Dauphiné shorts: Heras invisible, Sevilla ready

Liberty Seguros' Roberto Heras is convinced he'll still find his form in time for the Tour, while T-

Liberty Seguros’ Roberto Heras is convinced he’ll still find his form in time for the Tour, while T-

To find Roberto Heras on the daily results list in the Dauphin Libr, one has to look far down. The Spaniard, who’ll be leading the Liberty Seguros team in the Tour, has been riding so discreetly that, in fact, it attracts attention, writes Susanne Horsdal. Considering that he lost 11.17 on Mont Ventoux, 13.36 on the stage to Grenoble, 16.41 on the stage to Morzine and didn’t finish the last stage to Salanches – all ridden in hilly or mountainous terrain that should suit him – the question as to whether the form is actually there has to be asked.. But if Heras is worried, he doesn’t disclose it. “There’s no reason to panic yet. There’s still a month to go before the Tour. I didn’t come here to do anything in particular in the GC, rather to put some race miles in my legs. Maybe I am a little behind compared to where I thought I would be, but I’m not worried. While it’s true my rivals are already strong, I’m still confident that I can arrive at the Tour with my best condition ever for July,” said Heras. His sports director Manolo Saiz, however, isn’t quite as relaxed about the situation. “The team hasn’t raced well at this Dauphin. We have to step back and try to recover the confidence. The problems with Isidro Nozal [who was found above the 50 percent limit in a hematocrit test ahead of the race] and Contador’s crash [in which he almost lost a finger] haven’t helped things either. There’s still time to get ready for the Tour, so we’re still hopeful. But we’re thinking about a special training camp ahead of the Tour to become focused,” revealed Saiz – Sevilla ready to give 100 per cent to Ullrich and Vinokourov After a string of bad seasons, Oscar Sevilla finally hopes to be able to live up to some of the potential he’s shown in former years, and so far everything seems to be going in the right direction. Though he hasn’t posted any spectacular results in this year’s Dauphin Libr, the little Spaniard is confident he’ll nail the form right on time for the Tour. “Last year I had a lot of injuries that cost me a lot to recover from. This year, thank God, I’ve been healthy and I’m racing with confidence again, which took a long time to recover. Now I want to make a good performance for the team and regain the positive sensations on the bike,” said the T-Mobile rider before the start of the last stage. Last year Sevilla ended third on the GC in the Dauphin, but lost some of the form in the Tour. For that reason, he decided to take it a little easier in this year’s edition of the lead-up race to the Tour, to be able to give 100 per cent to Ullrich and Vinokourov come July. “My Tour will be to help the leaders. I was training with Jan in the Pyrenees and the Alps and he’s motivated, he’s ready to race the Tour. He’s very concentrated, he’s fit and I think he’s going to do a great Tour,” said Sevilla, who feels the German team is ready to take on Lance Armstrong and Co. “Lance is the strongest rider in the world, he’s won six straight and he’s done it easily. But that’s the beautiful thing about cycling, there’s a fight, there’s a spectacle, and you never know what’s going to happen. We’ll come with a very strong team with the intention of beating him. If we don’t, we’ll say congratulations. The most important thing is to try, to give a nice show for the fans and enjoy our work.”