By Monika Prell
The happy Fuerteventura - Canarias rider said after the event, "I have never expressed myself so much on a bicycle. I broke away with three kilometres to go, and I never got a gap bigger than 16 seconds. I knew that Milram was coming quickly because they were preparing for the sprint for Alessandro Petacchi, so I had to suffer until the last meter. I even could not celebrate because I had Petacchi close on my heels."
The Spaniard laughed when he thought of the image of his finish. "The funny thing is that it seems like I won the sprint ahead of Petacchi, but in reality it was different. I could never beat Petacchi, no chance. I don't even have to try it!
"I attacked on the last mountain, and I went with another rival, until we had reached Kiryienka," said Palomares. "He was very strong, he won in Burgos, but he did not work with us, so at three kilometres to go, I tried to get away."
Palomares had plenty of experience in breaks to draw upon for this win. "That's really a recompense for me, because in the Volta a Portugal, I was in a break all total more than 430 kilometers, but in none of the three stages where I off the front could I win. They always caught me with only a few meters to go. Therefore I am so happy to have reached the finish line some meters in advance to the peloton and even in front of a cyclist of Petacchi's class."
Petacchi showed his respect for the Valencian winner. "Just after crossing the finish line, he came to me and congratulated me on the stage we'd done," said Palomares.