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"It's true that not many people were counting me in for the win, but I was confident I could fight for it. I had ridden a similar stage two years ago with the Andalucía squad."

Photo: Sirotti






13.08.2014 @ 22:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Juan Jose Lobato proved that he is much more than a pure sprinter when he took a commanding victory in the tough uphill finish on the first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. Having gained confidence from a similar stage two years ago, the Spaniard had told his teammates that he believed he could surprise in a finale made for puncheurs.


Showing the same power that saw him taking the triumph in Neufchâteau, on stage three of the Tour de Wallonie sixteen days ago, Juanjo Lobato (Movistar Team) brought his special talent for uphill finishes to the fore as he claimed the first leader's jersey of the Vuelta a Burgos, receiving the baton from his team-mate Nairo Quintana after the Colombian's overall success in 2013.


The Spaniard came first across the line in the Castillo - ending point of 143km stage one, which started at the province's capital - ahead of a world-class specialist, Dani Moreno (KAT), taking to fruition what was a Blue monologue at the front of the bunch. Imanol Erviti and Rubén Plaza spent several kilometers in pursuit behind a four-man breakaway, caught before the first of two ascents of the Burgos hill, where Quintana - 11th at the finish, 5" down - showed commitment by leading the big group.


The attacks after the climb clashed with control in the field by Astana and Katusha, which set their top guns at the front to contest the win. However, Lobato, who came from behind, launched a spectacular acceleration with just over 200m remaining, an irresistible punch that allowed him to cross the line comfortably, arms in the air, to claim the Movistar Team's 28th success of the season and getting off to the best start possible in a race where he will get another good opportunity in Villadiego's finish on Thursday (152km.)


"It's true that not many people were counting me in for the win, but I was confident I could fight for it," he said. "I had ridden a similar stage two years ago with the Andalucía squad and even though I was nowhere near today's level, I knew that if I felt well during the stage, I could give it a try.


"I already told my team-mates at the pre-race talk I could do it and we could take all the work we did to success. We had planned to take control of the race so there weren't any big breaks - Erviti and Plaza were up-front all day and the rest protected Nairo. How did I see him? I always find him in glorious form, no matter the race - I'm sure he will show it again here.


"I worked out where I would attack when we did the climb the first time - I was confident I could keep a strong pace if I jumped away with 300m to go. I might have relaxed a bit when I saw I had won, but the goal was achieved. I


"have spent the whole season taking good places, but the victory did not come until the Tour de Wallonie. Still, it's not really like this win changed myself. I worked hard and I keep doing so, but sometimes, success comes to you when you don't expect it.


"I hope to keep his streak alive, because very often bad moments come together really fast, and you need to enjoy the good ones. I've got another great chance tomorrow and we'll go for it. This victory is a tribute to my friend David, a big fan of cycling who used to come by at my hometown and passed away just hours before coming to this race."



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