Igor Anton set to miss Tour de France, may focus everything on Vuelta a España
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Igor Anton set to miss Tour de France, may focus everything on Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 8:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Euskaltel-Euskadi rider determined to make amends after disappointing 2011 race

Igor AntonHaving ridden very strongly in 2010 until he crashed out and then had a difficult race this season, Igor Anton wants to once again focus on the Vuelta a España next season. The Basque climber has indicated that he is likely to miss the Tour de France, and could also leave the Giro d’Italia to one side in order to ensure that he is in the best shape possible for the Spanish event.

“There are two options: do the Giro and Vuelta like this year, or only do the Vuelta,” he said in an interview with Meta2Mil. “If I do only the Vuelta, there will be many other objectives which suit me well and in which I will do as well as possible, from the [Ardennes] Classics to the Tour of Romandie.”

He’s clear that July will not be a prime target. In general he thinks the Giro and Vuelta suit his characteristics better and that a stage win would probably be the highest goal he would have in the Tour. In 2012, though, he believes there’s little reason for him to compete in France.

“I don’t like the route of the Tour. I think the near-100 kilometres of time trial greatly suit the work of the time trial specialists, so I don’t think it is a course that suits me very well,” he explained. “Now we have to sit and analyse what I will do. It is also clear that we will wait to see the route of the Vuelta a España. That will be very important in taking the final decision.

Anton was one of the top riders in the 2010 Vuelta, winning two stages and leading the race until he crashed heavily on the 14th stage between Burgos and Peña Cabarga and fracturing his elbow. He was forced to withdraw, and was deeply disappointed as a result.

Everything was to be based around winning this year’s race, and things initially looked good early on in the season. He was third overall in the Vuelta a Castilla y León, fifth at Flèche Wallonne and took the Monte Zoncolan stage of the Giro d’Italia. He didn’t figure in the GC there, though, finishing up eighteenth, and it appeared that the race had taken a lot out of him when he turned up at the Vuelta far off his usual form.

He cracked in the mountains and slumped down the general classification, although he rallied to take the nineteenth stage to Bilbao. He finished up 33rd overall, far off his target. Anton knows next year needs to be better, and so he’s considering missing the Giro and banking everything on being strong in the Spanish race.

“I prefer to do only the Vuelta. It is the race which gave me the most and before facing other challenges I would like to prepare perfectly and go for the general. It could be seen in 2010 that people like myself and Mosquera went very well because it was our first Grand Tour of the year. And in 2011 the same has been seen with Cobo, Wiggins and Froome.”

“I know it's a gamble to put everything in the Vuelta, but it is a gamble that I must take in order to hope for the final victory. There will be time for another other challenges. But in 2012 it is that which most excites me.”

An additional motivation is the uncertain future his team faces after the end of next season. He’s clear that he wants to stay there if possible, but he also knows that if the team stops, his contract chances would be greatly boosted if he was to ace the Vuelta.

 

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