Seemingly born to climb mountains, Igor Antón is the kind of rider you picture donning the famous polkadots at the Tour.
On his day he's one of the best climbers around, capable of going on those epic, long-rage attacks in the high mountains that make watching bike races such a memorable pastime. When not on his day, though, he often lacks the consistency that is the hallmark of Grand Tour champions.
With the Tour de France just around the corner, the timing was apt to ask the bona fide escalador if he one day pictures himself wearing the climber's jersey.
"It a jersey that's very prestigious and hard to get hold of, but I do think I can wear it one day. Why not?", he tells Basque Cycling News. "The climbs suit me well, so I could be a candidate one day.
"My team-mate Samuel Sánchez won it in 2011, and it was a big thing and very important for the team".
If he one day is to challenge for the polkadots, he'll first have to find the recipe for success at the Grand Boucle.
The 30-year-old has only taken part twice - and he struggled on both occasions. In 2007 he decided to call it quits on stage 11 after looking off colour since the off, while he would only finish 66th two years later. He's found success in Grand Tours elsewhere, though, taking four stages in the Vuelta and a memorable one at Zoncolan in the Giro.
"The Tour is different", he says. "It's at a different time of year (compared to the other Grand Tours), but above all it's pivotal to get to the race in good shape, and I haven't been able to do that yet. On both occasions the first week took it's toll, and I never reached 100 percent. When you get such a start it's hard to get better during the race.
"At the Tour you get the best teams and the best riders, everyone's motivated and everyone's in shape, so it's very hard to shine. First of all I need to get into my best shape and get the preparations spot on".
Naturally, his big goal in the race is to "reach top form", and, if he succeeds in that, to "fight for stage wins in the mountains".
Antón recently finished 12th at the Tour de Suisse, the last dress rehearsal, save for the national championships, before the Grand départ.
According to himself, he's on the right path.
"After peaking for the first time in April, I rested a bit to prepare for the second part of the season. I've improved steadily, and I noticed that I'd improved a lot in Switzerland. There's still 12 days to go, though, so I'll rest a bit and then hopefully improve a bit more before and during the race".
In France, Antón will spearhead Euskaltel alongside Mikel Nieve.