Tour of California: Rabobank's Tjallingii eyes the Solvang time trial for good result
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tour of California: Rabobank's Tjallingii eyes the Solvang time trial for good result

by Bjorn Haake at 5:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
Dutchman is captain for his team and wants to show his worth

maarten tjallingiiMaarten Tjallingii is currently racing in the Tour of California, acting as the captain on the road for the Dutch Rabobank squad. Tjallingii is often a team helper, but in the Golden State he has one specific goal - a very good result in Friday's 24-kilometer time trial in Solvang. His legs are getting there, even if the fast miles from the canceled stage one are missing.

Tjallingii has had the Tour of California ride against the clock on his mind for a while. "I came here with ambitions," he says on "I always want to try something in the races. I especially see opportunities in the time trial." Tjallingii is very much looking forward to Friday's event in the Californian 'Danish' town. "The legs are good. Top ten is my goal," he says. "I would even love to ride onto the podium in the time trial. The way I feel right now, this could be my day."

He is quick to emphasize that there are still some obstacles in the way. "We still have some tough days ahead." He was especially referring to Wednesday's trek from Livermore to San Jose. The 131 kilometers feature Mount Hamilton, location of the annual Mount Hamilton classic, and Sierra Road. "The finish is not at all my terrain." He was hoping for a break to warm up his legs for Friday. "Monday and Tuesday that wasn't possible," he says.

Tjallingii regretted the cancelation of stage one. "In the peloton there are many racers with low morale because stage one was canceled." He is quick to say that the decision was the right one. "Of course it was a good ruling that we didn't race, because otherwise it would have been irresponsible."

For him, it was a new experience in his eighth year as a professional. "We were ready and we had the prerace excitement. Some even tried it for a few kilometers, but there was nothing to do - it was too dangerous."

Tjallingii didn't make the breaks in the first stages, and Rabobank didn't have to control the sprints either. He showed his worth in stage three, when the peloton broke apart and found himself in the front group, together with Oscar Freire. Everything came back together, in a crazy finish. "The final with the many crashes was bizarre. It is a pity that Michael [Matthews] went down." The Australian decided later to abandon the race.

Matthews crashed when the race started to heat up. "They were about to prepare the sprint," Tjallingii confirms. "Oscar said later that he was really startled by it."

Despite not having made a break in the opening days, the race isn't over yet. "I see two chances after Wednesday. The time trial and the final stage." On Sunday the Tour of California concludes with a stage from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks, over 129 kilometers.


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