By Bjorn Haake on the Alto de l'Angliru
Swiss rider Oliver Zaugg climbed his way up the Vuelta's overall classification with a strong ride on the Alto de L'Angliru. The Gerolsteiner rider moved from 15th to 10th after he was able to end the day in the top 10, less then two and a half minutes after new overall leader Alberto Contador (Astana).
Zaugg was very happy with his performance. He recalled that the race began with a comfortable rhythm which was rather enjoyable, then things changed rapidly. "At the next to last mountain it started to get really fast. They went into the penultimate climb full speed and the group splintered." Zaugg noted that the group shrunk very quickly.
The descent down the Cordal posed less of a problem for the Gerolsteiner rider. "I was riding down well. You have to ride in the front and pay attention, of course. The dangerous part was the loose gravel."
Then came the ascent of the Angliru. "The final climb was unbelievable. I had not seen it before. It is something you should do at least once..." Zaugg felt fine with his gear choice of 34x27. With the roads being dry, he opted for a 27, while some of his rivals decided to go for a 29.
Of course, Zaugg noticed the large number of fans on the side of the road. "The spectators were unbelievable, I was surprised. They screamed and yelled." The support is always welcome to the riders, but only if it stays with cheering and yelling. "Of course, there were also the odd idiots who were standing in the way."
Zaugg also noticed the Spanish riders had a distinct advantage of getting frequent pushes up the steep sections. In fact, some pushes to Valverde were more than just a little clap on the back. This could warrant some penalties.
Zaugg had thought about a solution to the problem. "I was thinking of putting on an Euskaltel jersey today," he joked.