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Mallorca provides plenty for Spanish squad
Race four of the Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca - the Trofeo Deià- was a bountiful day for Caisse d'Epargne, with Rui Alberto Costa taking his first win of 2010 and José Iván Gutiérrez securing third place on the podium.
The experienced Spaniard attributed his good form to Caisse d'Epargne's recent stint in Australia, where the team trained then raced the Santos Tour Down Under. Despite the extreme difference in climatic conditions, Gutiérrez managed to ride a good race after several testing days battling the weather.
"I feel rather well. This is the result of the work I achieved last winter and also of the great training sessions we had under the Australian sun," said Gutiérrez. "To be in ahead of these races in spite of the bad weather we have in Mallorca is a good signal."
The third race in the Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca - the Trofeo Inca - was marred by attrocious weather, with a plethora of riders not completing the stage or finishing outside the time limit. Linus Gerdemann took the win but the day was unsurprisingly remembered for the manic conditions faced by riders.
"Yesterday's stage was a completely crazy one because there were so many attacks. It was also a dangerous one because the roads were so slippery. I was very attentive and stayed in front all the time and principally on the descents. For that reason I was able to finish sixth in the stage," he added.
While Alejandro Valverde, Txente García Acosta, Mathieu Drujon and Arnaud Coyot were forcing the pace in stage one of the Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel, Rui Costa and Gutiérrez were flying the Caisse d'Epargne flag in Spain with good results. Gutiérrez says his performances thus far in 2010 have established what promises to be a great season for the 31-year-old.
"Today I was closer to victory but considering team-mate Rui Costa was in the lead I could obviously not get a better result than finishing in third position," said Gutiérrez. "The most important thing is the fact that I am very focused at the beginning of the season.
"Tomorrow I will fly home and will keep on training there before going to Portugal and participating in the Tour of Algarve. I would like to fight for the general classification. I believe that the route, which is really a nice one with a time trial and a stage finishing at the top of a hill, is a good one for my characteristics."