On the wheel of Jalabert
Liberty Seguros rider Marcos Serrano today saved the honour of his Spanish team by taking the victory on the Côte de la Croix-Neuve, recently renamed 'Côte de Laurent Jalabert' in the end of Stage 18 from Albi to Mende. Under a sunny sky and in beautiful wheat field country, Serrano attacked the remains of the obligatory break of the day on the last Spring Classic-like 10 percent ascent, and had no problems flying back down to the local airport with a strong tailwind blowing him to the finish, as Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner reports from Mende.
"It's unbelievable," he said after crossing the line. "You work so hard all the time and really suffer, and then you finally succeed!" As personally rewarding as a Tour de France stage win is, the Galician was quick to dedicate it to his family, and say that it was success of the whole team - who had to bury their hopes for good general classification standings in this Tour de France, as leader Roberto Heras wasn't exactly up to the challenge in the recent mountain stages.
"I don't know if this makes up for our lost hopes," he replied when asked what the victory meant to Liberty Seguros. "We've tried to jump into the breakaways in the mountain stages of this Tour. Allan Davis was there the other day, and Alberto Contador also. Today was my turn..."
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