Karpets on slow boil

Vladimir Karpets came to the Giro to get himself into shape for the Tour de France, and today's seco

Vladimir Karpets came to the Giro to get himself into shape for the Tour de France, and today's seco

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Mullet fans around the world can breathe easier now that it appears Vladimir Karpets will pick up the torch from the ageing Laurent Brochard. With his well-coiffed blonde locks whipping out of his helmet, the man from St. Petersburg blazed through into Turin with the second-fastest time to Ivan Basso.

It was a similar performance to Karpets' ride in last year's Tour de France, when he bolted into the best young rider's jersey ahead of French fan favourite Thomas Voeckler. This year, the road back to the Tour went through Italy for the 24-year-old Russian.

"He decided he wanted to race the Giro instead of doing something more traditional for the Tour such as Romandie or the Dauphin," said Illes Balears sport manager Eusebio Unzue. "He came here with no pressure at all for the general classification, only to accumulate kilometres."

Karpets started slow, but slowly rode into form that came to the fore in Friday's time trial where he finished just nine seconds off the winning pace. "He'll be one of our captains at the Tour," Unzue continued. "Along with Mancebo, we hope to see him into the top 10. The team will work for Mancebo, but Karpets will have some freedom."

If his Giro performance without any pressure is any indication, he's right on target.

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