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Photo ©: Swift

San Sebastián Cycling News for August 12, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

By Shane Stokes in San Sebastián

Sastre still deciding on Vuelta

Carlos Sastre finished third in last year's Vuelta but is likely to end up second overall once the Roberto Heras case is finalised. If he lines out at the start in Malaga on August 26th his track record in Grand Tours would automatically make him one of the favourites; however, the fact that he has already ridden the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this year means that he is tired and still deciding what to do.

Sastre said this morning that he was in the dark as to his current condition. "I really don't know," he stated. "Today will be the first real race since the Tour de France. For me, it has been a long and tough season. I don't know [about the Vuelta]. Today will be important, because before I was training hard but I need the race today to see exactly how I am. We will see."

"My final decision won't be today, but rather next Wednesday. I'll make my mind up on how this race goes and also on how I recover from it."

Sastre rode the Giro in support of team leader Ivan Basso and later took fourth (potentially third, if Floyd Landis is disqualified) in the Tour. He said that if he lines out in the Spanish tour, it would only be if he is sure of doing well. "If I go to the Vuelta it is to fight for the GC," he stated. "I will do my maximum to try to win the Vuelta a Espana. If I feel that I am not strong enough or if I feel that I can't recover in the right way, then I prefer to remain relaxed and do a different programme."

So is he happy about the course? Sastre doesn't express a feeling either way, more a sense of acceptance. "Well, the course is set already, you cannot change anything. If you go to the Vuelta you have to be ready for whatever parcours they have. But there are enough mountain stages and enough hard stages. There are mountains and time trials, so for me I think it is good."

As for the world championships, he remains unsure. "I don't know yet if I will ride. I will wait until after the Vuelta, then decide."

Millar wants to do well

Due to Constantino Zaballa's win last year in Saunier Duval colours and his absence this time round, David Millar started this morning wearing dossard number one. He was in a focussed mood and hoping to do well, saying that it game plan for this particular classic is a straightforward one.

"I will try to ride a good race. I will wait until the Jaizkibel and follow. It is quite an easy race, tactically [speaking].

"My form is good, I am fresh after the Tour. I was very motivated there and am happy to be back racing. I am enjoying it."

Millar is motivated and planning a busy end of season. "I have got the Vuelta on after this, then the world championships, Lombardy, Zurich... the usual ones. I am hoping to win a stage in the Vuelta."

Hincapie not expecting much

As a decent climber and strong sprinter, Discovery Channel's George Hincapie could normally be listed amongst the potential winners of a race such as the Clásica San Sebastán. However the American Discovery Channel rider didn't have high expectations this morning. "I don't know how I will get on today... my form is not that great," he admitted. "I was really tired after the Tour so I wasn't able to train properly. But I hope next week that I will be going better in the Eneco Tour."

"After that, I will do the US national championships. I am hoping that I can finish recovering from the Tour [de France] and be good for those two races. That'll be the end of my season, then - I don't think I will be doing the world's."

Hincapie has a three year deal with Discovery Channel and says that the first part of next season will follow a familiar pattern. "My programme will probably be the same as this year... I will just focus on the Classics and then figure out what to do after that."

Evans still recovering from Tour

Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto) took part in the Clásica San Sebastián today but his focus was mainly on continuing to recover from the Tour, and to build up for a couple of targets later in the year. "I'm feeling a bit tired," he told Cyclingnews at the village depart near San Sebastián's Parque de Alderdi-Eder. "The plan today is just to see how it goes."

"After this race, I should be down to do the GP Plouay [August 27th, ProTour] and then either the Tour of Britain (August 28 - September 3rd, 2.1) or the Tour of Poland (September 4 - 10, ProTour). I don't think I will be doing the world championships, as I had a pretty heavy season so far. I will head back home and rest a bit in advance of next season."

Gerrans: Good AG2R team for today

Australian AG2R Prévoyance rider Simon Gerrans said this morning he was in good form, feeling better after his illness during the Tour de France. "I am finally feeling good," he said with a smile. "It took a couple of weeks to recover. I finished the Tour quite sick, having got bronchitis during it, so it took a bit longer than I had hoped to. But I am feeling fine now."

