HTC-Highroad come to the Vuelta a Espana, their final Grand Tour, as winners of the race-opening TTT last year. However, the tricky 13.5 kilometre course around Benidorm is not to all of their liking.
“It’s a shit course, it’s too dangerous,” said former time-trial world champion Bert Grabsch. “Lots of corners, through the whole city with nine riders… normally this kind of course is forbidden for team time trials.”
“But we have to do it. Our chances are always good, the team we have here can win. We’ll do our best,” he added.
While Mark Cavendish, entering his third Grand Tour this year, leads the HTC-Highroad line-up, it also includes powerhouse Tony Martin, Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss and several youngsters, such as Grand Tour first-timers John Degenkolb and Leigh Howard.
“It’s hard to predict, there’s a lot of things to take into consideration,” Cavendish said. “I wish we could have done it before; the course was closed, we only got 10 minutes.”
When asked about his aims for the Vuelta, Cavendish said: “I’d like one
stage win, we’ll see how it goes before the world championships.”
Meanwhile, Tony Martin, who claimed the Grenoble time-trial at the Tour de France four weeks ago, indicated that the course is better suited for an individual time-trial.
The German will himself be focusing on a good focusing on the 47km stage ten test around Salamanca.