Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Antón playing down GC assault

Like his team boss Galdeano, Igor Antón was himself keen to downplay expectations ahead of the Vuelta. The race commences on Saturday, and Antón said he's looking more for stages than the overall. "I'm thinking more of a stage-win than the overall", he told the Diario Vasco. "But one thing can lead to another. The most important thing will be to stay with the best ones, then we'll see what happens. But yes, I'm feeling better than in previous years coming into this race. I'm feeling fresh as I didn't do the Tour. What happens on the road is another thing, but I'm feeling good and highly motivated." Antón has done some recconaissance work with his team-mates lately, and rates the stage to Cotobello as the hardest one: "I think the most difficult stage will be the one to Cotobello. By then we will have completed 15 stages, so it'll be very hard. The Bola del Mundo stage will be hard, but not as hard as the Cotobello. The GC should be pretty settled by the time we get to the Bola del Mundo, so I expect riders to protect their respective placings on GC rather than attack. I think it'll be similar to what we saw on the Tourmalet in the Tour this year. The only stage that I haven't checked out, is the one to Andorra." Antón seems to be aware of the fact he's a pre-race favourite, but rates Italian Vincenzo Nibali as the rider to beat. "He improved a lot between the Clásica Sán Sebastián and the Vuelta a Burgos. He finished third in the Giro, but to me it's as if he finished second. Menchov's assault depends on his preparation. If he's there or thereabouts, he'll fight for the win. But to me, the big favourite is Nibali".

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