When the final triumph in the 2011 Tour de San Luis was on their hands, Xavi Tondo and Movistar Team suffering in their own skin the bitter moments cycling sometimes gives. After a stage of perfect teamwork from the Spanish group, the race leader saw his winning chances vanish after suffering an unexpected blackout in the descent of the last climb of the day, the Cerro El Amago, 15 kilometers from the finishing line.
Tondo was riding alongside teammate Mauricio Soler and his main rival, Marco Arriagada –the new race leader-, when he touched the Chilean’s rear wheel with his front one and fell onto the ground. “I wouldn’t say the crash made me lose the race,” Tondo recognized, “but it was the last straw that broke it. I don’t know if it was the heat or the effort of six consecutive days in the first competition of the season, the hardness of the stage… but it came the moment when I was out of fuel into the tank.” The Movistar Team lead had the race on his pocket before everything went down: “We had the situation under control after going over the top of the climb. Arriagada had attacked from the foot, but again Soler did a great ascent for me and both us and him were together. In the last part of the climb I already saw I was a bit overwhelmed, but I knew that the race’s profile was totally flat until the end. The problem was that the real course was full of ups and down. In a lapse of concentration, I touched the Chilean’s wheel and fell. I lost much time and in the following slope I felt completely empty. I couldn’t do anything else.”
The Catalan rider, disappointed after touching the race’s final triumph with his hands, still looked for a positive view: “You haven’t got to think further about it. That’s what cycling is about, we aren’t machines. My body went over the limit, full stop. These days make you value your good moments even better. It’s a pity, and I’m really disappointed specially for my teammates. I lost the race myself, not them, because they were amazing every day. But we have to be positive and think we aren’t leaving this race with no result. Now we only have to recover and prepare the upcoming races, because the season has just started. With this team and the fans behind us, I’m sure we will have much more success”.