The “Vuelta de” Movistar Team

17 April 2011
Imagen de la noticia ‛The “Vuelta de” Movistar Team’

There weren’t any complications in the final day -solved into a bunch sprint where Fran Ventoso ended in 2nd- as Movistar Team could crown their spectacular performance in the 26th Vuelta a Castilla y León, where the telephone squad was the big dominator, with two stage wins by Ventoso and, above all, the overall victory by Xavi Tondo, who took the team’s ninth victory in a sensational opening season into the international bunch so far.

Tondo knew that, despite his advantage in the GC and the absence of mountain passes along the route, the stage wasn’t going to be a triumphant march. It wasn’t the first time that he lost a race while having it already into his pocket. But nothing bad happened to Tondo like in last January’s Tour de San Luis, where a crash and a blackout made him lose more than fifteen minutes in the penultimate stage, while wearing the leader jersey and having the GC almost won. Nor like in the 2009 Vuelta a Andalucía, where a slight cut in one of the sprint finishes made him lose three seconds that ended up deciding the overall, after being the strongest. His team did not leave place for surprises and protected him to perfection in order to snatch Movistar Team’s first ever triumph in a stagerace.

Xavi Tondo: “We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, and even though there wasn’t much wind, it was a fast stage, the breakaway did not get formed until the 80th kilometer and we were a bit nervous at some point. The group even got split into two, and when you see a victory is so close to you, it’s easy to get worried, but the team again got sensational to this point and we had no problems to keep the jersey. It’s not an important thing, but Movistar Team’s first victory was the one from mine in Argentina, and also the first overall victory now. It’s really emotive for me, because this kind of things take you into history.

“To tell the truth, I had a strong desire to win a stagerace again. Since I won the 2007 Volta a Portugal, I took no other victories and went too close so many times: 2nd in Asturias in 2008; 2nd in Andalusia and Burgos and 3rd in Madrid, in 2009; 2nd in Catalunya last season… I was really willing to do well in any of the three big races in the beginning of the year (Paris-Nice, Catalunya and País Vasco), and for some reason I couldn’t cope with it. I lost my top-ten place in Paris-Nice in the final day and went into 5th and 6th in the other two, but I was having a bitter taste and wanted to do something else. At the end, the victory came from where I didn’t expect it to happen, because theoretically, I had to be on holiday at this point, but I’ll be racing Flèche and Liège after this one.

“Riding for a squad like Movistar Team has meant a strong step forward into my career. Eusebio Unzué is teaching me a lot of things. I use to talk to him before the races, because he’s always warning me of troubles ahead and pulling in a bit of the gas on me, so as to assume my new role on such a team. I made some mistakes on course during the season and we get better step by step. Making part of a group with such big history is the best place to keep learning.”