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“It’s a lot like last year, climbs aren’t so European, they’re not steep climbs,” Dennis said. “There are two climbs that will be hard, Diablo and Mountain High, but the route does suit us time-trial clim...

Photo: Sirotti












13.05.2014 @ 10:00 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

As for any other cycling team backed by American sponsors, a good showing at the Amgen Tour of California is one of season’s biggest objectives for Garmin-Sharp and despite suffering huge setbacks in the other part of the world, the retro-looking squad aims to keep their multiple options open and ride aggressively in order to challenge event’s main favorite, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).


Garmin lacked a prominent figure in likes of Wiggins, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) or Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who have effectively stolen all the spotlight, but the Americal team lined up at the Tour of California with a strong squad consisting of several riders capable of making good result in overall classification.


The American squad never won the Californian stage event, but finished runner up on four occasions and certainly their ‘plan minimum’ is to repeat their best result one more time. Colombian climber Janier Acevedo is their appointed leader for the Tour of California, but since his condition is unknown following spring season hampered by illness, double podium finisher Thomas Danielson and talented young time trialist Rohan Dennis appear to be their best bets.


Danielson’s condition is also under a question mark, as the American rider crashed out of the Volta a Catalunya developing a staph infection, which forced him out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and badly affected his performance at the Tour de Romandie.


The 36-year old American admits that his build-up towards one of his season’s main objective was far away from being perfect and thus he enters the competition without particular expectations. He pointed out, however, that Wiggins is the outright favorite to take the spoils in this year’s Tour of California edition and Garmin-Sharp would have to ride an extremely aggressive race in order to turn things around.



"I would really like to ride well here," Danielson told Cyclingnews. "I was on the podium during the last two years and would like to be there again. Many riders go through problems with injuries, illness and stuff, we just have to manage everything the best we can. I've come here in the best form that I could, considering."


"My immune system might have been down from training," Danielson said. "I probably got it from the complex I was staying at. I got sick but kept training. The Tour of California [overall] was a big target of mine. I was focused on doing really well, but I was thrown a curve ball with the staph infection. I had to take a lot of antibiotics to treat it, but since then I've had two good weeks of training."


"I just suffered through that race," he said about his participation at the Tour de Romandie, where Danielson was supposed to ride in a support of Andrew Talansky. "But I got some rest afterward and came to the Tour of California in better shape. My run-in to this race wasn't as perfect as I would have liked it to be, so I have no idea what to really expect. I'm going to do my best. All my teammates are riding really well."


"Brad Wiggins has the qualities to dominate this race," Danielson said. "No matter how fit everyone is, Wiggins was made to win this race. He's the guy to focus on — 100 percent. We have a strong team here, and we will try to make the race as aggressive as possible."


Considering the route of this year’s edition of the Tour of California, however, Rohan Dennis appears as at least equally promising Garmin-Sharp’s option for their quest to improve overall results from previous season.


In-form winner of the inaugural Tour of Alberta admitted, that the versatile course favors “time trial climbers” and as his condition was increasing over several last weeks, the young Australian claimed that decisive climbs are not selective enough to turn around the general classification following yesterday’s stage against the clock.


“It’s a lot like last year, or other years, the climbs aren’t so European, they’re not steep climbs,” Dennis said. “There are two climbs that will be hard, Diablo and Mountain High, but the route does suit us time-trial climbers a bit better. There are guys like Peter Stetina [BMC Racing], and Janier on our team, that will find the climbs a lot easier than I do when it gets steeper.”


“We’ve got a strong team for climbing,” Dennis said. “Hopefully those guys can relate that to time trialing as well, and it plays into our hands. We’re hoping that the winds calm down, which will be important for the smaller guys to get around that fast course.”


“It is one of my targets to go well here,” Dennis said. “All I can say is that I knew my form was good in Romandie, and hopefully it’s carried on to here. You never know, after flying overseas, dealing with a bit of jet lag, it is always a bit of an unknown, but I believe [the form] is slightly better than in Romandie.”


Apparently Dennis managed to maintain his good disposition, as he added another runner-up spot in the individual time trial yesterday to similar results obtained on three occasions this season, at the Criterium International, Circuit de la Sarthe and Tour de Romandie respectively.


Sitting second in the general classification 44 seconds behind Wiggins, the 23-year old Australian appears as Garmin’s best shot for the general classification, should Dennis survive dangerous crosswinds and toughest mountaintop finish on Mount Diablo today.



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