Denis Menchov had his whole season built around the Tour de France but after a good start he faded off and never got to be the key player in the classification that he had hoped to be. Many thought that would be the end of Menchov’s season but to make sure that his home country’s team can get another GT podium this year, he decided to do the Vuelta as super domestique for Purito. Here is what he told me the day before the start of the Vuelta.
Denis, first of all, can you put a few words on your Tour de France performance?
I started out well and then I had a crises, which of course came as bad surprise for me. Unfortunately that can happen in sport, especially on the highest level. I didn’t lose my motivation though. I know that you always need two or three days to recover from such a thing.
And now it’s time for the Vuelta. Are you here only to support Purito or what is your role on the team?
Well, for me the most important is the team’s results. Of course I want to do a good race myself, but it’s more important for me that Katusha get a good result than I do. I will do my best and if that means I can take a win, why not do it?
What do you think about this year’s route? Seems to be very good for Purito...
Sure, I think it’s a very good route for him, like last year. Actually they are quite similar I think. I don’t see it as super hard, but instead very nervous and with a hard final part of the race. It suits him well.
Have you already checked out any of the stages?
I have only studied the course in the road book and on the internet because I already know the important stages and climbs of this edition’s race. Personally I like the stages in the third week the most, specially stage 15 to Lagos de Covadonga.
How about the opening team time trial? Is that a goal?
For sure, but it’s a goal for a lot of teams. We will try to do the best TTT we have ever done and by that gain some time on our main rivals. Of course the best would be to win it.
Looking at the other favorites for the overall classification. Who do you see as the main rivals?
Except for Contador I will say Froome, Cobo, Valverde and Antón. Froome might be a little tired because the Tour was very stress and normally you would some rest after a race like that. But of course he is motivated since it’s the first time he can be the team leader of Team Sky.
Last question. How does your future look?
Well, my plan is to stay with Katusha. it’s a really strong team and I’m happy to be in this group. I’m glad I still have one more year left here.