Denis Menchov ready for Giro d'Italia
Giro d'Italia is the main race in this year calendar for Denis Menchov, and Denis gets ready for his race, as well as his team Geox-TMC. There is no way back – everything is at stake. Fans and experts are waiting from Denis to show very good result, on the threshold of Italian Grand Tour he is calm, well prepared and optimistic, but prefers not to make any forecasts and wait to see what the race will show. Denis Menchov gave an exclusive interview for VeloLIVE.com on the eve of Geox-TMC conference and two days ahead of the Giro’s start.
At first sight to Denis Menchov surrounded by teammates and management of team Geox-TMC you can understand to how comfortable he is in this team. Thursday after lunch in the lobby of a hotel near to Turin, where few teams stay, Denis was happy and conciliated, regardless of hard training session on Colle delle Finestre which he has just finished and prior to important three weeks of coming soon Giro. It is not usual for Denis to promise something or to declare something, so therefore we weren’t expecting any revelations. But, we were infected with confidence after spending half an hour with him. So, we are now trying to support it (confidence) by telling him words of support from all fans – our website readers.
- Denis, what is your mood before Giro d’Italia?
- Determined! The team’s aim is to fight for a win.
- Will you be the only leader of team Geox for Giro?
- Hmmm… The only leader of the team? I would say so, but, in principal, we have two strong riders – Sastre and I. Even if he said, that he will work for me, we don’t have this differentiation, who’s going to be the leader and who’s going to help to whom. The most important is a result – isn’t it? We will start calmly, the aim is to ride team time trial as good as possible and then day by day see how it goes.
- Don’t you afraid of team time trial?
- So, anyone can win or lost a lot. I think that the team is not bad; we should try at least to prepare ourselves mentally. I don’t think that we can win this stage, but we can minimise a loss.
- Are you happy with the team roster for Giro?
- Yes. It would be difficult to find the better roster. We don’t have De La Fuente, but he wouldn’t be able to work on Giro due to allergy and asthma problems, and he’s not in the best shape in May.
- Which stages have you marked for yourself and how have you checked them?
- Two-three months ago when I first sow Giro stage profiles, I have thought, that Dolomities would be decisive as well as Mountain Time trial. I think that there would be the hardest bit. But of course you never know, how it would go, but I thought about that bit as the most serious one, therefore we checked all three stages, and today we checked Finestre. The organizers are gone mad about that bit, I think. It seems like a cross-country not a Giro. I guess it would be wet there, because there is a lot of snow over there at the moment. I haven’t checked Mountain Time trial stage, but there is no reason to spend whole day there. Also, there is rest day, so, I’ll check it then. I can ride these 12 kilometres during a training session.
- What do you think about Etna?
- I’m not afraid of it, because in my point of view, the stage is straightforward, so, if you have form, then you push for it. It’s an easy stage, there’s no such problems like with Zoncolan, where you should ride to the mountain before climbing there and an ascent is difficult too. But Etna – you ascent from one side then descent and after ascent from the other side, that’s it.
- Have you tried to ride “white roads”, because there are few parts of them in Giro?
- No, but I heart that the road is fine. I’ve been told that there is nothing to be afraid of. By the way, yesterday when we were going from an airport by bus, Contador asked me if I have checked descent from Crostis. He joked that he spoke with Zomegnan and he promised to build asphalt road there. I’ve joked back that in the best case scenario they will sweep a road, if it isn’t raining. If it’s raining then they would sit in a tent and eat hamon or proshutto with wine.
- Would you prefer longer time trial in Milano?
- Maybe. But I still believe that key stages are in Dolomities.
- Giro is well known for very long tiresome transfers, don’t you afraid of this?
- It will be the same for all riders and everybody knows this bit about Giro, so it’s normal to get to hotel by 10 in the evening.
- Who do you believe are your main rivals for a win in Giro?
- There are a lot of rivals. Judging by spring races, the most serious one is Contador. All others are strong but Contador is the strongest one. Scarponi, Nibali, Kreuziger these riders are well known, but Contador is more serious.
- Don’t you think that Contador can be different this year due to various reasons to the Contador we used to see?
- Can or can’t, we will see this soon. But he is the main favorite especially knowing how strong he is, knowing that he is a specialist in this sort of races.
