Movistar Team’s GC leader and general manager analyse team’s exploits in historical Giro d’Italia for the telephone squad, with four stage victories and constant protagonism into the race
Beñat Intxausti: “We exceeded all expectations that we came with to the start, as well from the individual point of view as from the collective one. I had already stated before the race that my goal was notching up a stage victory. I don’t know why, but I always gave it more consideration than a GC finish. Last year I took a second place, I also came close to a win in the Vuelta… I was really committed to winning a stage. I knew it would give me confidence, and I managed to make it. You always want to climb higher in the overall, but I’m satisfied with this eighth place, because the riders’ field was really strong this year, and all riders within the best ten were really close. After three weeks of racing, everyone gets the place he deserves. With all sacrifices from my team-mates, the only thing I could do was giving my best and honour them with a high placing. I’m disappointed with my time trials and I’ll work to improve them. I was a bit anxious into the first one and couldn’t distribute my energy well over the course, plus the sensations were not good in the seconds, though I did not lose so much time. But now it’s time to enjoy my result – we’re all super happy with it!
“I want to thank all my team-mates and staff members, because they took their heart out for me since the very first day. They always took me into good position, I never missed any food or drink, all clothes I needed – this was especially important with the bad weather we had all race… It’s obvious that my ‘maglia rosa’ was theirs, because we did a great team time trial and that got me into good position, but also my GC placing was 100% thanks to them, because I couldn’t have done anything withouth their help. Same goes for the carers, always present where they had to, giving us bottles with water, hot tea… I have a special feeling with this race. I always said I liked it: the route, the atmosphere… all of it. We still have to look at the rest of my race schedule, but now it’s time to rest and, after that, maybe getting ready for the Vuelta.”
Eusebio Unzué: “We have achieved magnificent results here. We were never able to take four stage victories in the Giro or the Tour in our 34 years of history, so this performance is extraordinary. And even though all stages are always important, these four were spectacular. Alex’s, though it might be a bit unexpected for the public, was a confirmation of his timetrialling abilities with just 24 years old. Beating Wiggins, the best specialist in the world, makes it even more valuable. At the Galibier, Visconti defended his gap incredibly well, and the extreme conditions during the climb and the unequalled scenery made it even more epic. The day after, that brilliant victory from Beñat was a result of the perfect timing and strategy in the final 800 meters, and also the reward for a lad that had been trying so hard to win a stage that was neglecting to him. And finally Vicenza – we witnessed a ‘numero’ from Giovanni, as Italian people say. It was amazing seeing him climb like that and keeping the gap to the finish in that way. It’s really hard to imagine a scenario where you get three consecutive stages in such important days.
“But apart from those victories, I’m really happy with the attitude. The victories were a consequence of keeping attention at all times, making it into all breaks, and that makes me feel proud. We came here with the aim of entering the overall top-ten, and though we’d have liked to get higher and I thought Beñat was ready to reach the top give, I’m happy with the result. He was regular, though unfortunately, the two ITT’s left him without that chance while he was ready to do better. Also the evolution from our two young DS’s, ‘Chente’ and Arrieta, is remarkable. Their strategies and experience in the most critical moments were a key to those victories. The future is safe also into the team cars and that makes us calm. We’re still the only team in the world to have won stages in all three Grand Tours for the last three years, and the most important thing from now, even knowing that it will be difficult, is keeping the streak alive. This record is a consequence of the team’s highest sporting standards, and also the priority we’ve always been commited to: three-week stageraces.”