Cobo regrets missing stage win in front of fans, but moves one day closer to Madrid
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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cobo regrets missing stage win in front of fans, but moves one day closer to Madrid

by VeloNation Press at 6:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Race leader gives up time to Froome, yet still has buffer

Juan Jose CoboInvulnerable on the Angliru, Juan Jose Cobo showed a little weakness on today’s seventeenth stage of the Vuelta a España, cracking briefly when faced with a huge attack by closest rival Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) inside the final two kilometres of the stage.

Threading his way through a corridor of screaming supporters, many of them backing local hero Cobo, Froome ramped up the pace with an eyeballs-out acceleration. He stayed out of the saddle for what seemed like an eternity and while Cobo resisted for most of that time, he finally cracked and slipped backwards.

Froome thundered onwards and although his rival managed to claw his way back and edge in front with 200 metres to go, the Briton edged past again and won the stage.

“Today I was missing a little something to be able to capture another victory,” Cobo admitted. “For me it would have been really the best here on these roads in front of my fans, but it wasn’t to be and Froome deserved the victory. But I’m looking on the bright side, today I also managed to hold on to the leader’s jersey after a tough stage and put some more distance between a dangerous rival like Wiggins (who dropped a further fifty seconds).

“Now there are three more really challenging days but with the help of the entire GEOX -TMC team I’m going to do whatever it takes to defend this jersey.”

Froome took a second out of Cobo by the line and also picked up a twenty seconds time bonus. The Spaniard got a twelve second bonus for second and conceded a total of nine seconds. His race lead has dropped to 13, guaranteeing that the four remaining stages will be nervous ones.

Still, directeur sportif Joxean Fernandez appeared more or less happy with the day. “We missed a stage victory which would have crowned the day,” he explained. “Cobo raced well, however, proving that he’s really strong; Froome and he engaged in a spectacular duel and in the end, man-to-man, Froome won. Anyway, we’re still ahead in the general classification and this is the most important thing.”

He gave thanks to the team, which worked hard for Cobo today. In particularly he namechecked Denis Menchov and David de la Fuente, who did a lot of work during the stage and on the final climb.

Cobo will head into Thursday’s stage to Noja knowing that the most likely outcome is either a big sprint or a breakaway group. That should keep things as they are, although the time bonuses up for grabs during intermediate sprints and at the finishes will make things more nervous.

He’s one day nearer to Madrid, but it’s still far too soon to be bookmarking the top step of the podium.

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