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Up for the challenge: The Tom Danielson Giro diary 2006

With victory in the Tour de Georgia and a top 10 ride at the Vuelta a España, 2005 saw Tom Danielson come of age.

Now one of Discovery's leaders, the likable American climbing specialist will be looking to realise the full extent of his incredible stage race potential. But before he addresses a few personal goals, there's the not-so-minor matter of helping Paolo Savoldelli achieve his third victory at the Giro d'Italia in May. Follow his progress on Cyclingnews.

Stage 3 - Monday, May 8: Perwez - Namur, 202 km

Crazy times

Yesterday [Stage 2] was crazy, for sure. But the biggest thing is to stay relaxed and try not to waste too much energy.

The racing here and at the Vuelta is very similar; I think the difference is that the speeds are really, really high in the Vuelta and maybe a little bit more controlled here. After my ride at the Vuelta, though, I know what to expect, I know what's going to happen to my body.

The Vuelta, it was my first Grand Tour [I finished], and each day was a surprise for me. Here, I'm trying to stay a little bit calmer in the earlier stages; it's easier to get carried away with seconds here and a little stress there. I noticed the experienced guys are really relaxed, and that's the most important thing.

My preparation's also been good. I started off the season slower than normal, with a focus more on this time of year. But it's always hard to say I've trained for this race when I don't have any experience in this race, y'know. But for me, with Savoldelli [as our leader] and a good course for me, the best thing to do is to arrive in the best condition possible, and that's what I've tried to do.

I started off [the season] well; in California I was not so bad; in Tirreno, I was a bit better; obviously in Georgia, I was better again. And now, I'm a little bit better than Georgia. We still have two weeks before the real race starts, but hopefully I'm good then.

I've worked more on my time trialling, but also on my endurance. I spare a little more energy in the peloton; for example, Tirreno-Adriatico is typically a race which I'd never do, but it's everything I'm bad at. So doing that race was good preparation for here, especially stages like today with a crazy finish.

With my endurance, I've worked a lot on long climbing; I've actually done all the stages in the last week of the Giro, so I know what to expect. I've also worked a lot on my weight; I'm lighter than usual - 59 kilos right now - so I'm ready as I can be. The only thing I'm missing is experience, and the only way to get that is to throw yourself in the Grand Tours and do it, and be in good condition to play a part in the race this year.

It's all about keeping Paolo protected. And the last week is so hard, that 10 seconds [loss] here isn't going to mean anything - you're either going to climb with the guys in front or you're not; if you're not, you're 30 minutes behind. And if you are, you're 30 minutes ahead, so it'll be interesting.

Stage 1 results
Stage 2 results