Vuelta a Andalucía (st. 2)
Andalusian from Movistar Team repeats action and result from Australia's dominant performance to claim stage two in Ruta del Sol, take Blues' sixth success of the 2015 season
As he simulated a phone call with his right hand, a tribute to his sponsor and a shot towards glory at the same time, Juanjo Lobato (Movistar Team) screamed again on Thursday for a place within the biggest names of the pro scene. The Trebujena-based rider took a very convincing win at the slightly uphill final straight in Lucena, end of the 197km stage two in the Vuelta a Andalucía, after getting over the Cat-3 Alto de la Primera Cruz -just 9km from the finish- together with a notable Movistar Team.
The telephone squad made a strong gamble for the victory from far away from the finish, joining Tinkoff and Giant-Alpecin at the front with Eros Capecchi to keep the original, five-man breakaway on a leash. As the escape was caught into the intermediate passage through the finish, the fight for position was on, with the Blues taking care of both Lobato and Intxausti, their best placed man in the GC. The vigilance by José Herrada and Javi Moreno calmed down all major, late attacks, including a dangerous move by Quintero (COL), and left room for a sprint where Juanjo controlled perfectly his winning distance to beat German John Degenkolb (TGA) and Slovenian Grega Bole (CCC).
It's Lobato's tenth win as pro cyclist -his second in 2015 and the Blues's sixth, second on a row following yesterday's success by Moreno– as the 'gaditano' still has a chance left in this race in Alhaurín's finish on Sunday. Before that comes, the Movistar Team will focus on Intxausti's chances, the Basque now in 2nd overall -just 1" behind Alberto Contador (TCS)- and set to prove what form he's on in this early season during the Haza Llana climb on Friday.
REACTION / Juanjo Lobato: “I had this finish written in red and, fortunately, I was able to take that grudge off after yesterday's crash, though I always kept clear in mind that as well today's finish as Sunday's were better for me, since not every leadout man would be showing up in the finale. The team was incredible today, already since the beginning of the stage when Capecchi started pushing, not to talk about the positioning work and the control by Herrada. I wasn't feeling all the good I'd have wished into the climb, but thanks to them I could get over it and hit the front at the final kilometer, where Gorka Izagirre's help was crucial.
"It was a finishing straight longer than it was in Australia and I might have launched my sprint a bit too early, but luckily, legs responded well when I needed them too and had room enough to sit back and celebrate. I hope to keep building on this form, bit by bit, in this month before Sanremo and the classics, but for the time being, I just want to enjoy this win. Now I'll put myself at the team's service for the mountain stages: should they need it, I won't hesitate to offer them what I can. We've got a strong team but made of climbers, and still, they rode perfectly for me today and I'm really thankful. Let's hope Beñat can fight for the overall – he's feeling really well at the moment."