Fans want Dani Navarro on the Tour team!

  • Dani Navarro was already going strong at Paris-Nice (Photo by Kahane for the Alberto Contador Notebook)

    All season, M M Rowe has been putting her support behind Spanish rider Dani Navarro as a sure bet for super-domestique to Alberto Contador in the Tour. M M had him pegged as a winner and a great team player as far back as April.

    Astana will finalize the Tour roster any day now, and fans want to see the Asturian who won a brilliant stage at the Dauphiné at Contador's side. Will Dani be there? He must be there!

    Here are some of M M’s thoughts from Tour of the Basque Country, multiply that enthusiasm x 100 now.

    Dani Navarro Riding Into Form In the Basque Country

    by M M Rowe (aka msquared)

    I'm watching same day coverage of stage 5 of the 2010 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco on Universal Sports TV. Coverage begins with 55km to go and Team Astana's Dani Navarro is in the 10-man break of the day. The camera focuses on him several times. I'm pleased to see he's taking his turns in the rotation and riding with relative ease. This is a tough, tough race.

    Now it's 23km to go. The 12% grade causes the break to fall apart over the next to the last climb. Dani leads the surviving 3-man escape. Eventually Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha) bridges to Dani's escape group; his teammate launches him solo and he holds on for the stage win. But Dani continues to lead the chase until the final climb (8km left) where they are absorbed into the field. A climb so steep guys are walking their bikes like it's the Koppenberg! Not Dani. He's a warrior. Dani keeps pedaling. He keeps his place in the front group of 20-25 riders which is now the Valverde yellow jersey group containing all the contenders. Alejandro Valverde, Sammy Sanchez, and Chris Horner attack less than 2km from the finish and battle each other to the line for second place. Dani finishes 18th.

    Not impressed? Well, how about this? Dani's final GC standing of 23rd was a comeback from over six minutes down in 94th place on stage 1. He only lost one additional minute over stages two through four. Significant names lost that much on stage 4 alone! The indomitable Jens Voight lost 3 1/2 minutes on stage 4; Bradley Wiggins over four minutes. There is no doubt in my mind I'm watching Dani ride himself into form.

    Wait! What's that sound? Oh, it's Dani shouting loud and clear, "I want a spot on the Tour team!"

    Can you hear him, Mr. Martinelli?

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