Rujano says he can win the 2011 Giro d’Italia
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rujano says he can win the 2011 Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes at 3:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Venezuelan climber plans to be in better condition than in 2005

Jose RujanoFive and a half years after he placed third in the 2005 Giro d’Italia, José Rujano has said that he is convinced that he can fight for victory in the 2011 race. The 28 year old Venezuelan will return to work alongside team director Gianni Savio, which whom he took that 2005 result, and said that he is motivated to succeed.

“This is a new opportunity to show all my talent and repay, with wins, all the confidence placed in me by Hernán Alemán [his agent] and the governor Pablo Pérez,” he said at a press conference held on Saturday, according to Biciciclismo. Pérez was instrumental in his racing with the Gobierno del Zulia team during his time away from the top European squads, and he believes this support was crucial. “[With what the team] did to support me, I have got back to my best level," said Rujano.

"Now I have this new goal, this target, to be successful again in the Giro d'Italia 2011. There are seven mountain stages that can favour me, including Sestriere, where I won in 2005.”

In fact, Rujano believes next year’s parcours are even more conducive to helping him than the race profile of five and a half years ago. “The course helps me a lot, because it is tougher than in 2005,” he insisted. “It is a dream to win the Giro d'Italia and that is why I am doing a lot of preparation, including the Vuelta al Táchira, the Tour of Malaysia [Tour de Langkawi] and other European races,” he stated.

A fortnight ago, it was announced that Rujano had signed a two year deal with the Androni Giocattoli squad run by Savio. The latter said that he was sure that Rujano would return to his top level; the rider echoes this belief.

“I have spoken two or three times with Gianni Savio and he is very happy that we can work together again, because he knows I have the talent and he is confident that we will be on the podium again,” he said.

Five years ago Rujano stunned the world of cycling with his Giro performances. Relatively unknown, he was the revelation of the race, winning a stage, taking third overall and netting the prize as best climber.

At 23 years of age he appeared set for a glistening career yet, despite contracts with teams such as Quick Step-Innergetic, and Caisse d’Epargne, he has since been unable to replicate that kind of form. He did take some good results at the start of 2010, winning the Vuelta al Tachira and the Tour de Langkawi early on, but then left his ISD-Neri team when it was passed over for an invite to the Giro d’Italia.

Now the chance to once again race with Gianni Savio’s squad could see him get back to competing in the Giro and other major events.

2011 and beyond:

Alemán promised that his rider would be in excellent shape in 2011, making the most of the opportunity that he is being handed. “The preparation has begun to allow Rujano to be in better condition than he was in 2005,” he said. “We are talking about tests more than four thousand meters above sea level, about physical work, and about races starting with the Vuelta al Táchira in January, where he should be between 50 and 60 percent of his [top] condition. He has reached a deep maturity, and also the vast amount of existing anti-doping tests favour him, as he is a very clean rider.”

Rujano said that he would aim for early success in order to set him up mentally. “Repeating the title from the Vuelta al Táchira will allow me to gain confidence to face the rest of the season in Europe,” he explained. “So I'm going to fight to win, even if I won’t be at the top of my condition.”

After that he will try to take the Tour de Langkawi once more, then further hone his form back in Europe.

Apart from aiming to win the Giro d’Italia, he said that he was looking further ahead to the summer of 2012, and that this would spur him on to pick up world ranking points.

“I would be thrilled to be in the Olympics and to fight to give a medal to my country,” he said, speaking about the London Games. Despite the fact that he course is expected to be flat there, he insists that he can be a contender. “The whole time I've been in cycling I have not had that opportunity and I hope to to achieve that for Venezuela. I have improved a lot in the time trial, downhill and flat stages through the experience and maturity I have gained over time.”

Given his physical characteristics plus the nature of the course, it’s hard to be believe that Rujano can fight for a top three place in London. The same can’t be said of the Giro; if he can indeed get back to his best level, the tough nature of the race means that he should have a major part to play in the outcome. Race winner? It’s far too early to say that, but those who saw him at the Tour de Langkawi last March will know he can climb mountains much quicker than most in the peloton.


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