Igor Anton says he is happy to take the Giro ‘day by day’, and will not be looking to challenge for the overall honours. The diminutive Spaniard spoke to Newspaper El Pais after the finish of the team time trial in Turin and was in surprisingly good spirits despite his Euskatel-Euskadi team finishing last; 1:13 behind race winners HTC-Highroad.
"Okay, I know that being in last is a bit ugly and that the director will have to swallow the exhaust pipe of 22 cars ahead of him," Anton said.
"- But overall, we were amongst five teams that finished within 11 seconds of each other, so the difference isn’t so bad."
Much of the Alba-born rider’s optimism comes from the fact that he says that he will not be pursuing the maglia rosa and is racing the Giro with ‘no pressure’.
"I mean, I’m not here to win the Giro so the result doesn’t mean as much to me personally."
The Spaniard is much happier to take a calmer approach to the Giro in 2011, focusing instead on the possibility of a stage win in one of the high mountain stages.
"I know I'm in good condition," says Anton. "Yes, I’ll be aiming to win the Vuelta this year but for the Giro I’m more than content to ride a simple race."
The Euskatel-Euskadi rider was at least ambitious enough to aim for one of the high mountain stages in the 2nd and 3rd week of the race.
"To win one of the big mountain stages would be a beautiful thing, and I think at least one of them should be within my reach. But we will see. I’ll be taking the race day-by-day and week-by-week."
A changed rider from the 22 year old that suffered through the 2005 edition of the race he knows that experience counts for a lot in a Grand Tour.
"In 2005, I knew I was suffering, but I was really able to push my limits, and learn a lot - about my body, and about racing. This year I’m going to be patient and wait for my opportunities. They will come, but first I must be patient and calm."
Six months ago at the 2010 Vuelta, Anton was adamant that the race would be taken ‘day by day’ and ended up showing that he was one of the strongest riders in the race. Asked if he would remain as modest and measured for the 2011 edition of the Vuelta, Anton was happy to be more forthright.
"In the Vuelta this year I will not be there to take it day by day. I know I have responsibility in the Vuelta, I will be there to lead."