Monday, February 18, 2008

Mikel disappointed, but happy with form

After coming 2nd on the second stage of the Ruta del Sol, Mikel talked to the team's website after the conclusion of today's stage, and gave his view on Cadel Evans, his own form and the final kilometres. Here you go:"It's been a hard day, both when it comes to the rain and the cold as to the intensity of the racing. A group of about 20 got away really early and, since the leader (López Gil) was not in it, it became a question of just holding off the chasing pack. We all had to give it our maximum to stay in front. The goalline was at the end of a two-kilometre long climb. I felt really good, but Evans was still better than me. We left the others with 500 metres to go, and with a 100 to go I still felt I could win it. I thought I would have the advantage as Evans was the one who worked the hardest in the break. But he showed he was the strongest and, fair play to him, the strongest man won. I'm a little down right now, but it helps to know that I was beaten by the second best rider in last year's Tour and the favourite for this year's race. But I'm still annoyed. I really want to win a race, but it's just not happening for me. But I'm feeling strong at the moment, so maybe that day will come." Talking of the GC, he said: "4th is good, but I want to improve. I have strong riders ahead of me, like Lastras and Evans, but it'll be necessary to try to surpass them both. Tomorrow's stage is a hard one, but it ends with 20 kilometres of downhill, so I don't think the stage is going to change the overall standings a lot. But we'll try". One rider who'll be looking forward to tomorrow will be Aitor I think. If the pack stays together, and he's in it, there's a good possibility that he might pull off something special, especially considering that Graeme Brown, Sebastian Langeveld and Gert Steegmans pulled out today.

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