By Monika Prell
Igor Antón, the young hope of Euskaltel Euskadi, was able to escape with some strong riders in stage nine of the Vuelta a España, and while the move was not successful, it was a strong effort for the 24 year-old, and bodes well for his Vuelta. "I am happy about the stage I rode. We began very fast, we climbed the Monrépos very fast. There were many attacks, and some dangerous riders like [José Ángel Gómez] Marchante or David López were in a breakaway group, so it was important to be represented in this group."
Antón was the team's representative in a dangerous group which wasn't given much rope by the peloton, and he knew it was futile but didn't regret his decision. "It was going to be difficult for this group to reach the finish line, but you are never sure, perhaps you don't join the group with any rider of your team and later you regret it, because you have to work in the peloton or you lose the race. I was there and the team was thankful", said the young rider.
Antón, who had to abandon the Tour de France due to fatigue, said he feels better in the Vuelta. "On the last climb I tried to lose the least amount of time possible. I am well situated in the general classification, and even if it is not my principal objective, I won't give away anything when I feel good."
The 24 year-old thinks his team leader Samuel Sánchez will continue to move up in the classification. "Samu is very good and every day he is better. He is already 7th in the general classification and there are many days to improve. To me something similar is happening, it seems that I am improving. There were some days when I was bad, but in the mountains I feel better."
He will need all the strength he can muster for the 214 kilometre long journey on stage ten. "Tomorrow will be a spectacular day, with the Cantó and Ordino. [Denis] Menchov and [Leonardo] Piepoli have demonstrated that they are strong, but we have to go on fighting," promised Antón.