Brajkovic and Zubeldia to lead RadioShack’s hopes in Tour of Beijing
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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Brajkovic and Zubeldia to lead RadioShack’s hopes in Tour of Beijing

by VeloNation Press at 7:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Three days left before WorldTour race begins

Janez BrajkovicHaving shown solid form in last week’s world championship time trial, Janez Brajkovic will be one of two designated RadioShack leaders in the Tour of Beijing. The Slovenian is riding one of his last races for the team before switching across to the Astana setup, and wants to end a somewhat frustrating season on a high note.

Brajkovic had centred his year around performing strongly in the Tour de France but crashed out of the race; he then hoped to perform strongly in the Vuelta a España but never rode to his potential there. However finishing 14th on a pan flat course unsuited to his talents in the worlds time trial shows that his form is coming good, and his directeur sportif Jose Azevedo believes he and the team could be contenders.

“We come here for an important race on the WorldTour calendar, and to come to China for the first time in this way is also important for the sport,” he stated. “We have ambitions for one of the first places on general classification…we won’t say exactly the first as we have respect for the many other good riders who are here. But we are very hopeful.”

“(Janez) Brajkovic comes here from the Worlds in very good condition and (Haimar) Zubeldia can do a good race also.

“For us, it is important that we have a good time trial in this race and we have several guys who can do well on that stage – Brajkovic, Haimar and Nelson (Oliveira).”

The race begins on Wednesday with an 11.3 kilometre time trial from Bird’s Nest to Water Cube. The subsequent stages will finish at Men Tou Gou, Yong Ning Town, Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre and Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium.

Of those, Azevedo also singles out next Friday’s race as one which could be very important. “Stage three is the one that can decide the race and we are also ready to do well there too,” he said. “We think there will only be a small group left at the finish.”

The trio of Brajkovic, Zubeldia and Oliveira will also be accompanied by Irishman Philip Deignan, the American Ben King, Spaniard Markel Irizar, the Kazakh Dmitriy Muravyev and the Portuguese rider Tiago Machado.

Like Brajkovic, Deignan is also finishing up his time with the team. He moved there this year from the folding Cervélo Test Team setup and will transfer across to UnitedHealthcare next season. He finished ninth overall in the 2009 Vuelta a España and won a stage, showing his ability. The Donegal rider had a tough year in 2010 but is returning to form this season.

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Tour of Beijing (WorldTour):

Stage one, Wednesday 5th October: Individual Time Trial, Bird’s Nest – Water Cube via Olympic Park circuit, 11.3km
Stage two, Thursday 6th October: Bird’s Nest to Men Tou Gou via North Gate of Summer Palace, 137km
Stage three, Friday 7th October: Men Tou Gou to Yong Ning Town via Thirteen Ming Tombs Reservoir, 162km
Stage four, Saturday 8th October: Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square to Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre via Mutianyu Great Wall, 189.5km
Stage five, Sunday 9th October: Tian An Men Square to Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, 118km

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