First day of relax in 2011 Vuelta preceeds second week of racing, with three mountain-top finishes starting tomorrow in Manzaneda. Unzué values race start positively
Movistar Team enjoy in Orense a well-deserved first rest day in the 2011 Vuelta a España. Two hours of soft, recovery riding, plus massage, osteopathy treatments and small postural adjustments for those involved in the crashes during the race complete the agenda for the eight riders from the telephone squad, always with a ninth in mind: Chente García Acosta, who is being operated today in the Clínica San Miguel in Pamplona after his fractures in his left ulna and radius and 12-dorsal rib after the serious chute forcing him to abandon on stage 5 of the Vuelta. With the victory by Pablo Lastras in Totana already into the pocket and Marzio Bruseghin and Sergio Pardilla into the overall top-15, the Blue squad’s general manager Eusebio Unzué makes an overview from the first ten days of racing and what’s ahead, with a second week presenting three mountain-top finishes, the earliest of them at Manzaneda on Wednesday.
Our round-up to the moment is satisfactory, even though the win by Lastras in Totana might seem a bit far now. Notching up a stage win was one of our objectives when we came here and we already accomplished it. But it’s still an open goal and we’ll keep fighting for a victory. The other idea was making it into the best ten overall, and so we are riding for with Pardilla and Bruseghin. Before arriving here, we were looking for a chance of making it into the podium, but to be honest, today it seems more reasonable to rank from 6th to 10th. Jumping higher than this might be too complicated. Apart from that, the negative note was Chente’s crash. We are suffering from that because his contribution into the race was important for us, and also out of racing because of everything he means. Fortunately, it seems like Pablo and Imanol are getting over his crash and we hope them to be 100% for the second part of the Vuelta.
One by one
Pardilla is confirming that his behaviour in the Giro did not adjust to his real possibilities. In this Vuelta, especially in the second half coming up and where the mountains suit him better, I hope him to get on front with his great climbing abilities as well as his constance to do well in a 3-week stagerace. I’m confident he can contest a stage win in a mountain-top finish. Bruseghin was coming here into doubts due to all physical troubles suffered during the season, but he’s now feeling better and better and I’m really confident he’s going to continue progressing and make it to the best 10 in Madrid. David López is obvious to be well far from what we’re used to get from him. We don’t know if it’s a result from the extreme heat during the first days across the East and Andalucía. We hope to get him recovered. From Intxausti, with everything happening to him this season, we only expect to complete a 3-week GT and him to enjoy on the bike, with no pressure. This season hasn’t been his and the next one will be better. I was expecting well more from Konovalovas in yesterday’s ITT, but it came like it was. He’s working for the squad and I hope him to build up into those duties for the remainder of the Vuelta. The crash by Erviti in Talavera did not allow him showing up at the level I think he is, but he’s going to finish off the Vuelta in good fitness. He’s now slowly becoming the heir of the road-leading responsibilities which Chente or Pablo took over up to date. I’m very satisfied with Madrazo, because he’s responding well to the load of hardness from a long race, recovering perfectly. In his first GT, the lad is now leaving impressions of his quality, and I hope to see him fighting for a victory on the way to Madrid. And Lastras. He’s on his level of all season. His victory gave us tranquility for the rest of the Vuelta, and his irreproachable behaviour usually serves as a motivating factor for the team. An advisor for the youngsters, if he recovers completely from the crash, I hope him to have another shot in this race.
With the arrivals to Manzaneda, Farrapona and L’Angliru, the Vuelta should get really defined by Sunday, but we must pay attention to the last week in Northern lands. The four stages at Cantabria and the Basque country have a difficulty level that might make troubles appear for some favourites. Those are very nervous, hard stages. Let’s hope that weather respects the race those days and that rain doesn’t become decisive in such complicated routes. As far as we’ve seen up to the moment, the race showed that there’s a group of seven or eight riders with a close level, especially in the mountains. The biggest gaps were opened in the ITT. Some of the favourites are strong in the mountains and are coming into their terrain, but it has got difficult for them to contest the overall. Not being the best neither in the mountains nor in the ITT, but really regular, experienced and already winner of the Vuelta, the biggest favourite is Nibali. Apart from that, there are some riders that are not used to be there, call it Froome, Cobo or Kessiakoff, which are a question mark themselves, but already candidates for the podium and the Vuelta win.