Scarponi aims for podium

Armed with his 'perfect' condition, Domina Vacanze climber Michele Scarponi is gunning for the podiu

Armed with his ‘perfect’ condition, Domina Vacanze climber Michele Scarponi is gunning for the podiu

Domina Vacanze team leader Michele Scarponi has told procycling he has “perfect condition” as the Tour prepared for its first incursion into the mountains. The 25-year-old Scarponi, 48th on general classification before Wednesday’s 237km 10th stage between Limoges and Saint Flour, pronounced himself “highly satisfied” with the first seven days of his dbut Tour. “I’d say that my verdict of the first week is definitely positive,” Scarponi, who skipped the Giro d’Italia to concentrate on the Grande Boucle, commented. “My form is perfect and I’d even say that it has improved after the first few days of racing. I even attacked with Paolo Bettini and Filippo Pozzato to test my legs on the Saint Brieuc stage.” Ironically, Scarponi’s two best performances at the Tour so far have come in stages where he was least expected to flourish: in the 6.1km prologue in Lige, where the 25-year-old conceded just 24 seconds to stage winner Fabian Cancellara, and on the double helping of pav on stage three, both gobbled down with the minimum of fuss by Scarponi. With the arrival of the mountains, the Italian knows that his time is now: “I had expected to lose a few seconds in the prologue and team time trial,” Scarponi reflected. “I’m looking forward to the mountains and I would like to win the Alpe d’Huez time trial. I want to leave an indelible mark on this Tour, maybe with a solo exploit in the mountains. It won’t be easy, but I won’t to give it a go. My team is built like a fortress around me. “For the yellow jersey, Armstrong is my favourite,” he continued. “He has another gear compared to Ullrich. Then there are Hamilton, Heras and Mayo, who are all in good shape physically, and me: I would like to get onto the podium. My fans will be on the Alps and I don’t want to disappoint them.”