Vuelta al Pais Vasco: Team RadioShack pleased with day one, aiming for overall win
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Vuelta al Pais Vasco: Team RadioShack pleased with day one, aiming for overall win

by Conal Andrews at 8:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
 
Klöden and Horner well placed heading into today’s stage

Chris HornerAndreas Klöden and Chris Horner got their Vuelta al Pais Vasco campaign off to a strong start yesterday when they finished third and fourth on the hilly stage to Zumarraga. They finished just behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and, importantly, took time out of the rest of the field.

Horner is the defending champion, while Klöden showed good form in finishing second overall in Paris-Nice and winning the time trial in the recent Criterium International. Both are very motivated to do something in this event.

Directeur sportif Jose Azevedo said that while the team wasn’t able to take the stage, it is most focussed on the general classification and therefore is pleased with how things went.

“At the finish there were small roads and many corners. The guy who arrived at the corner first won,” he said. “It was impossible to pass, but we are happy. Horner and Klöden are happy too.

“We are here to win the overall classification and today we made a good step in the right direction. There is a time trial in the end and Klöden and Horner already have an 18-second advantage to guys like Tony Martin and Luis Leon Sanchez. That’s important.”

Horner showed his form when he attacked hard at the bottom of the final climb, the Alto de la Antigua, and went clear of the peloton. He was caught by Rodriguez and went over the summit just behind him, together with Sanchez. Klöden bridged across on the descent and the quartet then fought it out for the win.

The time gained would be important in determining the final general classification. They hit the line six seconds clear of fifth-placed Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervélo), who led in a group containing Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and Xavier Tondo (Movistar).

Other contenders were at least 18 seconds back, including Alexandre Vinkourov (Astana) and the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank (both Leopard Trek).

Horner and Klöden will look to defend their positions on today’s second stage, a mountainous 167 kilometres from Zumarraga to Lekunberri. It includes two first category climbs and they will watch for any weakness on the part of Rodriguez and Sanchez.

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