Moreno rises to challenge of team leadership with second overall in Santos Tour Down Under
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Moreno rises to challenge of team leadership with second overall in Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 6:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Spaniard increasingly ambitious after coping well with pressure

Javier MorenoA year after helping Alejandro Valverde to second overall in the Santos Tour Down Under, Javi Moreno has emulated his team captain by doing precisely the same this time round. The Movistar rider took his best result to date in a stage race when he finished as runner-up in the Australian WorldTour event, ending the race seventeen seconds behind the overall victor Tom Jelte Slagter.

“Making the podium in such a race, a World Tour one, is a huge leap of quality in my career,” the Spaniard said afterwards, savouring the moment. “As well in the sporting side, since we earn some good points for me and the team, as in the moral side, because this will make me more confident for the remainder of the year.”

Moreno’s success was based primarily on two performances; his second place behind Geraint Thomas on stage two to Rostrevor, and third yesterday at the summit of Old Willunga Hill. Those performances brought him close to winning the race, and also secured him the mountains classification.

“To be honest, there was some point when I thought I'd be winning,” he said of the overall classification and his attack on yesterday’s stage in search of the ochre leader’s jersey. “I knew that was the time to make my move and persist, because there was nothing I could have done in the sprint. They caught me really close to the finish, but they were better at the end and there's nothing to object about. It's clear that this climb suits me well due to its length.”

Moreno has achieved some solid results in the past, including overall victory in the 2011 Vuelta a Asturias and last year’s Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, but he considers his runner-up slot in Australia as a superior performance due to the fact that it is a WorldTour race.

Part of his satisfaction is because he was named as designated team leader beforehand and was able to shoulder that responsibility well. “I spent two months preparing myself for this after I got told in the first team meeting I had to be fit for this race,” he said. “I don't know if I came at 100%, but I reached a very good level of form, partly because it was a good winter and neither injuries nor illnesses affected me.

“The result wouldn't have been possible without the team. It's something new to me, having such a great team at my side in a top-ranked race. They were always looking after me, so the wind did not affect me, keeping me protected... They were phenomenal and I don't know how to thank them for that.”

Sitting second overall in the UCI WorldTour is one way of doing so, and so too the fact that the team is third overall.

Next up for Moreno is the Vuelta a Andalucia, Paris-Nice and the Volta ao Catalunya. He hopes to continue with the same strong condition he showed in Australia, and is fired up to move to a new level this season. And being 28 years of age, he should be coming into his prime.

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