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Giro d'Italia

Tondo to help Sastre in Giro

Xavier Tondo, joins Cervélo to provide Carlos Sastre with the type of support he was so sorely missing in last year’s Giro.

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With Carlos Sastre committed to returning to the Giro d’Italia in 2010, he will be happy with added support from his reloaded Cervélo TestTeam.

Key to new Cervélo’s newest additions is Spanish climber Xavier Tondo, who is expected to provide Sastre with the type of support he was so sorely missing in last year’s Giro, where he won two stages but fell short of the final podium.

“I am more than pleased with the planning that the team has laid out for me. And I am super-motivated for the Giro,” he said. “I know I am going to the Giro with one objective: to work for Carlos Sastre. And that’s no problem at all for me, quite the contrary. For me, it’s an honor and even adds to the motivation.”

At last year’s Giro, there seemed to be some division with the Cervélo ranks. First, Simon Gerrans went on a daring breakaway to win a stage into Bologna, but that seemed annoy Sastre and later the Tour de France stage-winner was left off the squad’s 2009 Tour team.

Later, the team inexplicably put the brakes on Serge Pauwels when he was in a two-man breakaway within clear shot of the finish line, essentially gifting the stage to a rival team. Pauwels has since left the team to join Sky for 2010.

At 31, Tondo finally makes the move to the “bigs” after bouncing between small Spanish and Portuguese teams most of his career. He won the Tour of Portugal in 2007 and last year snagged the leader’s jersey at the Ruta del Sol, an important race for his former team at Andalucia-CajaSur.

“We’ve already decided my calendar for 2010 and Cervélo wants me to prepare with the Giro in mind,” Tondo said. “And before racing in Italy, they have proposed a stellar calendar for me that will help me adapt to racing at the highest level.”

In addition to the Giro, Tondo will kick start his season at the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman followed by Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya, the Ardennes classics and finally the Giro.

“I have the racing schedule that I’ve always dreamed about,” he continued. “I joined on with Cervélo with the precise goal of racing the big events on the calendar and I have nothing to complain about.
After the Giro, we’ll analyze my and the team’s performance and then we’ll decide what’s next. In principle, we were speaking of the Giro and the Vuelta a España. But later we decided just to focus solely on the Giro and then after we’re done, we’ll talk about setting new goals.”

One thing is sure: you won’t be seeing Tondo in a breakaway, unless captain Sastre says it’s OK.