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After being left out of the Tour de France and riding to a sub-par Giro d’Italia, it’s all-in for Geox-TMC during the upcoming Vuelta a España.
The squad needs a big ride to give its sponsor something to cheer about and will be looking to two-time champion Denis Menchov to make a run for the final podium when the race ends Sept. 11 in Madrid.
“For our team the Vuelta is without a doubt one of the most important events of the season,” said sport director Joxean Fernández Matxin in a team release. “I think it’s going to be a tough, selective race right from the very first stages. We’re lining up for the start with a competitive, highly motivated squad. Our point man will definitely be Denis Menchov.
“We can also count on Carlos Sastre, another great specialist in stage races, winner of the 2008 Tour de France and second place in the Vuelta twice, in 2005 and 2007 — in fact, right behind Menchov — and third once, in 2008,” he continued.
“Riding by their side will be important riders like Juan Josè Cobo and David Blanco, who proved in the recent Vuelta a Burgos that they’re in peak shape. And let’s not forget Duarte, Ardila, Brandle and Kozontchuk, who will be tasked with supporting their captains and helping out when they can, or going for it and standing out when they get the chance.”
Denis Menchov on his chances: “After the Giro d’Italia I underwent an accurate training regimen to prepare for the Vuelta, to get here in the best possible shape. This is a race I really love, and in which I’ve already obtained two prestigious victories; of course, I’m starting out with the objective of obtaining the maximum result, although it won’t be easy. The route is grueling and I’ll be going up against some very competitive rivals. Fortunately, I’ll be able to count on the support of some excellent riders. I think our squad is well equipped to put in a good race.”
Carlos Sastre on his ambitions: “I’m happy with the work we’ve done these last few weeks. For me the Vuelta is a very important event. I feel like health is on my side, as compared with the first part of the season, when I had several problems. I’ve finally found the momentum I’ve been striving for, both in training and during races. This is essential for me to take on a three-week race. I’m hoping I can close out the season in the best way possible.”
Fabio Duarte on his return to racing: “I’m very happy that the team has placed their trust in me by deciding to call on me for the Vuelta. My season got off to a good start — at the Giro del Trentino I even managed to clinch a nice victory. I felt like I was in good shape for the Giro d’Italia, but unfortunately I had to pull out for a problem with my knee resulting from a fall, which forced me to sit things out for a long time. Now the problem finally seems to be resolved. These last few weeks I’ve managed to work out, even intensely, and I feel ready to take on the commitment of a three week race”.
Geox-TMC for Vuelta: Mauricio Ardila, David Blanco, Matthias Brandle, Juan Josè Cobo, David De la Fuente, Fabio Duarte, Dimitryy Kozontchuk, Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre