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"The mountain award is an reward for all our efforts that go into each and every stage of each and every race, but later on we hope to fight for stage victories."








23.02.2015 @ 08:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) won the final stage and Chris Froome the overall at the Vuelta Andalucia. Pello Bilbao won the King of the Mountains.


The Caja Rural team gave it their all but luck was not on their side. Francesco Lasca had to withdraw early on in the stage due to physical problems, Sergio Pardilla suffered several mishaps that did not allow him to hold on to 10th place and Pello Bilbao managed to finish the race even though he had a tumble. Despite all this, the team heads home from Andalucía with the King of the Mountain award and three places in the top 10.

The Basque rider Pello Bilbao stated that he finished the vuelta “very tired but happy”. For Bilbao the King of the Mountain award is “a positive result so that the team can regain its enthusiasm and overcome this rough time we’ve been going through. Personally, the beginning of the season is as I expected it to be. I feel good physically and haven’t encountered any major setbacks. The mountain award is an reward for all our efforts that go into each and every stage of each and every race, but later on we hope to fight for stage victories”. Regarding his fall, he adds that: “I injured my hand, my mobility is slightly reduced, but I hope it’s nothing."

Volta Algarve
Andre Greipel won the final stage and Geraint Thomas won the Volta. José Gonçalves was the first Caja Rural rider to cross the finish line and Ricardo Vilela was the best in the general classification. Lluis Mas narrowly missed out on triumph as, despite escaping for most of the stage, the peloton caught Malori (Movistar) and him 600 metres from the finish line.

Josemi Fernández, the team’s director, comments on the final stage and takes stock of the Volta: “La Volta Algarve did not go all that well, we came with the intention of fighting to have one of our riders among the top 10 and that didn’t happen. The truth is that we tried, but luck was not on our side.


"We tried in the final stage, we worked hard right from the beginning, an escape happened and none of our riders were in it, so we tried to bring it back. Lluis Mas was able to join it later on and he did a great job, we were very close to winning. They were 1:30 minutes ahead of the rest of us at one point, this was reduced to 45 seconds and stayed that way for quite a few kilometres, until some riders were able to bridge across. Finally, Malori and Mas were close but the peloton caught them just 600 metres before the end. We leave satisfied with our efforts, we worked hard to win and we almost got there. They did really well in Andalucía so it looks like our luck is beginning to change."

Lluis Mas comments that, with each passing day, he feels “better, I’m getting better and I felt really good in the final stage. The team did an extraordinary job in order for me to be able to escape. The peloton caught Malori and me just 600 metres from the finish line, the truth is that 2 kilometres from the finish we thought we had it. This year is going well, I felt good in Mallorca and I gained a lot of confidence in Portugal for the next two races. I’m on the right track and I hope to be at my full capacity very soon."



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