Vuelta a España
Movistar Team tackles final part of already excellent Vuelta with the goals of jumping into the final podium and completing a great performance after three stage wins.
Satisfied with the achievements to date -victories in the team time trial and at the summit finishes of Arrate and La Gallina- and excited about what’s to come –final individual and teams’ podiums-, Movistar Team enjoy the second rest day in the 2012 Vuelta a España in Cantabria. Ahead of them, only five days: the finish at Cat. 2 climb Fuente Dé, on Wednesday; the flat stages to Valladolid and La Lastrilla, and the long-awaited finish in Bola Del Mundo on Saturday before the traditional triumphant march in Madrid on Sunday. Five stages where the telephone squad will try to keep the third place overall by Alejandro Valverde and their leadership in the teams’ overall, two milestones that would crown a sensational Vuelta, with three stage wins. The Spanish rider, two minutes behind the leaders and 2’48’’ over Froome (SKY) in the fight for the 3rd place, reflected on the past, present and future in his 2012 Vuelta:
“It’s true that this Vuelta is being great for us. I didn’t have it on the calendar, but was feeling strong in this second half of the season after the Tour, and this race made no other but confirm it. I didn’t have any bad days and I’m happy with that. It was a mystery how I would react to three weeks of extra effort, but we’re now on the third and after getting over the hardest days. That’s why I’m a bit surprised about how I’m feeling, because I enjoyed the riding. Now the race is over Purito and Alberto to fight for the red jersey, and my fight was against Froome, to claim that podium finish. I follow my own pace and don’t play their games to lose as little time as possible at every finish. I remember the minute I lost at the crash, but the thing is that I’d be still in third place, though closer to the first two. Still, we’re having a great Vuelta and won’t be thinking about that all the time.
“There were plenty of mountains to open gaps, but our forces were really equal. There’s still a long way to go in this Vuelta. The vital stage should be the Bola del Mundo’s, but tomorrow’s route is also hard, the Valladolid stage will be dangerous because of the wind… You can’t relax for a single day. Until we get to Madrid, Froome will still be a threat for the podium. It’s true that he’s behind, almost three minutes, but we’ve got to keep paying attention and not losing focus. The race has been spectacular up to the moment. Very big crowds have come to watch us and the Vuelta is engaging all the fans with those summit finishes and I personally like. Suffering is made by big paces. We’re passing through extremely hard climbs, but the only thing that changes is the gear combination. The effort is the same.”
“I don’t regret neither about my season schedule nor having paid more attention to the Vuelta before. I was coming to this season after a long stop and wanted to start it strong. I went through a bad streak in the sprint; however, at the Tour, and except for the crashes, I was well with that stage victory, and things are going perfectly here. Despite this long season, I well well because, in a psychological sense, I feel like there’s just a bit to end the year. The Vuelta gives you great fitness for the Worlds and you must not train too much, because you might end up burnt. My feelings are good at the moment, there’s time to recover and I will try to get as fit as possible to the Worlds. The route suits me well and I’m excited about it.”