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Mario De Sarraga: Mixing it with the big boys

By:
Anthony Tan
Published:
September 01, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:37 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for September 1, 2006
Relax Gam rider Mario De Sarraga

Relax Gam rider Mario De Sarraga

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Mario De Sarraga's 140-kilometre solo breakaway failed close to the finish on stage 2. The Spaniard...

Mario De Sarraga's 140-kilometre solo breakaway failed close to the finish on stage 2. The Spaniard rides for Relax-Gam, the only non-ProTour outfit in the Vuelta a España. The boys in red must deal with the handicap of a much smaller budget than other teams. However, they are mixing it with the best in the Vuelta. De Sarraga instigated the first long breakaway of the Vuelta and compiled enough points to put himself into the lead in that competition. He spoke to Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias about how he is coping with the early stages of the Vuelta.

Despite the failure of his long solo break on stage 2, Mario De Sarraga was able to accumulate enough points to claim the lead in the mountain's competition. "It was a planned tactic on the stage. I had thought of getting in a breakaway that day. I was lucky to make the breakaway at the beginning and got the mountain classification points and that was what I was interested in. After that I tried to get as far as I could," he said.

He rode solo for 140 long kilometres, but he was caught with 34 kilometres to go. "I expected that the sprinters' team were going to catch me," said De Sarraga. "When you are [alone in the breakaway] you can dream of reaching the finish line in first place but… what made me happy was to get the mountain jersey; that was what I aimed for. If something else came, it would have been another additional joy."

After he was caught by the peloton, he amazingly moved from first position to last as he finished 189th. He lost 6 minutes and 39 seconds to stage winner Paolo Bettini. "The stage was very, very hard," said De Sarraga.

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