Lofkvist wants to lead Giro squad for Team Sky, then play a support role in Tour
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lofkvist wants to lead Giro squad for Team Sky, then play a support role in Tour

by Shane Stokes at 7:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
Difficult balancing act to be in good shape for both Grand Tours

Thomas LofkvistAfter placing 17th in this year’s Tour de France and finishing as Team Sky’s best rider in Paris, Thomas Lofkvist is planning a different schedule for 2011. The 26 year old Swede appears to be believe that a top placing in the French event is not possible, and would rather aim for the earlier Giro d’Italia instead.

Lovkvist has a good history in the race, riding strongly there in 2009. He was a member of HTC Columbia’s team time trial-winning squad on the opening day of the race, and became the race leader when he finished sixth on stage four’s mountain leg to San Martino di Castrozza. Soaking up the encouragement of the fans, he defended that jersey in style when he placed second behind eventual race winner Denis Menchov one day later. In all, he held the Maglia Rosa for a total of six days.

Lofkvist weakened towards the end of the race, but knows if he gets things right in 2011, it could go well for him. Because of that, he will aim to ride strongly in Italy next year, then play a helping role in July.

“There are many great riders who will do the Tour. There are more chances for me in the Giro,” he told Eurosport.se. “If I get what I want, I’ll go to ride as captain in the Giro and then as a support rider in the Tour.”

Planning his season like that can be risky, though, as the difficult of the modern Giro makes it tough to recover in time for the Tour. Cadel Evans and Giro winner Ivan Basso rode strongly the first Grand Tour but struggled in the second; Lofkvist’s team-mate Bradley Wiggins didn’t dig deep in Italy, yet was still off-form in France.

Lofkvist is one of Team Sky’s top GC riders. Because of the need to have him going well in the Tour, his chances of riding the Giro as the team leader depend on management giving him the green light to push hard in the first of those two races.

Reacts to WADA late-night testing:

The Swede also commented on WADA’s proposed tactic of carrying out testing much later in the evening that is currently planned. The World Anti Doping Agency’s Independent Observers’ report from the 2010 Tour de France advocated carrying out anti-doping examinations, ‘in less acceptable hours with a greater chance of detecting substances and/or methods with short detection windows.’

While some have interpreted this as meaning midnight raids, it is likely that WADA is not talking about waking riders from their sleep, but rather testing them shortly before they head to bed.

Given that the Tour competitors are already very fatigued from the demands of riding a three week event, Lofkvist is cautious about the proposal. “I would not be so happy and impressed if they arrived in the middle of the night,” he said. “It is important to get to sleep the whole night. If you woke up, perhaps you would not settle down again later. They out to consider the matter thoroughly before making decisions.”


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