Weening will aim for top ten finish in Giro d’Italia
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Weening will aim for top ten finish in Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes at 4:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Said that at times during yesterday’s stage he forgot he was leading

Pieter WeeningEncouraged by his win on Wednesday plus his first day in the Maglia Rosa yesterday, Dutch rider Pieter Weening has confirmed that he will aim for a high overall finish in the race.

“For me it is very hard to win the Giro d’Italia, but I will try to do a good general,” the Rabobank rider said after yesterday’s stage to Fiuggi. “I was never in a position to win a Grand Tour [before]. But now I feel very strong…if I can do top ten, that would be perfect for me…even a top 15. But even that is hard. You cannot have a bad day or a problem.”

Weening’s success comes six years after he won a stage of the Tour de France, and has seen him return to his best form. He enjoyed his day in the lead yesterday, even if he said that he didn’t always keep in mind that he was number one in the race.

“It is not a regular day. For the team , it was also a big motivation, so that makes it quite different,” he said. “Personally, you don’t always look at the jersey so sometimes you forget a little bit [that you are wearing it]. The team was doing very well and they had a big motivation. I am very happy about that.”

The publicity value for the team in having the pink jersey is considerable, both in terms of the fact that the event is the second biggest stage race in the world, and also because cycling is so revered in Italy that whoever is at the top gets a huge amount of attention.

Weening has a big boost to his morale from the experience, but does also see a cost. “In taking the jersey, it is also the case that you are spending a lot of energy. You are in the first position, getting the wind, and the team is getting tired defending it,” he said. “But I will take it day by day, we will try to defend it day by day, and see how far we can go.”

Today’s stage is the first summit finish of the race, with the route taking the riders 1260 metres above sea level to the Santuario di Montevergine. It’s a second category climb and many are predicting that a group will arrive together and contest the finish rather than a scattering of riders; in the past, groups of 40-50 have disputed the finish.

Weening believes that he should be able to hold on, even if there is more of a thinning out on the climb. “Yesterday, I was one of the best riders in the race,” he said. “It is only two days further, so it is possible that I am also good tomorrow. I will do my best, we will see. When there are 15 or 20 guys [left at the end], it is still possible.”


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