- Lets get back to your spring campaign. Are you satisfied with results of it, taking into account frustration in Catalunia?
- There wasn’t any frustration as such, because I didn’t ruin any plans. The most important was to compete in races, the season aims are Giro and Vuelta, everything else is not that important. Generally, I’m happy that there was sickness, it may be even an advantage – I had a rest. As people say, no one has ever died from resting (Laughing). I have got number of race days which I’ve originally planned. Instead of riding Catalunia for a good result, I rode it in a different pace. I’d fallen down simply: I rode in a village in a normal pace when a car on a crossroad drove into. Women said that she hadn’t seen me.
- Are you happy with Romandia results?
- I haven’t planned to have a good result, but I had to catch a pace after a long break and good training sessions on a high altitude. Last race before this one wasn’t on a high profile, then there was a month break, so, I haven’t planned good result. I believe that everything went fine without any problems and without any tiredness in muscles.
- Is the team super motivated for Giro?
- Yeah, we are seriously motivated. At the moment this is only Grand Tour we were invited to, we could be invited to Vuelta also, but Giro is really important for us right now.
- Do you have a task from a team management to earn points for a rating? Is a dream about Pro-Tour still alive?
- Yes, of course. We earn point by point by being on podiums. But management can’t ask for points in February when we have to be in the best shape in May. To be honest I am not sure that Pro-Tour system works. Our job is to ride season as good as possible. Therefore, we will see in autumn how many points they will count and what criteria are.
- What is about Russian Championship?
- I don’t think I will ride it. Our team doesn’t have any major races in the summer time, so instead of thinking about Vuelta straight after Giro it’s better to have a rest for 2 weeks rather then a week. So, the thought about Russian Championship could be faded away.
- But team hasn’t got invitation for Vuelta yet, right?
- Yes, we don’t know if we’ll be invited. I believe, that wild cards would be announced after Giro. And organizer s are not really Spanish, they are ASO. But the race director is Spanish and the race is in Spain and the team is Spanish, so… I think we should get an invitation.
- Denis, comparing your new and old teams, can you tell if there are difference in management? Do you feel like you changed to a lower class team?
- There is a difference but there is always a difference between any teams. There was a big difference between Banesto and Rabobank, and there is a difference here too. But, I believe that the most important is the way the team is managed, so, as for speaking about myself, everything is done in the best way possible, all my request are followed and I treated well. The most important is how you are treated and the spirit. You can ride for a really big team, but if you are not treated in the right way, then it is better to be in the team which does it.
- Did you have an opportunity to go to a different team from Geox? Did you have any offers?
- Yes, I had offers. But what kind of these offers were? They weren’t really serious, because business should be done in the right time and all this hassle – it isn’t serious. So, we got back to relations, when you treated accordingly, but when the offer is in the middle on January… and the offer only to me, but I’ve brought riders from Rabobank with me. I can’t just leave guys in the middle of nowhere and change the team myself. It isn’t right.
- Has Dimitriy Kozontchuk changed the team with you as a friend?
- Yes, but he rides big races fine. Most of the people may not know what he exactly does but he does a very hard job. People were saying me that Ardila is the more known rider, but you brought unknown rider Kozontchuk with you. But after few races people sow that he does his job in the most professional way, so they have got really impressed. He is typical gregory, he does job which people doesn’t see, but this job is important. So, he is not that rider which you can see in the last 30 km when you switched TV on, he may be already behind, but people keep saying that I haven’t got any help. But it isn’t true.
- It was very common for Rabobank last years…
- Invisible being? All were wearing magic hats (laughing).
- No, there was no one close to you if any force majeure happened, if group was splitting in pieces or anything like this.
- Sometimes (smiling mysteriously). There was different mentality for races like Tour de France for the team selection, therefore was a bit difficult, for sure. Because, some people weren’t in the best shape, they were not ready or prepared to help or don’t know how to help. In addition to the above there are rides which know what they have to do and they don’t have any other thoughts. There were riders in Rabobank which don’t know how to do their job. We will see how it goes in the new team, because there weren’t real test yet.
Kuzmina Galina, Sidarok Yulia from Borgaro Torinese, specially for VeloLIVE.com
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