Defending champion Cobo concedes Vuelta chances are over
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Defending champion Cobo concedes Vuelta chances are over

by VeloNation Press at 6:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Valverde riding strongly but cautious about his chances

Juan Jose CoboHe started the Vuelta as both last year’s winner and also the Movistar team’s stated leader, but yesterday saw Juan Jose Cobo crack and lose over five minutes. He fell from ninth place, one minute 34 seconds back, to 27th overall, seven minutes down.

The Spaniard concedes that his chances are over. “It's sad that my bad day in this Vuelta came during an important stage, but you can't get your head spinning about it. I had had really good sensations during the start of the race: ending up all days with normal fatigue, good recovery, good sleep, taking care of my diet, but things came around this way,” he said.

“My feeling today wasn't good from the start, with mild stomach pain from the start due to heat and the strong pace from the beginning. With such big time lost, I'll be leaving out my GC chances and help Alejandro as much as possible.”

His team-mate Alejandro Valverde won yesterday’s stage and currently sits fourth overall, 50 seconds back. He would be much closer to the red jersey had he not lost time in a crash, but still has the possibility of winning overall.

“I had very good sensations and that's why I launched the first attack…also with the intention of dropping GC rivals coming behind. From that moment on, there weren't any big gaps because all of us were suffering, until Contador attacked.”

The latter looked set for the stage win, holding several seconds’ lead with 300 metres to go, but ran out of steam and was passed by Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez inside the final 50 metres.

“I knew Purito [Rodriguez] knew the climb really well and we had clear in mind that we couldn't climb so fast for long, so I stuck to his wheel when he jumped and went past him when I saw him sitting on the saddle,” Valverde said. “I knew I had to come through the last corner first and I could keep it until the line.”

He is clearly one of the strongest riders at this point in time, but is cautious about his chances for the overall. He said that he believes there is a chance he could weaken later in the race.

“I was the one from the riders out front that has had more racing days, made more efforts and stayed for two years without competition. Now I'm at a fitness level I couldn't have ever imagined and can only be thankful towards the team, [which is] always supporting me one hundred percent, and everyone supporting me for things to stay like this.”

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