Team Astana leader Roman Kreuziger is putting the responsibility on the other leaders’ shoulders in his first Giro d’Italia.
“I don’t think about winning, I’ve just come to do well. I am here, I’ve never done the Giro, the Giro is hard, so we will see in the next days,” Kreuziger told Cycling Weekly.
“I’m taking on the responsibilities and I am learning. In the end, others have been leaders for many years and have to show themselves. I am here at school, I am still learning and we will see how it goes.”
The 25-year-old Czech’s schooling began with top Italian team, Liquigas in 2006. Team management noted him as a junior at the 2004 World Championships and offered him a contract midway through 2005.
As a professional, he won the Tour of Switzerland in 2008 and Tour of Romandy in 2009, and in the last two editions of the Tour de France, finished ninth overall.
He decided to annul his contract a year early, however, since the team had both Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso and Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali in its ranks. He announced in August that he’d join Astana.
This year, he won the mountaintop stage to Madonna di Campiglio at the Giro del Trentino and finished fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Yesterday, he finished 10th on the Giro’s fifth leg to Orvieto and moved up the overall classification. He now sits 52 seconds, 52 away from Pieter Weening (Rabobank) in the leader’s pink jersey. Though he’s within striking distances, he’s going to save himself until the mountainous third week.
“The team is going well. Yesterday, we were ahead with four men. We can be very confident for the stages ahead. The others are here to make the race,” he continued.
“I don’t think that we will go on the attack. We have a strategy, we had it since the first days and we are following it. Our line is that we follow the rest, but I can’t tell you the strategy, otherwise they will all know it.”
Kreuziger keeps his cards close to his chest. He’s matured, trying to become more of a team leader, but lacks the charisma of his rivals Nibali, Alberto Contador and Michele Scarponi. Perhaps he does carry a little pressure ahead of the race’s first mountaintop finishes: Montevirgine on Friday and Mount Etna on Sunday.
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Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule