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With GC ambitions shelved, Danielson seeks breakaways

Tom Danielson is eager to prove his 37-year-old legs still have what it takes to win at a grand tour, but it’s not the GC he’s after

CAMPITELLO MATESSE, Italy (VN) — Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) is eager to prove his 37-year-old legs still have what it takes to win at a grand tour, but it’s not the general classification he’s after.

The Coloradan, a top-10 finisher at both the Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France who served a reduced, six-month ban for doping during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, jumped across a yawning gap to his second breakaway of the race on Saturday in search of a stage win.

That move won’t be his last, he said.

“That’s my goal, to make breakaways,” he said after Saturday’s stage. “I’ll take anything. I just want to try and get a stage.”

Cannondale’s GC hopes rest with Ryder Hesjedal and, now, young Davide Formolo, who sits inside the top 15, 2:15 back. But neither is going to win this Giro — Hesjedal is more than six minutes behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and has apparently switched into stage-win mode as well. He jumped into Sunday’s long breakaway, finishing ninth at 27 seconds, and now sits 21st overall. The team has said its primary goal is stage wins.

That leaves room for a rider like Danielson to jump into any move he can. The tougher the early kilometers, the easier it is for a climber like him to do so.

“I’m really looking at the whole last week. I prefer the steeper climbs, and it’ll be a little bit easier to get into the breakaway when there are mountains, rather than like [Saturday] when there are little short hills everywhere,” he said.

A crash on stage two, which resulted in injuries to his knee and hip that he can “still feel,” put extra focus on the second half of this Giro. His injuries are healing and his form is improving, he said, and he hopes to be “firing on all cylinders” by the last week.

Danielson’s timing was off on Saturday, as he slipped into doomed move after doomed move, each pulled back by teams without representation. He missed the one that did get away, at least at first.

“In the end the move finally went, I was totally screwed but jumped across to it anyway because I really wanted to be there,” he said.

“I suffered. But we’re doing what we talked about [within the team]. Just gotta keep working and you’ll achieve your goals.”