… and the fifth victory came after five attempts. Following four close calls -two runner-up and two third places-, José Joaquín Rojas broke his losing streak in the centenary Volta a Catalunya at last, outsprinting the rest of the field in the sixth stage to reward Movistar Team with their fifth success of the season, a milestone hiding to Unzué’s squad since Fran Ventoso took a victory in the Vuelta a Andalucía in Jaén, back in mid February.
Rojas claimed this way his second triumph of the season -he had won the Trofeo Deià in February- and completed a splendid start of the 2011 season, with nine podium and 25 placements within the best fifteen on competition. “It was high time for me to win, because what was happening to me wasn’t normal,” expressed a relieved Rojas after the finish. “Every single day, I was making some mistake that was avoiding me winning, but I never had doubts into myself because I knew I was the fastest. More than myself, I wanted to win for my teammates, who have worked their hearts out for me all over the week. If I was feeling depressed in some way these days, they were the ones who gave me moral, and this victory is for them. They were phenomenal today once again; first Soler, Iriarte and Fran Pérez, then Pasamontes and Erviti in the finale. I told ‘Pasa’ to come into the last corner in first place, but Dumoulin got into the two of us. Into the straight, when I came into my sprinting distance, I didn’t think of it for a second and it all turned out good. It’s the reward for being always there, because if you take chances, you get the prize. It’s not going to be a victory that changes my mentality, because I’ve been showing from January I’ve been up-front in every single race. Winning usually depends on little details. I’ve been keeping this form for two months and I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m not getting tired yet and I’m motivated because of how things are going. Tomorow? It will be what it has to be: if there’s an opportunity, we’ll try, but not with the pressure of these previous days. Now it’s time to enjoy this success.”
Kiryienka, David López climb to 2nd & 4th in France
The excellent ride by Movistar Team was near to be crowned with another victory in the opening, Queen stage of the Critérium International, held today on French soil with the mountain-top finish in the Col de l’Ospedale after six other categorized climbs. Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka was only beaten by Fränk Schleck (LEO) in the 14km climb after a great performance from the leaders of Movistar Team, who took four of their units -‘Kiry’, Arroyo, David López and Pardilla- into the 25-rider group that contested the victory. Kiryienka went ahead with 5km from the finish along with Schleck -who rushed for the win with 2k to go- and Taaramäe (COF), David López some meters behind him, and will try tomorrow to exploit his timetrialling abilities to fight for the overall triumph -a short 75km road race will be held in the morning- in the 7.8km individual effort that will decide the definitive winner of the French three-day event. Movistar Team is leading the teams’ overall classification after their outstanding ride.