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David Arroyo to skip 2012 Giro d’Italia and focus on Tour de France

David Arroyo enjoyed his time in the pink jersey at the 2010 Giro. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com (file)

David Arroyo, who rode to second behind Ivan Basso in the epic 2010 Giro d’Italia, says he’ll skip the Italian tour in favor of the Tour de France in 2012.

With the return of Alejandro Valverde to Movistar, the Spaniard said he wants to be in top shape to help the team’s interests in the season’s most important stage race.

“I want to be 100 percent for the Tour,” Arroyo said in a press conference this week. “First I will do the Tour, then we’ll see how everyone is physically and mentally, then we’ll think about the Vuelta.”

In the 2010 Giro, Arroyo was one of the top beneficiaries of the big breakaway that took 13 minutes over the favorites to L’Aquila in stage 11. He took the leader’s jersey three days later and held off Basso until the grueling battle over the Mortirolo in stage 19.

Arroyo couldn’t live up to expectations in this year’s more brutal Giro, finishing 14th overall. He later raced to 36th at the Tour de France.

With Valverde’s return, Arroyo will return to his role as a climbing domestique. He’ll ride to protect Valverde’s flank in the mountains and take his own chances when they arise.

“Alejandro is very fit and he’s very motivated to demonstrate that he can return to the same level,” Arroyo said. “Having Alejandro on the team will give us options to win in every race we go to, that will only benefit everyone on the team.”

Arroyo will trek to South America in his season debut at the Tour de San Luís and race the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, Criterium International and the Vuelta a País Vasco before taking a break ahead of the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour.

After the Tour, he said he’ll take stock to see if a run at the Vuelta a España will be in the cards.

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