Igor Anton has had a quiet start of the Giro but he's obviously improving drastically now that his time has come as the mountains are just ahead. The Basque rider was leading the Vuelta a Espana last year with an enormous possibility of winning the overall classification.
"Vuelta and Giro are two very different things for me," Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) told Cyclingnews at the Giro. "The mountains are different, the time of the year is different. I always do much better in September than in May or June."
Euskaltel's sport's director Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano confirmed. "Here, Igor has zero pressure for riding GC, we keep all the pressure for the Vuelta. If one day in the mountains he loses a bit of time, it's no problem at all. But if he goes well in all the mountain stages, it's obvious that he'll move up on GC but it's definitely not our goal."
Without targeting the GC, Anton is eleventh at 2:21 behind Alberto Contador. He limited the damage on the Etna and had an interesting end of stage 11 to Castelfidardo. "My positioning at the bottom of the final climb was pretty bad," Anton said. "I was in 40th or 45th place and I kept passing riders in the climb. Had I been in a better position from the beginning, I could have made the top 5. I don't think I'd have beaten John Gadret who has been exceptional yesterday, but I could have finished closer to Purito (Rodriguez) who was second."
Anton looked very relaxed on the Adriatic coast. "I have said since the start of the Giro that I was here for a mountain stage win and nothing else," he told Cyclingnews. "Any stage is welcome, I haven't targeted one more than the others. It's true that I didn't arrive in Turin in my best shape. I wasn't going too bad at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and at the Flèche Wallonne but my condition keeps improving."
The Euskaltel team admitted that Anton is still one kilogram overweight. "But it's maybe better to have some reserves," said Gonzalez de Galdeano ahead of the mountain stages for which the weather forecast is pretty bad. "The main factor is the number of great climbers that Igor has to beat: Contador, Rujano, Nibali, Scarponi, Arroyo, Serpa, Purito, Menchov, Gadret, etc. The competition is huge with such a quality field of pure climbers!"
But Anton is – almost – ready, as the peloton eyes the Grossglockner in Austria at the end of stage 13.