"Today is just a case of seeing how I feel. The race pretty much comes down to the Jaizkibel so if I have got good legs, I will hopefully be up the front there. I think everyone on the team is pretty much in the same situation. Obviously, we have got some Spanish guys in the team who are pretty motivated. Moreau and Calzati are still going well from the Tour. So we have got a pretty good team here."

Gerrans is hoping to ride well in the remainder of the season. "I have got a pretty good programme for the rest of the year," he continued. "I have pretty much a one day race each week for the next few weeks, plus the Tour of Poland and a few more one day races in Europe. I will then go home for the Herald Sun Tour after that.

"If possible, I'd really like to do the world's. I have got a good programme leading up to it and I am motivated. I was speaking to Neil Stephens earlier and he said that the course is quite lumpy, it will suit a punchy type rider. So hopefully it will be good for me."

Rogers aiming for world's

Michael Rogers was a late call up to the T-Mobile squad for the Clásica San Sebastián and sounded this morning as if he wasn't worried too much about being in the final fight-up. "I don't know how my form is. I haven't done much since the Tour. I wasn't supposed to come here, I only got the call up a few days ago. Since the Tour, I have done the time trial in Buhl and a bit of training... nothing much at all.

"After this race, I will do the Regio Tour (16 - 20 August, 2.1), then the Tour of Britain (29 August - 3 September, 2.1) and then the world's. Things have been pretty relaxed for the past couple of weeks but I will get back into it a little bit now. Hopefully the world's will go well."

If Rogers manages to take another TT gold, it would further extend his remarkable record of three consecutive wins. It is clearly something worth aiming for. He said that he hasn't yet seen the course, but believes it is a selective one. "I have heard it is relatively hard but that is all I know," he stated. "It is obviously a big goal for me and hopefully it will go well."

Lövkvist hoping for world's spot

Swedish national champion Thomas Lövkvist said today that his tactic for the Clásica San Sebastián was a simple one: "Normally it is about the Jaizkibel... that is where the race is. I have to be placed well there, but if it [the move] goes early I have to be awake in the race."

"I think my form should be good. I haven't raced since the Tour de France but I have been training good, so it should be okay.

"The Tour was hard. It was my second one to date and it was different this year. The first week was slow but the rest was just as hard as last year. I think that [the faster second and third weeks] was because the racing was more open... we didn't have a team that really controlled it like Discovery did last year. There was more opportunity for breakaways as a result."

The Francaise des Jeux rider will do the Eneco Tour after this, between August 16 - 23, and then go on to do another ProTour race at the Tour of Poland, from September 4-10. He'd like to do the world's, but says he is unsure as to whether he will get a place. "We had three slots before but I have heard that it is only one this year. I am not certain about that, but I hope I can ride. After that, I will do the [rest of the] Autumn Classics."

Wegelius ready for part two

Liquigas rider Charly Wegelius went to the Giro to help team leader Danilo di Luca and then took a break after that, the heavy early season requiring some time to recharge the batteries. He's building back up now and is set to do his second Grand Tour of the season.

"I'm feeling okay at the moment," he said this morning. "I came out of the Tour of Germany feeling quite good. I was pretty tired after the Tour of Switzerland so I stopped right after that, having a bit of a break. Now I am getting going again."

"My plan for the rest of the season is to ride this race today, then do the Coppa Bernocchi in Italy and then the Vuelta. So that will be two Grand Tours in one season, for the second year in a row.

"As regards the team's plans in the Vuelta, we are going there with Danilo so obviously he is the biggest focus of the team. To be honest, I don't know what intentions he has got, whether he is going to ride for the classification or if he is going to use it as preparation for the world championships. We will see."

When asked what his plans were after that, Wegelius said the ideal situation would be a good rest. "I would like not to ride any more races after that! But it depends on what I have to do... the decision will be taken by my boss rather than me."

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