Dauphiné withdrawal for Cobo raises questions about Tour selection chances
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Dauphiné withdrawal for Cobo raises questions about Tour selection chances

by VeloNation Press at 9:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
Difficult season thus far for 2011 Vuelta a España winner

Juan Jose CoboHaving already had a very quiet season until this point, Juan Jose Cobo’s push for a place on the Movistar team for the Tour de France had a major setback today when the 2011 Vuelta a España winner dropped out of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The 31 year old was already showing signs of faltering, having yielded almost five minutes to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in Thursday’s time trial. He had defeated Wiggins in the Vuelta last September, grabbing the leader’s red jersey on the Angliru climb.

Friday’s first big mountain stage worked out very differently, with Cobo completely cracking. “I don't really know what happened, but I was completely empty," he said very soon after quitting the race, two days from the end. "I had trained hard in Sierra Nevada for the last weeks and my sensations were good. However, I felt really bad yesterday at the time trial, and I saw myself not doing well either right from the start today.

“My feelings were of total emptiness, not having any strength at all, and you can't do anything about that.”

Cobo has a history of blowing hot and cold, but after signing a contract with the Movistar team after Geox TMC collapsed, he started this season as a co-leader alongside Alejandro Valverde.

However he has been practically anonymous in the peloton. His best showing was 26th in the prologue of the Vuelta a Madrid, while his only other top-50 placing has been 43rd on a stage of the Tour de Romandie. He finished 60th overall there, ten and a half minutes behind Wiggins.

Despite that, Movistar included Cobo in its ten-man pre-selection for the Tour de France, of which nine will take part.

The others are Valverde, 2011 stage winner Rui Costa, José Joaquín Rojas, David Arroyo, Rubén Plaza, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Vladimir Karpets and Vasil Kiryienka.

The group spent two weeks training in the Sierra Nevada mountains close to Granada, doing a lot of preparation work prior to the Tour.

It remains to be seen if Movistar considered a good performance in the Dauphiné as being crucial to his Tour selection, or if it is willing to take a gamble and to select him anyway despite his retirement from the race.

He indicated that he’s still thinking of the French race by promising to work hard. “I came here in good motivation and will try to stay positive, because I did a good work in the previous weeks and performed well in the beginning of the race,” he said. “What happened later is not normal. Now it's time to recover and keep training hard to improve."

Movistar’s final selection will either be made after the Tour de Suisse, or after the Spanish championships. If it’s the latter, Cobo has another opportunity to show he’s in the necessary shape for the Tour.


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