Vuelta a Burgos: Koldo Fernández waits til August to get first season victory
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Vuelta a Burgos: Koldo Fernández waits til August to get first season victory

by Bjorn Haake at 2:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Drought of Basque rider ends after months of disappointments

Koldo Fernández de Larrea (Euskaltel-Euskadi) sprinted to victory in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, ahead of Quick Step's Nikolas Maes and Vacansoleil's Romain Feillu. Fernández used the short 143km stage from Villasana de Mena to Medina de Pomar for his first season victory, after five second places thus far in 2010.

Fernández was relieved after taking the pressure off himself with his win. "Finally we managed a victory," he said after the stage. "This was a difficult season for me. I was in good shape, but until now I just couldn't win. I didn't have much luck and I lacked continuity most of the year." This was partially due to some injuries the Basque rider was nursing. "First the ear infection when I was in decent form, then I had this hard crash in the Tour of Bavaria."

For a sprinter, such mishaps can be more costly than just missing a few days of racing. "Without wanting it you lose confidence and you start to doubt your possibilities," Fernández said. But he had the desire to return to the top. "I worked very hard and in the end I was rewarded - I really wanted it and I am very happy."

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has already won nine races this year, mostly in non-sprinting finishes. But today, the team worked hard to deliver Fernández to the final meters in perfect position. "The team's work was phenomenal. Having an Olympic Champion [Samuel Sánchez] work for me in a climb to reduce the gap [to the break] is a luxury," Koldo Fernández said.

This gave him extra motivation. "I suffered on the hill, but it was worth the pain. Sicard, Nieve and Antón in the final, and before that Pablo, Aitor y Juanjo... Everybody did great work and I want to thank them."

With the short stage, attacks came early. Manuel Calvente and Mikel Ilundain went after two kilometers, constantly chased by Pedro Merino and Luis Mas. At the sprint in Villasante (km 44) the lead duo had one minute over Merino and two minutes over Mas. Both chasers were reeled in by the halfway point at km70.

The front duo lasted until km 112. Over the top of the final climb of the day, José Iván Gutierrez led Sergio Carrasco, Mauricio Ardila and Ezequiel Mosquera, with Fernández hanging on for dear life. Gutiérrez and Veuchelen escaped but were caught two kilometers from the line.

Results stage one

1 FERNÁNDEZ DE LARREA, Koldo EUSKALTEL EUSKADI 3:34:03
2 MAES, Nikolas QUICK STEP m.t.
3 FEILLU, Romain VACANSOLEIL m.t.

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