Tour de France
Movistar Team to squeeze the two long-awaited Pirenaic stages to claim a stage win in an unfortunate Tour that left the Blues down to six after the first week
Movistar Team enjoys at Pau their second rest day in the 2012 Tour de France, with their sights set on the two Pirenaic stages on Wednesday -almost 200k featuring the climbs of Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde- and Thursday atop Peyragudes (Cat. 1), after climbing past Menté (Cat. 1), Ares (Cat. 2), Burs (Cat. 3) and the Port de Balès (Especial). The telephone squad will try and profit from their last energies left to chase for an awaited stage victory in a turbulent Tour de France, marked by crashes and misfortune into a first week that left the team with only six riders –after crashes by Rojas, Gutiérrez and Erviti- and several bruised riders, most notably Rubén Plaza. Alejandro Valverde, Juanjo Cobo and Rui Costa commented earlier today on their hopes for the two days coming up.
Alejandro Valverde: “We have two hard stages ahead that should be the ones suiting us the best. Seeing how our rivals are performing on this year’s Tour it’ll be difficult, but we’ll try with all our willingness so everything can get the way we want it to go at last. Wednesday’s stage is a bit longer, with really hard climbs, while Thursday’s will be shorter, really fast from the start and hard to get into the break. We’ll try and make the front in the few stages left, so one of us can get into the break, such a difficult thing in this Tour, and snatching that victory that’s being neglected to us. It’s being a hard Tour for me and also for the team, due to crashes and abandons that leave you physically abated and a bit down mentally, too. That’s how I felt in the Alps: in low moral. But now, in these two days, I felt a bit better, so I hope to regain strength and confidence and get luckier in the Pyrénées. Shouldn’t it be myself, let other team-mates notch up a victory. Having my family close, getting through those mythical climbs and the Spanish fans supporting you so hard, makes you get better and put a bigger effort. It makes me really proud seeing so many people supporting me – I can only say to them I will do everything I can do to seek for triumph.”
Juanjo Cobo: “For the team, these two stages coming up are crucial to try and get what we couldn’t until the point for this or that reason: crashes, bad luck, unability to get into the break… Personally I feel in good condition and these two days are good for me to get to the front and, why not, fighting for that stage win we must aspire to. I think that Wednesday’s stage, not being a summit finish, will be the easiest one so a break is let go, which is how I think we should make the strategy: getting attentive right from the start. A face-to-face against the Sky’s, Evans, Nibali or Van Den Broeck, the strongest riders in this year’s Tour, would be more complicated. Both are hard stages, but Thursday’s is a summit finish and should be under bigger control by the GC squads. I know well Thursday’s finale, because we also climbed the Port de Balès and the Peyresourde in 2007, and I finished in 4th place there. It was a Tour full of good sensations and memories for me, and despite not being able to snatch the victory there, I have a great reference and it’d be great to get what I couldn’t back in the past. Any of those two would be important for the team and also beautiful, so close to home and Spanish fans.”
Rui Costa: “The last two mountain stages in the Pyrénées will be our last two chances, and we have to profit from them as much as we can. In these last two stages, everything looked as if the breakaway could stay away until the end. I missed yesterday’s stage by not so much – I tried, but luck wasn’t at my side. Still we mustn’t leave the battle, we have to stay strong and fight during the two days coming up to make the break. These are two hard stages, maybe the first one is harder due to the tiredness and the pace change it will mean, but the second one will get harder and we have not to spend all energy left tomorrow to get through Thursday’s in the best way possible. Regarding myself, my overview is positive: I had crashes, but none of them were important, and already with that I can say my Tour was good. Getting within the best 20 overall wasn’t something I was hoping for at the start, but rather fighting for a stage win. Victories didn’t come along, but we must keep trying in the two days ahead. Above all, I’m also happy because i only went through one bad day so far in such a long race. That keeps me motivated and confident to keep working on such a great Tour and a good progression as a pro rider.”