Sunday, January 01, 2012

Ormaiztegi reactions

Yesterday's race in Ormaiztegi was important in itself - but perhaps even more important as a final test-run ahead of next week's national championships. Aitor Hernández showed his prowess in the absence of runaway favourite Egoitz Murgoitio, but several candidates, Aketza Peña and Iñaki Lejarreta among them, displayed improving form. Here's what the main players had to say post-race:

Aitor Hernández (winner): It was a good test facing the nationals next weekend. I showed I'm in good shape and that I'm consistent. In a race featuring big-name riders like Larriñaga, Peña and Suárez, I was able to come out tops. I hope to finish on the podium next weekend in Gandía, and I also hope to continue improving ahead of the Worlds".

Aketza Peña (runner-up): It was a very tough race in which fewer and fewer riders were left in the front group. I felt very good, and I feel like I'm improving race by race on muddy courses like this. I also feel my form is improving week by week. Now I'll concentrate on the national champs. It'll be the most open champs in years, as the fast course will present a big number of riders with options. Murgoitio is the favourite, but a lot of other riders can compete on a course like that as well. I hope to do a good race and land a good result".

Javier Ruiz de Larriñaga (fourth): I started out well and stayed with the favourites in the first few laps, but then Aitor (Hernández) turned the screw midway through, I ceded a few metres, and then I just sank. I don't know if it's because of Aitor and Aketza's (Peña) strong riding, or just myself, but after a few good races I'm struggling to figure out where I'm at form-wise. It's not optimal facing the defence of my title next week, but I'm hoping to turn it around and focus solely on that race next week. Obviously it hasn't been a great year. I haven't been able to reproduce the kind of form I've enjoyed the last three years, when everything worked out well, but in the difficult moments it's important to keep on going and don't give up. It's in times like these you remember what it took to reach the top. The champs will be unpredictable, anything can happen, and the result will depend on a lot of circumstances, not just my own riding. Whatever happens though, it won't change my situation that much".

Kevin Suárez (winner, junior): "I'm one of the favourites for gold in Gandía, and I won't hide that I'm aiming for the max, but in one-day races like this everything can happen. I'll have to be attentive to everything".

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