Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Results stage 4; Antón reaction

Igor Antón was grateful to his team-mate Mikel Nieve after winning the stage today and rightly so. Speaking of Nieve's performance, Igor said: "My team-mate Mikel Nieve did a fantastic job. He helped me to stay in the best position going into the final climb." He was also grateful he previewed the course six weeks back, saying his recce was "the right thing to do". Obviously. Though Igor put in a perfectly-timed effort to win the stage, he faded slightly inside the last 100 to leave me, and some of you readers I assume, worried that Nibali might come around him right on the line. Seems we weren't the only ones who worried. "I calculated my effort pretty well, but I was afraid Nibali might pass me right at the end", he admitted. As for his goals for the remainder of the race, the diminutive 27-year-old refused to be drawn on his chances for overall glory. "My goal in the Vuelta was to win a stage. Rodríguez is very strong and I think he's the favourite for the overall win. I have the form to do well, but I haven't even won a small stage-race yet. I have to improve gradually". The guy's modest, which is a good thing I reckon, but I assure you he's got his eyes on the big prize. He'll go for it, make no mistake about it. One guy who's not going for it, though, is Beñat Intxausti. Another dismal showing from him, finishing a whopping 14:36 adrift. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. Despite him talking of the opposite, his form has been all but stellar in the weeks leading up to the race. He's been off the pace in most races for quite a while now. He's still going on about "the form is good" and "I'm where I should be", but it sure doesn't look like it. Some may say he's just taking it easy so that he's fresh and at his best when the going get's real tough later on, when Igor needs him the most, but Igor no doubt needed him today, just like yesterday, and he was nowhere to be seen. Believe me, he's not just hanging out at the back, shootin' the breeze. He's struggling, but I think his form will come around eventually. As for the other guys, Gorka Verdugo had a fairly good ride today, coming in with the second big group at 1:52 in 36th place. Amets, still looking for that good feeling, came in 3:12 down just behind José Ángel Gómez Marchante, who's career has been blighted by injury and illness since that commanding overall win in País Vasco a few years back. Marchante is a natural, so it's a shame to see his career never really took off like it ought to. Anyway, Egoi Martínez and JJ Oroz came in with a small group containing compatriot Gárate at 8:26, Pablo Urtasun came in 18 seconds further back, Beñat another six minutes down, and finally Koldo Fernández in the autobus 19:46 in arrears. Due to his win today and third yesterday, Igor leads the points classification and will get to wear the green jersey of that particular competition in tomorrow's stage to Lorca. On GC he's just 10 seconds down on the impressive Gilbert, while Mikel is gradually grinding his way up the GC ladder and is now 21st, just ahead of a certain King Carlos.


arnout said...

Amets coming into form slowly after that Tour crash. Good to see, he'll be needed.

Intxausti, I don't know. Seen this from him before last Vuelta. Underperforming till he signed the contract, then all of a sudden he could nearly keep up with the very best.

Seems that when his mind is somewhere else his performances drop quite spectacularly. And despite his talk about the great Igor Anton his mind seems to be somewhere else.

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