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“I always have a responsibility to perform well and I have not quite managed to do so this season. I've had problems with allergies, colds. I have not done well when he had to. I have wanted to prove myself but I haven’t suc...

Photo: Sirotti






29.06.2013 @ 08:25 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

After two participations in the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia, and incidentally finishing in 10th place in all of his four grand tours, Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) will make debut this Saturday in the biggest race of the cycling world: the Tour de France. Nieve will be carrying the burden of expectations as his team enters La Grande Boucle in dire need of success.


The Basque team has had a disappointing first half of the 2013 season and its sports directors rely heavily on one of its riders finishing inside the top 10 of the overall classification which will be of significant importance in the team’s search for a new sponsor. A search necessitated by the mounting financial crisis in Spain. It is a situation, though, that Nieve tries not to focus too heavily on.


“For now I prefer not to think about that,” Nieve told Marca. “My intention is to go step by step. It's my first Tour, so I want to make sure that everything gets off to a good start. The main thing is to pick up my pace and then we’ll tackle the challenges as they present themselves.”


Nieve said he had limited his recce tours to the Pyrenees and that his biggest worry was the crashes that have traditionally marred the opening week of the Tour.


“I've looked at the stages, but I've only been to the Pyrenees which is what is closest to my house. I wouldn’t say the Pyrenees scare me, although they demand a lot of respect. What I fear most are crashes as a result of the pressure to win and the nervousness inside the peloton during the first week.”


Though that pressure mounts as the start of the Tour draws ever closer, Nieve remained adamant that the weight of the responsibility of being one of the key men in the team would not influence his performance in the Tour.


“I always have a responsibility to perform well and I have not quite managed to do so this season. I've had problems with allergies, colds. I have not done well when he had to. I have wanted to prove myself but I haven’t succeeded. I hope to rectify that score during this Tour!”


Asked about the team’s goals for the race around France, Nieve was quite clear.


“The objective is to return from the race with a stage win. Evidently it will be difficult but we’ll have a go at it. With regards to the overall classification the ambition is to feature prominently among the top contenders.”



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