Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Antón cedes leader's jersey

Igor Antón lost his red leader's jersey to Joaquin Rodríguez on today's tenth stage of the Vuelta between Tarragona and Vilanova i la Geltrú. Purito snatched third on the first intermediate sprint, meaning a two-second deduction to his overall time. No big deal I reckon. Okay, losing a leader's jersey in a GT is always a shame, if more for the prestige than anything else. But it might be a blessing in disguise, as now Euskaltel won't have to assume responsibility of the peloton anymore and focus their energy on helping Igor when it really matters. Riding on the front all day really saps the strength out of you. And with key lieutenant Gorka Verdugo hampered by injuries sustained in a crash, right-hand man and road captain Egoi Martínez being out of form, and enigmatic climbing ace Beñat Intxausti depleted and suffering from the Ibán Mayo-syndrome (read: inexplicable dip in form and confidence), I think the team will do just fine without the added stress of a leader's jersey in the team. It will do them the world of good. The man himself was not too down-beat about relinquishing the maillot rojo, saying: "We've had the jersey for three days and it means nothing to lose it, it's not traumatic. We lost it to a time-bonus, the difference is minimal (2 seconds), and I'm in the best possible position." As for tomorrow's stage to the top of the hors category Pal in Andorra, Igor didn't sound too enthusiastic, saying: "I know the Pal ascent. It's a very long climb, but I don't think the differences will be big. If I have a chance of attacking I won't let it pass me by, but it's not a climb ideally suited to me." There's that "it's not a climb suited to me" thing again, his favourite quote for sure. He keeps on saying that, time after time, race after race. Exactly what climb is suited to him? He's just playing mind games, hoping to lower expectations. Trust me, with the form he's in at the moment, most climbs suit him. He'll dance, Ibán-style, all the way to the top tomorrow. I'm not saying he'll win, but he'll be there or thereabouts. But, anyway, back to today's stage and the results. JJ Oroz, ever-improving Txurruka, Nieve and Martínez all stayed close to Igor and finished in the main group. The rest of the guys, namely Urtasun, Koldo, Verdugo and Intxausti, all finished in a big group 16:38 down.

1 comment:

Bolsen3 said...

Generally I'd say that steep climbs suit Igor best, so I can agree with him that tomorrows mountain is not perfect for him. But time differences will probably not be huge on that climb anyway...


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