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Antonio Cruz’s Vuelta diaries

EDITOR’S NOTE: Antonio Cruz is a 29-year-old American racing in his first season in Europe with the U.S Postal Team. He will be sending VeloNews readers daily updates throughout this year’s Vuelta a España. Welcome to my Vuelta Journal. This will be both my first grand tour and my first on-line journal. I will be calling my agent, Max Burgos, every day to file these reports; he will then transcribe them and send them to VeloNews. From my mouth to your computer all in the same day. As this is all a new experience for me, I will try to give a sense of what I am going through day by day. Not

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By Antonio Cruz , U.S. Postal Cycling Team

EDITOR’S NOTE: Antonio Cruz is a 29-year-old American racing in his first season in Europe with the U.S Postal Team. He will be sending VeloNews readers daily updates throughout this year’s Vuelta a España.

Welcome to my Vuelta Journal. This will be both my first grand tour and my first on-line journal. I will be calling my agent, Max Burgos, every day to file these reports; he will then transcribe them and send them to VeloNews. From my mouth to your computer all in the same day. As this is all a new experience for me, I will try to give a sense of what I am going through day by day. Not just the racing but how I feel every day, and what goes on before and after the race.

I am currently in the start town of Salamanca, the entire team has been here since Tuesday. We had to report for the mandatory UCI blood tests; everyone on the team has been reported to be “fit to race”. My weight this morning is 64 kilos. I have been getting into the race ready mentality. We are already in the race routine of eating , riding, massage, eating and sleeping. Not much time for anything else except a little TV. Euskatel and Cofidis are also staying at our hotel. We ran into David Millar last night and talked for a while. Many people are picking him as one of the top guys for the race. He looks very fit and very skinny.

The team rode together today for three hours and we tried to open up our legs a little for tomorrow’s opening time trial. I am really looking forward to tomorrow. The course should suit me; there are about twenty turns. It is a fast technical course that requires a lot of power and good jumps out of the turns. I will be riding the entire course later this evening. I spoke to Ekimov a few days ago and he told me last time he did La Vuelta he didn’t start his TT until 9:30 in the evening.

Our team is Roberto Heras, Chechu Ribiera , Victor Pena, Levi Leipheimer, Matt White, Julian Dean, Benoit Joachim, and our new addition Chann McRae. Heras, Rubiera and Pena all rode the Tour de France also. I will probably be rooming with Benoit for most of the race. We haven’t gone over strategy with Johan yet.

But we all pretty much know what we are here to do. Roberto won this race last year and we will be trying to keep him out of trouble early on and then help him get and keep the Leader’s jersey. There are a lot of great riders here but I think Roberto will be hard to beat; his time-trailing has improved over last year and he showed at the Tour that he can climb with anyone out there.

— Antonio