Euskaltel's Antón wins Queen stage in Castilla y León
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Euskaltel's Antón wins Queen stage in Castilla y León

by Bjorn Haake at 11:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Castilla y León

Igor Antón used a well-timed attack less than two kilometers from the line to win the Queen stage in the Vuelta a Castilla y León. On the Alto del Morredero, Antón withstood the challenges by Mauricio Soler, Alberto Contador and Ezequiel Mosquera. After the 158.8-kilometer stage, Antón had also taken the overall lead, ahead of Contador and Mosquera.

Antón answered an attack by Mosquera, then sped away from his compatriot. Contador, who had great help earlier in the stage from his Astana team, was able to follow Mosquera and Soler, but was unable to close the 13 seconds to Antón.

This was another good performance by an Euskaltel rider, which should help convince the sponsors to not pull the plug from the orange team.

Antón felt his day was coming. "Already in Amorebieta I felt good," Antón said. He had finished second to teammate Samuel Sánchez in the Klasika Primavera last weekend. "There aren't many opportunities to win, so you have to take them as they come."

Antón added that leaving his rivals on the final climb was not an easy task. "You need to know this climb, as the last kilometers have a dangerous false flat. In addition, my competitors are first class, like Contador, Mosquera, Soler. It was difficult to surprise them, but I managed to play my cards." Antón stayed calm and attacked in the right moment. "I put everything I had into this attack."

The Basque rider had a bad 2009. "This year I would like to step it up another level. I would to return to the good path and for that I train a lot."

Antón had not given much thought about the overall classification. "We will celebrate this one. I haven't had a leader's jersey since the 2008 Tour of Switzerland. We will just continue to do our work."

Rain and mountains

It seemed the threatening rain and the second part of the stage, with two category one climbs, paralyzed the bunch somewhat. It wasn't until kilometer 50, with the Alto de Fondebadón already looming, that a move with Aramendia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Kruijswijk (Rabobank), Toribio (Andalucía-CajaSur), Serafín Martínez (Xacobeo Galicia), Reig (Caja Rural) and Ricardo García (Orbea) went clear.

While Astana controlled the peloton, there were still three riders sneaking away and trying to bridge. But on the beginning part of the climb, the breaks were reeled back in. Then it was time for Andoni Blázquez and Michal Kwiatkowski to give it a go. Kwiatkowski proved to be too strong for Blázquez and reached the bottom of the final climb 1'30 ahead of the bunch.

With the gradient as high as 15 percent, it was soon over for Kwiatkowski, however. A few others attacked, but were unable to get away from the group of favorites. Out of that group, Mosquera was the first to attack, with less than ten kilometers to go.

Contador and Antón answered the move and the trio quickly gained 18 seconds on riders like Tiago Machado, Denis Menchov and David Bernabeu. Mauricio Soler managed to claw his way back into the mix in the end.

Results stage three

1 Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 4h07'09
2 Mauricio Soler (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'13
3 Alberto Contador (Astana)
4 Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)
5 Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) 1'10
6 Tiago Machado (RadioShack) 1'21
7 David Bernabeu (Barbot) 1'23
8 Javi Moreno (Andalucía-CajaSur) 1'27
9 Raúl Santamarta (Burgos 2016) 1'31
10 Stefan Denifl (Cervélo TestTeam) 1'34

General classification after stage three

1 Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 12h45'12
2 Alberto Contador (Astana) 0'13
3 Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo) Galicia
4 Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) 1'10
5 Tiago Machado (RadioShack) 1'21
6 David Bernabeu (Barbot) 1'23


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