Spaniard Carlos Sastre is well positioned to win the Giro d'Italia when it ends in Verona May 30, according to his domestique deluxe, Dan Lloyd.
"It will be minutes in the last week," Lloyd told Cycling Weekly, "Carlos has the form and he should be able to make back any lost time."
Lloyd knows the 2008 Tour de France winner well, he helped him to two stage wins in the Giro d'Italia last year and is at his side again every day this year.
On Firday, Lloyd was visibly in action when the television cameras showed him pulling over to give Sastre his wheel. Sastre had punctured on the Passo del Cucco climb, 34 kilometres to race, and Lloyd's only thought was to get Cervélo Test Team's captain back in action as soon as possible.
Lloyd donates his wheel to Sastre during Friday's stage
Another Lloyd won the stage, Matthew Lloyd, but Sastre finished safely tucked into to the main group with his rivals, such as Cadel Evans. He remains 2'13" behind overall leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo).
"Once I gave him my wheel, there was not much to do. For a point, I was feeling good and I was wondering if I could get back with him. I got back for a few groups, but there was no way I was going to get back up to him," continued Lloyd.
"Carlos must be going well to have joined back today because they weren't going slowly."
This weekend presents more tests for Lloyd, Saturday is a medium-mountain stage over gravel roads and Sunday is this year's first mountain-top finish.
Lloyd is concentrated on the job this weekend even if the Dolomites and Alps are looming on the horizon in the third week.
"We have to get him through Saturday, it is not a stage that really suits him, and Sunday, my job will just be to get him to the bottom of the mountain.
"I have not looked at next week much, I want to see how it goes over the weekend first. We are doing a long stint, normally you have a rest day every six or seven days, but we have 11 days in a row. It is a case as saving as much as possible."
Lloyd is calm and so is his captain, who came to the Giro d'Italia with his lightest lead-up ever to a Grand Tour, only eight days of racing. That calmness will be an advantage to battle rivals like Evans, who today seemed to be under stress, arguing with his main domestique Mauro Santambrogio at the finish.
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1