Tour Down Under (st. 6)
Javi Moreno finishes his great week in Australia over the final GC podium, leaving Down Under as 2nd in the World Tour standings as Movistar Team jumps into 3rd
Another victory for German sprinter André Greipel (LTB) in the intrascendental 90km final criterium on the streets of Adelaida sealed the 15th edition of the Tour Down Under, the opening race of the 2013 World Tour schedule, where Movistar Team played a fundamental role once again. Only Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter (BLA) could beat Javi Moreno in the general classification: after his eighth place last season, following a great piece of teamwork in help for Alejandro Valverde, he crowned his best week to date in a top-tier race. Second-placed at the first mountain stage, the Spaniard played all or nothing in Saturday’s ascent towards Old Willunga Hill and came close to the biggest victory of his career. His performance and sacrifice spirit had a coveted reward as he jumped into the overall podium and took the KOM jersey, as well as making it into the second place of the first World Tour classification of the year, with Movistar Team in third after their great global efforts in Australia.
“Making the podium in such a race, a World Tour one, is a huge leap of quality in my career,” says Moreno from Aussie soil. “As well in the sporting side, since we earn some good points for me and the team, as in the moral side, because this will make me more confident for the remainder of the year.” The Movistar Team rider reflects on his attack just before the last kilometer of the Queen stage, which made him dream of the GC victory: “To be honest, there was some point when I thought I’d be winning. I knew that was the time to make my move and insist, because there was nothing I could have done in the sprint. They caught me really close to the finish, but they were better at the end and there’s nothing to object. It’s clear that this climb suits me well due to its length.”
Leaving his excellent individual performance aside, Javi does not lose the chance to thank his team-mates for all the work done: “It wouldn’t have been possible without them. It’s something new to me, having such a great time at my side in a top-ranked race. They were always looking after me, so the wind did not affect me, keeping me protected… They were phenomenal and I don’t know how to thank them for that.” The Andalusian also reflects on his actual form status and his next goals: “I spent two months preparing myself for this after I got told in the first team meeting I had to be fir for this race, and I don’t know if I came 100%, but I reached a very good form level, partly because it was a good winter, neither injuries nor diseases affected me. Now I’ll stay for a few days at home before the Vuelta a Andalucía –Paris-Nice and Catalunya are set to be his next races ahead-, my homeland race, where I hope to get to the front thanks to the good form I’ll be carrying on from Australia.”
Movistar Team, which starts a long trip back home tomorrow in order to get into Spain on Tuesday evening, is already thinking of their debut on Sunday at the Trofeo Palma, the first of four competitions in the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca.