Beloki: Giro harder than Tour

Although the best part of an hour down overall, Joseba Beloki is happy with his showing at a much ha

Although the best part of an hour down overall, Joseba Beloki is happy with his showing at a much ha

Halfway through his first appearance at the Giro, Joseba Beloki has told Marca that in some ways the Italian race is harder than the Tour de France. "I'm shocked by how hard it is," said Beloki, "it is harder than the Tour."

Beloki went on to qualify that comment, stating: "The Tour is run at a faster pace, the level is higher and you also have to take the heat into account, but the hills here, percentage-wise anyway, are harder."

Almost three-quarters of an hour down on leader Danilo Di Luca, Beloki admitted that he felt more at home at the Tour. "Because the pace is quicker, everyone knows their place in the race, but this Giro is incredibly hard and the final stages are absolutely savage," said Beloki.

The Basque rider makes no bones about the fact his sights are set very firmly on the Tour, and that his role at the Giro is primarily one of support to his Liberty Seguros team-mate Michele Scarponi, who currently lies 13th overall. Beloki's other objective is to gain form, and from that point of view his Giro has been going extremely well.

"I'm going better and better, it has been a real benefit coming here, but over the past few days my allergies have started to trouble me because things are coming into flower," he stated. Beloki admitted that the quality he is missing most is confidence, but hoped that would come as well in the next few days as the Giro heads into the mountains.

The one main worry for the Basque are the reports of bad weather heading for the Alps and Dolomites. "At the moment I'm planning to ride right through to the finish, but if the weather starts to turn bad we shall see." Beloki also revealed that his plans for the period before the Tour could see him focusing totally on training rather than competition. In other words, his next race after the Giro could be the Tour.

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