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"I put everything aside for the Tour. I now live in Monaco, I don’t see my girlfriend very much, I have a longer altitude training than before. Nibali wants me to help him in the mountains as much as possible. Of course it's...

Photo: A.S.O.




22.06.2014 @ 13:05 Posted by Joseph Doherty

At 1,900 meters above sea level, atop the extinct San Pellegrinopas, Lieuwe Westra preparing his Tour-form further. He has had an outstanding season so far, and now he turns his head to his seasonal objective.  His last step in Italy "I have everything to put aside for the time being and it pays off."


It's Thursday, and Westra, fresh from the massage in San Pellegrino tells his story. "It's really extinct. You have nothing here except a log cabin, where we sit down with the team, nothing. To get here you need to go via a goat path upward," said the rider who in the lead up to the Dauphine was also at high altitude training. "That was in Tenerife. The weather there is a lot better and you can often add another cup of coffee on the terrace. You cannot do that here. "


In great shape


I’m cycling in San Pellegrino and focusing on what is to come. I'm in great shape. I’m very close to my level of 2012. At the beginning of the season I was discharged on every climb, but now I have the right legs. And that was the goal. We have a path beaten by the team, where the Tour is the main goal. I'm also not too early to form. There is still some room for improvement,"said the rider who last Saturday brilliantly won the queen stage of the Dauphine.


"On the last climb I was discharged by the two guys ahead from Katusha, but the difference was never really big. At the bottom of the final climb, I started my own pace to ride. Hesjedal, Gallopin and sat with me and I saw that the gap still remained around thirty seconds. I saw the front guys often look backwards. And when the cars went from it, I realized that it was still possible. 500 meters from the summit, I threw some teeth at it. In a long sprint I went for it but I almost got it wrong. In the last twenty yards, I switched back to a low gear. There was nothing more. I was empty. "


But no matter how beautiful his victory is, everything is in the sign of the Tour. “I put everything aside for the Tour. I now live in Monaco, I don’t see my girlfriend very much, I have a longer altitude training than before. Nibali wants me to help him in the mountains as much as possible. Of course it's a pity that I'm not home, but so far it is all worth it. I have two beautiful victories this year to my name. And I am grateful for the team," added the rider who was several times during the Dauphine in an escape. "During the Tour I will not attack. My job is to help Nibali and I'm going to do that. I can still see him improve here every day and that he expects to be good at the Tour. "


Ready for the Tour


"After this altitude training, I return to Monaco. From there I get some rest and there is still a week before the Tour begins. I notice at least at a level that all placements do me good. Now I work out another week and then I have to be ready."

Astana have already confirmed their first eight rides for the Tour de France.

For the last spot Astana will choose from Jacopo Guarnieri, Francesco Gavazzi or another Kazakhstani rider, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. The team leader is another Italian, Vincenzo Nibali.


The Riders Confirmed for the Tour barring incident are: 


Jakob Fuglsang

 Francesco Gavazzi
 Andriy Grivko
 Dmitri Gruzdev
 Jacopo Guarnieri
 Tanel Kangert
 Vincenzo Nibali
 Michele Scarponi
 Alessandro Vanotti
 and Lieuwe Westra, with one more name to be announced.




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