Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains, Matthew Lloyd, to return to racing next week
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains, Matthew Lloyd, to return to racing next week

by Jered Gruber at 1:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Omega Pharma-Lotto rider to make season debut at Volta a Catalunya

2010 Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains winner, Matthew Lloyd is set to finally kick off his 2011 season. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider suffered a bad crash on the streets of Melbourne just before Christmas, which knocked him completely out of the Australian summer racing, and out of most of the early spring racing. His comeback was further slowed after a recent collision with a car in February in Italy.

Despite the setbacks the 27 year old has already endured this year, he looks ready to return to racing in less than a week. The Australian climbing talent is happy to get back to racing and happy with the help his Omega Pharma-Lotto team has given him to get him back to health.

"The team has delivered massive recovery support prior to the Giro incorporating a progressive program," said the Giro stage winner to SBS.com.au.

Lloyd will make his 2011 debut at the Volta a Catalunya, which runs March 21st to the 27th. He'll get an eight day break, then take on his second race of 2011, which also happens to be one of the more difficult weeklong stage races of the year, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (April 4-9).

"Both of these races are rather demanding, but have the initial trigger points to stimulate the correct form to be ready for the Tour of Italy. Also, there will be dual camps at altitude in order to create an environment similar to that found in the higher peaks of the Giro."

Those two races will be Lloyd's only two before starting May's Giro d'Italia, but the 2008 Australian National Champion is confident that he can get his Giro lead-up just right.

"The program has its risks that the form I may have may not entirely hit the mark of the other athletes who've been racing since January, but I think I know myself well enough to get it correct."

The rider who calls Varese home during the racing season concedes that the pressure to gain top form will increase as the year's first Grand Tour draws ever closer, but he says he'll be giving it everything - and that's all he can do.

"There's bound to be a lot of pressure as May comes around, however, I really don't care about anyone else. I'll do it at 110 percent and see how it unfolds from the outset. A race of 21 days throws all kinds of elements out there. I won't have any loss of ambition or credibility to come into the event ready to deliver the action that been seen in the past. And if not, I know I have done everything possible to make it work appropriately."

Writing on his website just a couple of weeks ago, Lloyd expressed not a bit of worry when looking ahead to the Giro.

"If it comes down to a simple equation: will I make it back for the Giro and the Tour?? If I was a subtle person, I would say, potentially. But essentially, you're not dealing with that type of creature, and I'll be making some different changes and manipulations to the race and training program in order to MAX OUT the possibilities in May to produce some quality center punch. I'm going deeper into the mountains [than ever] before given the characteristics of this year's Giro, and I'll be developing some new surprises only to be seen once the fiasco commences."

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