collection of big riders. “This was the first race I started as a first year professional back in 1997, and so my career started from here.”

Even if his training has been going well, the fact that he was badly injured and did just one day of racing [the Chrono Champenois] at the end of last season means that his form is uncertain. Tomorrow’s time trial will do much to enlighten him and others as to his GC chances, and will also put past winners and climbing specialists such as Jose Rujano, Yonnatha Monsalve and Freddy Gonzales under pressure to avoid conceding important time.

Click the video link below to watch the comments of Tom Danielson, Alexandre Vinokourov and former points jersey winner Anuar Manan (Champion System). More videos and coverage from the Tour de Langkawi will follow in the days ahead.
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