Spaniard believes Asturias stages will decide Vuelta
Juan José Cobo (Movistar) will return to defend his title at the 2012 Vuelta a España, but he has admitted that his primary aim for the coming season will be the Tour de France.
The Spaniard signed for Movistar at the turn of the year following the demise of Geox-TMC, and he will be co-leader of his new team at the Tour alongside the controversial Alejandro Valverde. Cobo explained that he will have a low-key opening to his season so as to reach July in top condition, and will also aim to keep something in reserve for the Vuelta.
“My principal objective this year will be the Tour de France,” Cobo told AS. “I will have a rather ‘light’ start to the season so that I can start the French race at the top of my form. I want to do my best, and do all that I can in the Tour. Then I will take part in the Vuelta and we’ll see how I feel. I hope to mount an decent defence of my title.”
Cobo was a surprise winner of the 2011 Vuelta after entering the race under the leadership of Denis Menchov. Not surprisingly, the 30-year-old is confident that he can dovetail his efforts with those of Valverde this season.
“It takes the pressure off riding alongside a great rider like Alejandro,” he said. “The road will decide which one of us can fight for the general classification. I’ll just try to reach 100% in the Tour and the Vuelta.”
With its string of searing summit finishes, this year’s Vuelta will be a tough proposition for any riders coming into the race already fatigued from their exertions at the Tour de France. Like many at the race presentation in Pamplona on Wednesday, Cobo believes that the final week will be crucial.
“It will be very hard with a lot of summit finishes,” he said. “We will need to get in great shape and have that little bit of freshness to be able to take on the final week.”
In particular, Cobo anticipates that the trio of summit finishes spread across the race’s penultimate weekend might prove decisive. “The days in Asturias are frightening, they’ll be the ones that will decide the race. It’s going to be an impressive spectacle for the public.”