Saturday, May 21, 2011

Zoncolan reactions and results

After becoming the first non-Italian to win on the climb in Italy, the legendary Monte Zoncolan, Igor Antón was naturally all smiles. Gracious as ever though, the new number three overall paid tribute to his team: "The work done by the team was exceptional", he said to the team's website, before continuing to lavish his team-mates with praise. "They've given their all from the first to the last kilometre, so this win is theirs. But I also want to dedicate it to my girlfriend Idoia." Despite bumping up to third overall thanks to his sensational solo win, the affable climber did not want to hear much talk of the GC, but for the first time didn't write off his chances completely either. "As I said yesterday I'm not thinking of the GC, I'm not crazy", he said modestly. "But a podium in Milano, why not? But I have to be realistic: I don't have a chance of winning this Giro against a Contador racing so smartly. But Nibali and Scarponi are both racing at home, and with it comes pressure. Just like I had in the Vuelta last year."

Speaking of the performance itself, Antón was keen to elaborate: "It was a big risk to attack like that. It's definitely the hardest climb I've come across in a bike race. At five to go I was struggling, but I managed to hang in there and overcome my troubles. I was racing against myself, not against my rivals. It was a tremendous effort as the climb was so brutal, but you can't beat the feeling of winning atop such a mythical mountain. I was afraid Contador or Rujano would appear though, but I my legs haven't felt better so far in this Giro than they did today. It was a painful win; I suffered for 40 minutes all alone. The last few metres seemed to last forever. But now I'm very, very happy. It's probably my biggest ever win and one I'll never forget."

As mentioned in the earlier post, Antón wasn't the only Euskaltel rider on a massive ride today. Super domestique Mikel Nieve placed a phenomenal seventh at just 1:52, and thus moved up to a lofty 17th overall. Azanza came in at 10:29 in a respectable 51st place, Isasi was 89th at 16:13, Aramendía 116th at 17:50, Oroz and Cazaux at 19:17 in 142nd and 144th, Sesma 162nd at 20:55, and finally Minguez in 171st at 21:49. Here's the GC heading into tomorrow's feared stage to Gardeccia:
  • 3, Antón, 3:21
  • 17, Nieve, 9:08
  • 58, Isasi, 58:13
  • 75, Azanza, 1:10:21
  • 120, Oroz, 1:42:15
  • 143, Aramendía, 1:56:37
  • 150, Cazaux, 2:03:23
  • 153, Sesma, 2:06:44
  • 170, Minguez, 2:22:55


racejunkie said...

Fantastic! And what a class act. A spectacular win for him and his superlative squad!

Magnus said...

A day to remember no doubt!


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