New Zealand's Jesse Sergent says he's in good form and full of confidence ahead of his first Vuelta a Espana.
The 26-year old from Feilding rode the Giro d' Italia in 2012 and 2013 and will again be concentrating on doing well in the individual time trials.
He enters the Tour of Spain on the back of some impressive form, winning a mountainous stage and finishing second in a time trial in the Tour of Austria last month and finishing fifth in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games.
"I've also done a bit of racing with the Eneco Tour in Belgium and Holland last week and then had a couple of days at home in Girona," Sergent said ahead of the Vuelta, which started last night with the team time trial.
"I went to Austria after a bit of a break and came back well without racing for a while. Now I've done a bit of racing and the legs are starting to get the feeling back."
There are two time trials in this year's Vuelta, where Sergent will look to excel. Neither of the best two time triallers in the world, Dan Martin and Sir Bradley Wiggins, are in Spain but his team-mate, Fabian Cancellara, is and he could be the man who blocks him from getting a career-defining Grand Tour stage win.
"I would like to have a good result in those, but I'm also here to help the team, and look for other chances as well in the stages, whether that's protecting our leaders, helping someone in a sprint, or going for a stage win myself," he said.
"I'm pretty open minded and I'm going to take every chance I get.
"We've got a couple of riders here for the overall classification, so we'll be supporting them as much as we can, and then some stages will be targeted along the way to try to get into breakaways and try our luck that way.
"We've also got Fabian here, and he's a real leader, you feel it when he's in a race. It gives everyone that little extra motivation when you've someone like him in the team."
Teams like Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo will be committing all their efforts to their leaders, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.
Their domestiques won't be given opportunities to get in breakaways or compete in sprint finishes, their sole task will be to support and protect their leader and Sergent is pleased he'll be having more freedom than those riders.
"We don't have big overall leaders, but we do have Fabian and we'll be trying to help him get results."
- Sunday Star Times
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