The defence by GEOX-TMC worked and now there’s one less day to go to Madrid. A historic day that saw the Vuelta return to the Basque region after many years culminated with the triumph of Igor Anton, who won the stage in the heart of Bilbao, and with Juanjo Cobo holding on to the red jersey at the head of the classification. The “Bison from la Pesa” had no problem defending his lead the entire day; he raced well tactically and responded with his legs when necessary. The finish line in Madrid is drawing ever nearer.
“For us it was another perfect day,” explains Sports Director Joxean Fernandez Matxin. “We knew that Sky would try to do something to alter the standings but Cobo and the entire team raced and responded magnificently. Cobo had to stay stuck to Froome’s wheel and he did so, both in the first intermediate sprint, where De la Fuente was exceptional, and in the final on the last climb when the Englishman attempted an attack. It meant a lot to Euskaltel especially to win here in the Basque region and this wasn’t a problem for us so when they made a break for it with Igor Anton in the group we didn’t need to work too hard to catch up; we just wanted to keep Sky in check and ride the race on their backs and that’s what we’ll do tomorrow, too.”
“I was expecting an attack by Sky in the final. We had to respond to their attempts and we did so perfectly. As expected my team mates did a great job controlling the race from the first kilometres. The breakaway that then got away from the pack was perfect for us. I can only be happy for the way the day went.” This from a satisfied Cobo, who is however prudent about his leadership. “I prefer to take it day by day. Today was a perfect day. Tomorrow the arrival is in Vitoria and we have to face the climb on Urkiola and we’ll try to use the same strategy. Afterwards there will be Madrid.”
In addition to the red leader’s jersey Juanjo Cobo is still wearing the white jersey for the combined classification and GEOX-TMC continues to lead the classification for teams.