Xavier Tondo: "We are not machines. We are people, and we have weaknesses."
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Xavier Tondo: "We are not machines. We are people, and we have weaknesses."

by Jered Gruber at 1:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Catalonian rider targeting Paris-Nice, Catalonia, and Basque Country for the first part of the season

Movistar's Xavier Tondo heads into the 2011 season with seemingly limitless opportunities. The newly formed team is without a major Grand Tour leader in the absence of Alejandro Valverde, giving the late blooming Tondo all the opportunities in the world for 2011. As per the pleasant norm, the Catalonian climber is humble in his words - he sees his whole career as a progression, and this year, he'll have a chance to take his biggest step forward yet.

"My career has always been on an upward trajectory. Each year, I've stepped up and finally I've become a Grand Tour rider, even if I'm not quite grand. Now, I have to see how far I can go and how I respond to the next challenges," said the 32 year old to Europa Press.

The 6th overall finisher at the Vuelta a España is not getting ahead of himself though. He has three main goals for the early part of the year, and from there, he'll begin dreaming about cycling's biggest race: the Tour de France.

"I like to take things step by step, and now my goals, above all, are to arrive in good form for Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Tour of the Basque Country. Then, in theory, I'll go to the Tour de France, but I say that with caution. I will focus on the first three goals and try to get a good result, and then quietly pursue the next big goals."

For most riders, the season is just getting rolling: some haven't even raced yet and many riders focusing on the Grand Tours won't race for a long while yet, but Tondo has already not only raced, but raced well at the Tour de San Luis. Tondo rode impressively throughout the tough stage race in Argentina, even taking his team's first ever win in the time trial. He was in a perfect position to take the overall win, but bonked in incredible fashion on the final descent of the final mountain stage of the race to lose the overall and many minutes.

One could arguably say that Tondo has been the man behind the team's finest moment so far (its first win) and its lowest moment (losing the overall at the Tour de San Luis). Tondo is blunt in his assessment of the young year so far and makes a good point to remember.

"The team has already had good moments with the first victory in the team's history as well as downs, but that's what sport is - we are not machines, we are people, and we have weaknesses."

Perhaps we should be comforted by a colossal melt down like Tondo's. In this hopeful time of a sport slowly cleaning up, to be reminded that riders are not machines is a reassuring, refreshing thing.



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