Vuelta a España: Cobo makes big move on stage 14
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vuelta a España: Cobo makes big move on stage 14

by Bjorn Haake at 3:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Climbs overall ladder, with more climbs to come

juan jose coboJuan José Cobo of the Geox-TMC has become the team's leader in the Vuelta a España and paid back the confidence with a brilliant ride on stage 14. The nominal captain, Denis Menchov, made the pace for Cobo during the stage. Menchov didn't concede a single second to race leader Bradley Wiggins today, still trailing by 2'56. But Cobo cut his deficit from 1'27 to 55 seconds. Another aggressive ride on the Angliru could see the Spaniard endangering the Briton's red jersey.

Cobo summed up the hectic and in many ways surprising stage 14 matter-of-factly. "For us this was a good day," he said. Cobo came in second, 25 seconds after stage winner Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis). Cobo jumped from eighth to fourth on GC and closed on Wiggins. A podium in Madrid is within reach for the Geox climber.

He read the race almost to perfection. "Everything went according to plan. In the final, when I saw Moreno attack, I understood that it was the right moment to try to go along, so I did." Almost to perfection, because in the end he couldn't reel in Taaramäe for the higher time bonus. His teammate David De La Fuente even gave up the chance of a stage victory to drop back and pace Cobo towards the finish. Cobo was grateful for the service. "De la Fuente was exceptional in putting himself at my service and helping me, but I also have to thank all my other teammates, we all raced really well."

Cobo had all the help, even from a two-time Vuelta winner. "Menchov did a great job on the second-to-last climb, which was also fundamental. We didn't win the stage but with this move I managed to get away from Wiggins and gain a few valuable seconds in the classification."

Cobo's big chance to make up more time comes tomorrow on the exceptionally steep Angliru, even though he tries to take off some of the pressure. "Tomorrow is going to be a hard day with the arrival on Angliru; it's not a climb that's well suited to my skills but I'm in good shape and I feel good. We'll see what happens and how things go."

The team has been working well together towards the common goal of the overall victory that almost in passing they took the lead in the teams classification, leading Leopard Trek by 2'26.

One rider doing outstanding team work was De La Fuente. "Yesterday I was in a break with my teammates and today I was still there, out front as a major player in the race," he said after crossing the line in third place. He was in the break of the day again and followed Taaramäe's move.

Instead of fighting for the stage win, he dropped back when Cobo was coming up from behind. "I can only be pleased with how things are going. Of course, a stage victory would have been a nice reward for today's attempt at the break but our team is here to try to win the Vuelta and so when I realized that I could help Cobo, my ambition to win the stage became secondary."

Veteran rider Carlos Sastre was pleased with how his teammates performed. "The team stepped up to the mark, with David De la Fuente riding sensationally, he has been in all the breakaways and his work and sacrifice were really important for Juanjo in the last part. Today’s stage is going to have psychologically affected some of the riders, and there could be some important changes tomorrow again," Sastre said.

Initially, the team had banked its hopes on Menchov, but as long as one of the Geox riders is on the top spot of the podium, everybody will be happy. For De La Fuente, there was no questioning to deliver on his team duty. "I'm happy that I helped Juanjo, who's not only a teammate, he's one of my best friends in life."


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