- It was a good race for us, the team did an excellent job, I think we did all possible today and rode the stage in the way we wanted. The main thing for us is to win the General Classification and we are moving in the right direction. Today everything was almost perfect and the only thing we missed today was the stage victory. Ok, Poels was the strongest today, but in general I am happy with the result. In general all is good, the differences in the GC are minimal, so we will see how it will be in the decisive TT at the last day. So far I feel good, the form is ok after Valenciana and Murcia, where I won. Here we are among the favorites and we will do our best for the highest possible result. We have two leaders in the team here in Andalucia. But there is no any problem with it, the main thing is a victory for the team and we are racing as a team. On Saturday will be a difficult and explosive finish, we will see who will be the strongest there and after that stage we both will do our best in the final TT, - told Luis Leon Sanchez after he went on the podium for the ‘Best Spanish Rider’ classification.
The Queen Stage of this year’s Vuelta a Andalucia had an easy start, so an eight-man breakaway took off right from the start in Otura. During the 140-km long stage (two 2nd cat. climbs, two 3rd cat. climbs and a 1st cat. uphill finish in La Guardia de Jáen) the eight leaders had a maximum advantage of 7’30”. But with 60 km to go the teams aiming for the General Classification started to chase, among them Astana Pro Team.
The advantage of the leaders was decreasing, but after our team took full responsibility in the peloton the advantage disappeared, going into the final climb. Diego Rubio was the only one left of the original eight riders, but he was also caught in the final kilometers. After that it was up to the strongest guys of the peloton, with Luis Leon Sanchez ending second and Jakob Fuglsang fifth behind winner Wout Poels.
- We worked really well during the whole day. We did not see any help from the others, but no problem, we are a strong team. Good stage, but of course, we wanted to win today. We still have two opportunities in this race - on Saturday a short but steep final which suits Luis Leon and on Sunday a difficult time trial, - said sports director Giuseppe Martinelli.
Tomorrow the teams will face a stage of 166,1 km from Mancha Real to Herrera, with no serious climbs on the route another bunch sprint is expected.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto