By Monika Prell
Euskaltel - Euskadi's Koldo Fernández is delighted after taking his first professional stage win on the seventh and final stage of Italy's Tirreno - Adriatico.
"It was an impressive victory, I'm very satisfied," noted the 25 year-old. "It's my first triumph as professional, I made it in such a prestigious race like Tirreno - Adriatico, with some rivals of a high level."
The Spaniard sprinted across the line ahead of world class riders, including second and third placed finishers Australia's Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), and Italy's Gabriele Balducci (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo).
The Basque rider recounted the final moments of the 177 kilometre stage, saying: "When I was in front, I took the wheel of Thor Hushovd, and when I saw that all the others began to sprint, I said to myself 'now or never' and began also to sprint. I did not risk to lift my arms before passing the finish line."
Fernández, who dedicated the victory to his mother, described the finish as 'stressful' but thanked his teammates for allowing him the opportunity to achieve the result.
"The team showed that they trust a lot in me, I'm very thankful, without the team the victory has not been possible," he acknowledged. "They helped me all the day. At the end Beñat Albizuri pulled me to the front, he made a phenomenal work and I want to single him out."
The rider says from here on he simply hopes to continue improving.