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Giro Notebook Stage 5: Tuft in green; Nava’ in pink

Svein Tuft is finding his place with start-up Orica-GreenEdge.

At the Giro d’Italia, the Canadian all-rounder is working to help star sprinter Matt Goss in the sprint finales. It’s a new job for Tuft, but it’s one he’s taking on with gusto.

“We have good team objectives with the sprinters, we have some stages that suit our team very well,” Tuft told VeloNews. “I don’t really have the super-turbo like (Brett) Lancaster. I can help position [the team’s final lead-out riders] into the final couple of kilometers, when it’s all strung out. I can pull for a longer time. We are refining that at the moment. These finishes are quite tricky here at the Giro.”

Racing in his second Giro, the Canadian says the Italian grand tour is ideal to build a base of fitness for goals later in the season.

“This sets you up well for the rest of the year, if you have ambitions later in the season. 2010 really did me well, with the Eneco Tour,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to find any other race that’s this hard.”

While the Giro is his immediate focus, Tuft also has the 2012 Olympic Games on his radar screen.

Canada, however, only has one start position and that means there could be a real dogfight between Tuft, Ryder Hesjedal and Michael Barry to punch their respective tickets to London.

“You never know with the federation. Nothing is selected yet,” he said. “For me, you do your work. I do not put a lot of merit into (the selection process). This is our job. I just plan like I am going and that’s it.”

The fact that the rider who races the time trial also must toe the line for the road race could tip the balance toward Tuft, who is the current Canadian road and time trial champion.

Tuft represented Canada in the 2008 Beijing Games, riding to seventh in the time trial.

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