Tour shorts - Cunego, Riis, Landis

Damiano Cunego on his Tour so far, Bjarne Riis talks down Sastre's TT skills, bookies make Landis th

Damiano Cunego on his Tour so far, Bjarne Riis talks down Sastre's TT skills, bookies make Landis th
PIC BY TIM DE WAELE - Currently placed 69th on general classification at 1'20", Damiano Cunego remains cagey about his Tour de France chances ahead of what he says will be a "real test" in Saturday's 52km time trial in Rennes. The Lampre-Fondital rider told procycling that this morning that he has been pleasantly surprised by the first week of his debut Tour, but isn't getting carried away: "I expected the Tour stages too be very different from the racing at the Giro, but they haven't been," said the Little Prince. "On most stages, a break has gone clear then the pace has been quite steady until the final 40km. At the Giro this year, the hostilities started much earlier... I'm improving every day but the emphasis for me is on survival for the first ten days. After that I'll start thinking about going for a stage win in the mountains." Asked if Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich's absence had given him ideas about challenging for the general classication, Cunego wouldn't be drawn. "We'll see what happens in the Pyrenees, but for now I'm just approaching it as a learning experience. My favourites are Landis and Popovych." - CSC chief Bjarne Riis is pessimistic about Carlos Sastre's chances on a time trial course expected to favour the flat-track bullies on Saturday. Riis hinted in Lisieux this morning that Sastre is being groomed to lead CSC through the Alps and Pyrenees ("I think that Carlos is more likely to be the leader than Bobby [Julich]") but predicted that the Spaniard would lose around three minutes tomorrow. Riis added that he expects David Zabriskie to "do an excellent time trial" and finish on the podium in Rennes. The Dane tipped Floyd Landis and George Hincapie to make up tomorrow's top three. - Floyd Landis is now most UK bookmakers' favourite for overall glory in the Tour. Landis was available at a staggering 50/1 earlier in the year but has seen his odds tumble following the exclusion from the Grande Boucle of Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov. Sportingodds.com now rate the Phonak star as a 11/4 chance for overall honours, with George Hincapie second favourite at 33/10. Next come Levi Leipheimer (6/1), Yaroslaw Popovych (7/1), Cadel Evans (7/1), Andreas Kloeden (14/1) and Iban Mayo (14/1).
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