Movistar Team’s surviving quarter complete last mid-mountain stage in the Basque Country, embark on a long transfer this evening to the center of the Iberian Península to enjoy Madrid’s triumphant march on Sunday
After all troubles suffered in a terrible last week in the Vuelta a España, Movistar Team are now under hundred kilometers from completing their first ever appearance in the Vuelta a España, after shining again in the 185k route of the twentieth and penultimate stage, the closing act of the Spanish grandtour’s return to Euskadi from Bilbao to Vitoria, where Italy’s Daniele Bennati (LEO) grabbed the day’s honours. Spaniard Pablo Lastras, author of the biggest achievement from the telephone squad in Totana, closed the quota of protagonism on course from the Blue team as member of the monster 27-rider break that opened gap at km 27 and, after having no more than four minutes on a bunch controlled by the main GC squads, was caught into the first slopes of Urkiola (Cat. 1), with Barredo (RAB) and Sastre (GEO) as the latest survivors before the field gallop to the line. The race is now moving into a mega-transfer of almost 350k taking them to the outskirts of Madrid, whose Jarama speed circuit will make the depart for the last 95k of the race to a city course in Madrid, where the very last finish line for leader and virtual winner Juanjo Cobo (GEO) will be located.
Imanol Erviti: “After such a hard Vuelta for me it’s great to have good feeling, even though this is the last day. I’m really furious about it, because I did a very good preparation and I thought I was coming into it in good condition. During the first week, the day when Pablo won, the stage in Talavera when I entered the final sprint… I was feeling OK. But with such a hard crash there, it’s difficult to turn things the other way round, and when I was getting over it and my body was responding, the virus came to me. It was the straw that broke that camel’s back and my only fight from that moment was again making it to every finish. I was never seeing myself out of the race because I’m really obstinate, but the day when I was seeing all my teammates steeping off the race, I was suffering so hard. More than the Worlds, my best motivation not to go home was that I never liked giving up at a race and always resist to do so. Even though we’re finishing the Vuelta, I’m starting to see green light and that’s a good sign. This gives me moral for Copenhagen, but that’s a choice of the coach. I have no doubt that if I make it to the Worlds, I’ll came strong there. With two weeks of training, the pace of the Vuelta and my body responding well despite those hard work charges, I know I’ll be OK. If they want a guy willing to work and give his best, I’m their man. If I go, I’ll be delighted; if I don’t, they don’t have to explain anything and I’ll understand.”