Some call him "The Grinder", others prefer to label him "The SilentAssassin". Either way, there's no denying the power and talent of DenisMenchov.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Some call him "The Grinder", others prefer to label him "The Silent Assassin". Either way, there's no denying the power and talent of Denis Menchov.

Always within striking distance of his main rivals for the duration of stage 5, Rabobank's Russian leader always seems to go about his work with little or no fuss.

In fact it was a very clever race tactically by Menchov in stage 5.

As Ivan Basso's Liquigas team spent most of the day at the front of the peloton for little reward, Menchov claimed stage honours with very little support from his own riders .

Today's
victory may have come as somewhat of a surprise to many for a man who
traditionally saves his peak form until the end of the year - more
specifically theVuelta.

But a change of program in 2009 and Menchov's priorities have changed as they are skewed towards finally cracking a win at the Tour de France.

Rabobank's management has publicly stated that standing on the top podium in Pars in July is the team's sole objective.

That said, the riders around Menchov at the Tour is expected to be much stronger than those currently supporting him in Italy.

Rising Dutch star Robert Gesink should be the first rider selected to support Menchov in France while Australia's Matty Hayman also looms as a shoe-in alongside former world champion Oscar Freire and Spanish mountain specialist Juan Manuel Garate.

Put them all together and what have you got? A winning combination - on paper at least.

Menchov says he's using the Giro as a "training run".

Well, he certainly tested himself today with an explosive surge to keep even Danilo di Luca at bay in the sprint to the finish line.

For years, the two-time winner of the Vuelta has showed so much potential without really delivering in the other two Grand Tours.

Will he finally crack it for a win this year? After today's stunning showing, here's hoping he doesn't peak too soon.