Italy's Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) is on the hunt for victory in the next two Vuelta a España stages. He missed the win after a solo escape in the finale of yesterday's wet stage to Liège, Belgium.
"It was not necessarily my type of day, no one likes to race in the rain," Gasparotto told Cyclingnews. "The Classics-style stage became harder due to the rain. I thought, it is better to give it a try off the front, at least I knew I wouldn't crash."
He knew the roads from racing for leader Damiano Cunego at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic in April. After the Côte Saint Nicolas yesterday, Gasparotto attacked with 11 kilometres remaining. He stayed clear of the main group over the next several kilometres.
The peloton caught Gasparotto with five kilometres to race. He was one of the few riders to avoid a huge crash 2.5 kilometres later.
The riders travelled from Belgium to Spain last night, where today they had their first of two rest days. Gasparotto trained for 1.5 hours with his teammates and then returned to his room to study the coming stages.
"I looked at the book, the next two days are good for me," he said. "My legs feel good, and I am happy with how I was going yesterday. I haven't looked beyond those days because it will all depend on how I come out of the hard mountain stages."
Tomorrow's Vinaros stage covers 174 kilometres and features a small climb with 35 kilometres to race. Friday's stage starts and ends in Xàtiva, with a category three climb 24.3 kilometres to the finish.
"My first priority is to win a stage at the Vuelta a España, selection for the Worlds would be a consequence of the win."
Gasparotto thinks he will miss the World Championships on September 27. He said national team director Franco Ballerini will likely overlook him since he is without wins so far this year.
Gasparotto's Lampre teammate, Cunego, finished second at the World Championships last year. He is racing the Vuelta with Gasparotto and preparing to lead Italy's team at this year's Worlds.
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