Britain’s Dan Lloyd is ready to help Carlos Sastre in his bid for the Giro d’Italia, starting with the time trial in Amsterdam this Saturday.
“I feel well prepared this year, I think that I am 100 times better than I was last year,” Lloyd told Cycling Weekly today.
“Last year, I got sick just before Amstel Gold and I had to have 10 days completely off. I was not even supposed to race here [at the Giro] until Hayden Roulston became sick. I got stronger as it went on. This year, I have had three weeks off, and I feel stronger and a lot better prepared.”
Spaniard Sastre won the Tour de France in 2008 and joined Cervélo TestTeam for 2009. Last year at the Giro d’Italia, with Lloyd’s help, he finished fourth overall, and won two of the toughest mountain stages, Monte Petrano and Vesuvius.
“You saw how well he was going last year, and I am sure he will be going just as well this year,” continued Lloyd. “He has been focused on this race since before the new year.”
Sastre switched off after a disastrous Tour de France last year but has reportedly come back fresh for this year’s Giro d’Italia. He chose to race only eight days this season ahead of the Giro d’Italia – the least amount of racing he has ever takend in to a grand tour.
With rivals Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, and last year’s Giro winner Deni Menchov, concentrating on the Tour de France, 35-year-old Sastre knows the Giro could be his only chance to win a Grand Tour this year.
“The Tour de France will be really hard, with a lot of talented riders,” said Sastre. “But here we also have really important riders: Cadel Evans, Alexander Vinokourov, [Bradley] Wiggins, [Ivan] Basso… It will not be easy.”
“We don’t have so many time trial kilometres and that works for me. I am a climber and it is always in the last week when I feel at my best. The last 10 days of this race are really hard.”
The Giro d’Italia stars with an 8.4-kilometre time trial Saturday and continues in Italy with stage four. The meat of the race comes in the final week’s stages through the Dolomites and Alps.
“I think he has a chance here,” said Lloyd. “And I don’t also see why he can’t win another Tour.”
Cycling Weekly’s 2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with