Igor Antón says his victory in the Subida a Urkiola was like "a dream" and the win is "very important" for his team. It comes at a time when Euskadi-Euskaltel faces the likelihood that Mikel Astarloza will face a suspension due to a positive doping control during the Tour de France.
While Astarloza's Tour de France stage victory and subsequent fall from grace made headlines recently, Antón's win is relief for the squad that may come under pressure from sponsors as a result of the positive control, with the team told to ensure it steers clear of bad publicity in the future.
It was back to racing on Sunday however, with Antón beating defending champion David Arroyo, the pair separated by Xavier Tondo and the appropriately-named Freddy Montaña, who finished in second and third respectively.
"The truth is that I felt good throughout the day and I'm very happy about the victory," Antón told Europa Press. "Winning in this place is a dream. It's like our Mont Ventoux. The rhythm that he brought from the Tour de France was my guide and I want to thank the whole team for how it worked. They all sacrificed for me and I am very grateful for this work and that trust."
Seven riders escaped heading into the last of the day's climbs, with Xavier Tondo (Andalusia), Freddy Montaña (Boyaca), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Beñat Intxausti (Fuji Servetto) and Patrick Sinkewitz (PSK Whirlpool-Author) unable to counter Antón's late attack.
Last year's winner, Arroyo, was obviously disappointed with the day's proceedings and explained that his efforts to neutralise Antón's offensive cost him a spot on the podium. "I felt pretty good - it was a mistake to try my luck in the final 1500 metres with the intention of neutralising Igor Antón and limited my options," he said.
"I joined Tondo in trying to reach Igor but it was impossible, and I paid for the effort by finishing off the podium," he added.