Pozzato looks ahead Giro after disappointing spring
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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Pozzato looks ahead Giro after disappointing spring

by Samuel Morrison at 11:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

Italian Champion Filippo Pozzato looks forward to the Giro d'Italia after his spring campaign did not go as planned. The Katusha rider was knocked out by a fever, which forced him to skip the Tour of Flanders and compromised his Paris-Roubaix.

"The tension is rising in these last days, as it usually does before a big appointment. The Giro d'Italia is one of the biggest races in the world," Pozzato told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I hope to have some success after a bad spring. I had bad luck in Paris-Roubaix, but I have had a great last three weeks and I hope for the best at the Giro."

Pozzato has won two stages in the Tour de France and worn the Vuelta a España's leader's jersey, but has yet to win a stage in his home Grand Tour. He hopes to have his first chance when the Giro d'Italia visits Tuscany in the first week.

"One stage that I would like to do well in is Montalcino, with the white gravel roads. It sticks out for me because it is a little like Paris-Roubaix and on the same roads as Eroica [Strade Bianche]. It suits me."

Pozzato won the 2002 Tirreno-Adriatico overall at the age of 20, but his big build does not lend itself well to competing for Grand Tour titles. He thinks Australian Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is the top favourite for the Giro title, though, he would like to see an Italian win.

"I think that Evans is favourite number 1. He is always strong in the stages races and he will come in great condition after winning Flèche Wallonne. The only one that can stop him is Carlos Sastre [Cervélo], he has already won the Tour de France and finished well last year. The Italians favourites are Franco Pellizotti and Ivan Basso [both Liquigas], let's hope for an Italian."

Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) is also a favourite after winning the Giro del Trentino and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. His win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège recovered more attention due to the rider's doping past than it did for the win itself. The 36-year-old served a two-year ban after controls revealed he blood doped at the 2007 Tour de France.

Pozzato reminded fans that Vinokourov served his time and should be allowed to enjoy a win as any other rider would.

"He was out of the sport like he had to be and he is free to return and race. There are a lot of others that have done the same and have returned to win. He made his mistake and paid, and he learnt from it as well."

The Giro d'Italia starts with a time trial in Amsterdam Saturday. It continues in Italy with stage four, a team time trial, and ends with an explosive week in the Dolomites and Alps.

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