|Gustav Erik Larsson at his best on the|
time trial bike on his way to glory.
I made the following interview with the strong Swede on Thursday evening before the team rushed off to dinner.
Gustav, how is it not being a part of the Danish team when the Giro starts in Denmark?
To be honest I haven’t actually thought about it before now, but it is kind of strange thinking about it. I used to ride with Bjarne Riis’ team, now we are in his city and I’m not a part of the team anymore.
But you are happy with your change of teams?
Yes it’s been a great start for me with the win in Paris-Nice. Last year was a very bad year for me. I had a pretty awful winter and that’s why I didn’t do better in the first part of the season. But before that I think I have had three really good years with Saxo Bank and now I hope I can come back and show what I’m worth.
So what are your ambitions for the Giro this time?
I’m going for the overall classification actually. I will try to hang on for as long as possible on the climbs and the two time trials are very good for me. I aim for a spot in the Top10 but we will have to see how the legs respond first. I don’t think it’s possible to gain back very much time [in the time trials] so it’s important not to get dropped in the mountains.
How do you feel compared to 2008 when you ended 14th in the GC?
It was my first season with Riis and I was in very, very good shape. I think I can do it again.
First we have the prologue on Saturday. What do you think you can do there?
It’s always difficult to say. There are a lot of riders who are not time trial specialists but still able do to a very good prologue. I mean it’s only 8,7 km. Of course I would like to win it like I did in Paris-Nice but it won’t be easy. It would have been good for me if there had been a little hill or something to make it more tough, but I think it’s an okay route. The only thing is that it’s actually rather late on the day so it will be a little bit chilly outside.
What about the team time trial?
Well, if you look at the individual riders we have some very strong time trialists, but the problem is that we haven’t trained together. Still I think it can be fine for us if we just get the tactic straight and everybody moves around like they are supposed to when it counts on the roads.
Do you fear any of the stages in this year’s Giro?
On the first stage in Denmark we are going to ride alongside the sea so I hope it won’t be chaos. Anything can really happen on that stage, especially if it’s windy as well. We have to pay attention and be prepared.
Let’s end with talking about the GC favorites. Who is your pick?
Hmm. Ivan Basso is always a strong contender, but I don’t know if he is ready yet. If he is though, then I think he will win it. I doubt it will be one of the pure climbers, but then again there are some very tough climbs on the menu, so you never know. We will see what happens.