Euskaltel's sprinter Koldo Fernández was hoping for a good finish yesterday, but was another victim of the huge crash that significantly reduced the front group. Fernández, who won the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico this spring, declared after the race that "The crash was a pity. I was well positioned on the wheel of Alan Pérez, with the objective to place myself behind Petacchi's wheel." He and golden jersey Bennati got into an argument after the crash and the Spaniard revealed that "I already had a problem with Bennati yesterday, as we both wanted Petacchi's wheel and I gave in. Today I didn't hit my brakes."
But things got tight for the sprinters, who are not shy in using elbows and shoulders to get their ways. "There was no space for the both of us and it is those who are in the habit of passing in those kinds of situations who find themselves on the ground," the Euskaltel rider put the blame to the Italian. He continued to describe the war-like showdown as "we went man against man. There was tension, I was the agitator and I fell. I got hit on my butt, my shoulder and my waist, but nothing severe."
It is unusual for Euskaltel to have a sprinter on the team as they are mostly known for their uphill battles in the mountains but Fernández was looking forward to another day for fast men, stating that "Tomorrow there will be another day and one has to try again."
His team-mate Samuel Sánchez was also in the middle of the action. "I was involved in the crash, but I don't have anything. I got a small hit on the calf, but it doesn't bother me." He was looking forward to tomorrow a little more cautiously than Fernández. "Tomorrow will be complicated....In, addition, it is the day before the Lagos [stage 4 finish -ed.] We will try to pass the day the best possible way and arrive in good condition at one of the most important stages of the Vuelta, one with great tradition."
And Alan Pérez, who is the highest ranked Euskaltel rider in GC, was very content "with the sixth place overall. I know it's anecdotal, the Vuelta has barely started, but there are positive aspects for the team, for example our team car will be in sixth position in the stage of the Lagos." The Spaniard declared that those details are important, but he also didn't want to see his placing to go by completely unnoticed. "With all the sprinters here, the sixth place has its merits." Pérez emphasized that "we tried to bring Koldo [Fernández] to the front and my good placing stems from that effort." As for tomorrow he wanted to see if "we have more luck, Koldo doesn't crash and we can place us even better."
But one thing is clear for the domestique, no matter how highly he is ranked currently in GC. "My work is to assist my companions in the race with all they want."