By Bjorn Haake
Juan José Cobo gave his Fuji-Servetto team its first victory of the season with a well-timed his attack up to the Laguna De Los Peces on Thursday's stage of Castilla y León. Cobo went clear with about two kilometres left to race, just when lone leader Xavier Tondo (Andalucía-Cajasur) cracked, and held off the group of favourites by eight seconds. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) led home the group of favourites.
Cobo, who last year took second in the Hautacam stage of the Tour de France before his then-Saunier Duval team was forced to leave the race after Riccardo Riccò tested positive, said the win was important to the re-formed squad, now called Fuji-Servetto. "This victory is very important to continue forward and to demonstrate that we are there," Cobo said.
"I suffered a lot to make it over the first climb in the second group. It was very hard, but at the end I had my opportunity and I took advantage of it." Cobo intended to attack with 6km to go, "but Contador was riding at a very strong pace. So I decided to attack at 2 km, when we caught Tondo."
Cobo called the win a vindication over the Tour de France organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation, who did not invite the team to this year's races. "Last year there was a problem with some riders and we have had many critiques. I have been fighting from the last Tour of France to continue and to demonstrate that during this time I have ridden legally."
There were no changes in the overall, despite David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) causing a bit of a panic to the dual heads of the Astana team, overall leader Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador. The Spaniard proved his faithfulness to his American teammate by pulling Zabriskie back and limiting the time gap to the stage winner
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