Saturday, September 10, 2011

Antón relieved at Bilbao-win

Igor Antón was visibly moved and delighted at taking Euskaltel's first stage in this year's Vuelta - and thus secured the team wins in every GT this season - in his own backyard. "I can't really comprehend what I've just done", he said to raucous applause post-stage. "To win here, in front my of fellow Basques and friends, is quite extraordinary. I've failed in the fight for the overall but this win makes up for it. You always hold your very first win dear - and wins like that on the Zoncolan of course - but this one is easily my best. It's a special win in special surroundings. To win here in Bilbao is very much a dream come true. I dedicate it to all the fans, especially those who turned out en masse on the Vivero. I wanted to try for the win for all my friends who packed that climb. It was fantastic to have so many fans cheering you on so close up."

He admitted though that he was nervous upon taking the start of the stage as much was expected of him and his team-mates in the first stage in the Basque Country since 1978. "I was nervous this morning as I knew it was a special day. It was imperative to get into the break, but that's never an easy thing to accomplish. Eventually I got into it and it felt right. Verdugo did a great job in helping me out and the break stuck."

Before going onto the podium, he shed some light on why his form has been everything but great in this year's race. "I didn't really recover well from the Giro d'Italia. I started training intensively and then I got gastroenteritis. I didn't feel good on the bike. I improved in Burgos, but it was like I was riding with the brakes on. I guess cycling isn't an exact science. I did the same races and the same training as last year but it just hasn't worked out."

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