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Rabobank’s Denis Menchov, who has failed to live up to his status as a pre-race favorite in the Vuelta a Espana, admitted on Monday that he’s not in peak form.
“I’m not in my best form. Everyone insists that I’m the favorite but the mountain stages are very hard for me and I’m not ‘explosive’ enough for these climbs,” the two-time Tour of Spain winner told AFP.
“I have underlined the 11th stage in my diary, the one in Andorra, which I think will be the real start of the Tour.
“If I can do something it will be on the Andorran peak. I want to be as strong as possible. If it doesn’t happen I will have lost the tour, but it won’t be a disaster,” the 32-year-old Rabobank rider said.
Menchov, who won the Tour of Spain in 2005 and 2007, is currently languishing in 20th place in the overall standings, more than three minutes behind the leader, Spain’s Igor Anton.
The riders on Monday have their first rest day of the Vuelta, which began on August 28.
Tuesday’s 10th stage takes them 175.7 kilometres from Tarragona to Vilanova i la Geltru in eastern Spain, before the race heads into Andorra and the Pyrenees on Wednesday.