Saturday, November 19, 2011

Antón reflects on "season of contrast"













It was (as usual I'm tempted to say) a season of ups and downs for Igor Antón. Winning stages in two different Grand Tours in one season would represent the season of a lifetime for most professional cyclists - but then again the wiry climber from Galdakao isn't just any professional cyclist. Here's his take on 2011:
  • The season as a whole: It was a season of contrasts. I failed in terms of GC in the Vuelta, and the Giro was very hard. But then again I did win atop the Zoncolan. It was an unforgettable year.
  • Best win: From a sporting point of view it's got to be the Giro stage. But from another point of view, the win in Bilbao was special. It was unique: it was the first stage in the Basque Country for 33 years, and all my fans and family were present.
  • Grand Tours: I don't want to make excuses for myself, but something always seems to go wrong in three-week races. But at times I've been lucky as well; there are always positives. I suffered both physically and psychologically in the Giro and the Vuelta this year, but at the end I was rewarded.
  • 2012: It'll be pretty similar to this year. I'm not likely to do the Giro though, but I'll aim for the Vuelta. It'll be my seventh time at the race, so I feel ready to challenge.
  • Samuel Sánchez: We do loads of races together, but we need to split up the calendar to give the team presence throughout the season. He's always successful, and he did a fantastic Tour this year.
  • Off-season: My parents have a house in Castroviejo (Navarra). It's the perfect place to disconnect and take some time off. I love the place, but I haven't had the time to spend much time there lately. In terms of exercise, I'm doing a lot of hiking.
  • Tour de France: I want to do the Tour, of course. I have a lot of respect for that race, but I won't go back there until 2013 at the earliest. I'm not in a hurry. But I would like to win a stage there once just to be able to say I've won a stage in every Grand Tour.
  • The state of Spanish cycling: Earlier today I heard 50 riders are out of contract and without a team for next year. The future isn't looking rosy in Spain, but in England, the US and in China cycling is on the up.
Source: www.larioja.com

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