By Bjorn Haake in Viveda
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) is currently lying in fifth place overall in the Vuelta a España. Tomorrow's stage will see if he can confirm his current GC position. The winner of the Clasica a Alcobendas in May, Mosquera moved himself into fifth overall with two strong performances in the mountains on stage 7 and stage 8.
The 32-year-old told Cyclingnews that had the perfect plan to get ready for Saturday's battle on the steep final climb of the Angliru. "I rested a lot today to get ready for tomorrow. I only rode and hour and a half, maybe two hours." This was the right mix for him. "Just enough to not lose my rhythm, but to still have some rest." There was no question to do some steeper hills, either. "There is a three-kilometre climb here, but it is very mellow."
Mosquera will opt for a gearing that he generally doesn't use. "I will have either a 34x29 or a 34x28. It will be tough as there may be some problems with the traction, too. You have to make sure to use the gearing so you can get the climb up while being seated." The Angliru is steep enough that simple sounding problems can become quite decisive.
Mosquera usually prefers the rain, but was hoping for different weather on Saturday. "For tomorrow, I hope it won't rain, as it makes the descents really treacherous. Just it being cold with the roads dry would be good enough," he smiled.
Mosquera is one of the riders who knows the Angliru well. Many don't even want to train on it, but Mosquera sought it out. "I have done it at the end of July in training. It is very tough. I don't know the Mortirolo or other mythical climbs, but it is definitely the hardest climb I have ever seen."
Despite having done the climb and having had a good Vuelta so far, Mosquera made no predictions on what he could do. "I don't know. It really depends on how my legs are and how the other [riders] are doing. If you feel good you will try to storm the race, otherwise you will just want to finish as well as you can."
His good performances in 2008 have put Mosquera into the pre-selection of the Spanish National Team for the Worlds. But if he will make it in the end, he wasn't sure. "The final selection will be made after the Vuelta. We will see then."
It certainly isn't easy to get selected into the Spanish team these days, with such a large group of top professionals. Although Mosquera thought that it is really in the stage races where Spain shines. "We do have some specialists for the one-day races, like Valverde or Freire. But generally, I think those races suit the riders from the northern European countries more."