Spaniard earns second Vuelta stage win of career
This April after Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) crashed in the Amstel Gold Race, he gave teammate, roommate and close friend Dani Moreno the role of leader in Flèche Wallonne. And the 31-year-old Madrileño responded to perfection, claiming the victory for Katusha.
Fast forward four months and Moreno was once again given the green light by Rodriguez - as roommate and teammate - to try for his own moment of glory, but on this occasion in the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España.
Rodriguez is uninjured this time around, and biding his time for the crunch moments of the race in the second and third weeks. But in the first week, after Moreno showed remarkably uneven form - suffering in the team time trial to keep in contact on the final climb into Sanxenxo, but then second on the next stage to the Alto de la Groba behind Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) - on stage four the Katusha Spaniard clinched the victory.
Moreno's double acceleration - first to reach Juan Antonio Flecha (Vancansoleil-DCM) and then again to go for his first win since Fleche this spring - was timed to perfection, and the veteran climber revealed afterwards he had been "practicing to make sure I got it right."
"Movistar had been driving really hard, but that kind of tough stage and fast finish suits me," Moreno, who won in the Vuelta on the Sierra Nevada summit finish in 2011, said afterwards.
"I had a lot of help from [teammate Luca] Paolini early on, then I went for it from a long way out. I think that surprised quite a few people."
Although his next targetted stage is in Valdepeñas de Jaén's grindingly steep kilometre climb on stage nine, he denied there was any possibility of a leadership change in Katusha, even though he is currently better placed than Purito.
"Today was a good day for me, another day will be good for him," he said. "I'm not trying to be the leader."