Cobo says Menchov is the leader and can still win the Vuelta
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cobo says Menchov is the leader and can still win the Vuelta

by Xylon van Eyck at 9:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Spaniard concerned about having bad day and lack of Grand Tour participation

Juan jose CoboDespite being higher than the Russian in the general classification, Juanjo Cobo maintains that Denis Menchov is still the Geox-TMC leader at the Vuelta a España. Cobo is currently in eighth place 1’27” down on Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling) while Menchov is a further 2’42” back.

“I'm happy to be near the top in the classification, since I saved the time trial in Salamanca,” he told
“I managed a pretty decent result, because on a bad day you can lose minutes on the pure time trialists and it’s not exactly my field.”

Cobo has spent most of his career in the team structure managed by Mauro Gianetti, apart from last year when he rode for Caisse d'Epargne but did not have a favourable time on the team.

The Spaniard has been solid in the race, staying close to the favourites thus far, but fears how he’ll fair for the entire three weeks as his last Grand Tour was in 2009 when he won a stage in the Vuelta.

“I have pretty good legs and in theory, we reached a favourable point in the race for my interests,” he said. “However, I haven’t done a race of three weeks for two years, and perhaps might experience excessive fatigue on a key day. I prefer to think day by day, without pressure and without making an unattainable goal.”

Menchov has twice before won the Vuelta, doing so in 2005 and 2007, and came into the race as the leader along with Carlos Sastre. Thus far, Cobo has outperformed both of the more-experienced riders.

When asked about the leadership of the team though, Cobo insisted the chance of victory for Menchov is not out of reach yet. “Now I’ve gone ahead of them in the general, but that’s the circumstances of the race. The team leader is Denis Menchov, who is just a over a minute behind me,” he explained.

“I think we still have options to win the Vuelta, but Wiggins and [Vincenzo] Nibali have demonstrated both strong ride against the clock and in the mountains, as seen in Sierra Nevada and La Covatilla.”

The climbers have a bit of respite today as the stage is expected to come down to a bunch sprint. However, the rest of the week and weekend will be contested over mountainous terrain with the true test of the Vuelta expected to come on stage fifteen to the Angliru. Over the next few days it will become more clear if Menchov does indeed have a chance of winning the race.


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