By Monika Prell
Saunier had a really successful day on the first stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Yesterday, Juan José Cobo won the stage, José Angel Gomez Marchante finished fourth and Koldo Gil seventh. But there was also a negative surprise, Iban Mayo did not fulfil the expectations and lost 9'28" minutes to the winner.
Already in the first ascent to the Santa Barbara, he could not follow the rhythm of the other favourites and saw himself at the end of the disintegrating peloton. In the first metres of the Alto de Gabiria, where his team attacked with David De La Fuente, he had no more strength and fell further back.
According to the Spanish newspaper Deia, the reason for Mayo's problems are his pains in the left knee, consequences of his fall in Paris-Nice. Even if on Saturday, after a medical control, the possibility of a fracture was excluded, Mayo still has problems and feels a lot of pain.
Now he will draw the curtain over his personal objectives and help his team leaders José Angel Gomez Marchante and Koldo Gil to win the Vuelta al País Vasco.