Euskaltel's Igor Anton: "I'm progressing with the Giro d'Italia in mind."
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Euskaltel's Igor Anton: "I'm progressing with the Giro d'Italia in mind."

by Jered Gruber at 1:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Basque Country's next Grand Tour started season today in Murcia

Euskaltel-Euskadi's young Grand Tour hope Igor Anton toed his first start line of 2011 today at the Vuelta a Murcia. The rider, who looked set to win last year's Vuelta a España but ended up crashing out of the race while leading, finished quietly in 67th place in today's tough bunch kick.

At the start line today in San Pedro del Pinatar, the rider who turned 28 just two days ago, spoke with Marca about his season.

He was brief and to the point: "I'm progressing with the Giro d'Italia in mind."

As for the three day race around Murcia, Anton isn't holding his breath on his own chances, instead tipping his hat to the likes of "Contador and Menchov, who know how to win here. I think Geox will be the reference point, because they've come to Murcia with all their artillery."

Following Murcia, Anton will take on the Volta a Catalunya, the Vuelta Castilla y Leon, then settle down for his first major goal of 2011: the Giro d'Italia.

It is not known at this time whether the young rider will race the Ardennes Classics, or the GP Llodio and the Vuelta a la Rioja instead.

It seems like it would be a tough decision for Anton to stay in Spain instead of taking on the Ardennes later this spring. Anton had an excellent Ardennes campaign last season, highlighted by a 4th place at La Fleche Wallonne and a 7th place at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

In fact, Anton's April was something to remember. He took second at the Klasika Primavera on the 11th of April, then took a stage win (over Alberto Contador no less), third in the time trial, and second overall at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon, and then headed to Belgium for fourth at La Fleche Wallonne and sixth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Considering the extremely impressive season the young Basque rider put together last year, underlined without question by his Vuelta performance, which included two stage wins, he seems well on his way to notching that first really big win in 2011.

The big question is whether he'll be able to clock that up in May's Giro d'Italia. Considering the favorite status of Vincenzo Nibali heading into his national tour in a couple months, one has to think that Anton should get an extra push considering the fact that he had Nibali well in hand at the Vuelta before his unfortunate crash in Stage 14.

The pure climber Anton will have his hands full in Italy though, with the likes of Alberto Contador, Denis Menchov, Carlos Sastre, and Vincenzo Nibali all putting their hopes on one of the year's most spectacular races. If he can pull off the win that seems inevitable, it'll be that much more impressive if he can take it over some of the sport's biggest names.


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