By Monika Prell
Mikel Gaztañaga (Agritubel) has won the Tour de Vendée for the second consecutive year. The Basque rider imposed himself in a sprint against the Australian Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) and Frenchman Mathieu Drujon (Auber) and is now second in the Coupe de France, behind Sylvain Chavanel (Française des Jeux).
"It was very hard, 206 back-breaking kilometres," the 27 year-old commented the race to Diario Vasco. "At times there was rain. A break-away was chased down by our team, and in the finish I was the fastest one of a group."
He admitted that his competition form was quite good until Paris–Roubaix "When I finished, I was totally exhausted," Gaztañaga continued. "I had an important physical unwinding. The weekend passed and I began to compete again but I did not feel well.
"Now, I am better. I am a cyclist who always has to suffer a lot to reach a good competition form, but when I have it, I can win."
This season, he has already competed for 33 days, and he has still many more ahead. "Next week I will go to Portugal, then [Clásica a] Alcobenas. We are doing a lot of races, last year I only had 28 days of competition."