Rojas was the only rider to stay with Contador on the final time up the Desierto de Las Palmas climb and then had little problem in beating the Tour de France favourite. Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won the sprint for third place, 28 seconds down on the duo.
Movistar had four other riders in the top ten, with Jesús Herrada Lopez taking fourth, Angel Madrazo Ruiz was fifth and Pablo Lastras Garcia was sixth. Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) was seventh.
Rojas emotionally pointed to the sky and hugged his teammate after winning the red and yellow Spanish champion’s jersey. He movingly remembered former teammate Xavier Tondo, who died in a domestic accident in May, and Mauricio Soler, who suffered head injuries in a crash at the Tour de Suisse.
"This is a really emotional victory. It seems like we're having a run of bad luck with all terrible accidents we’ve suffered but we're still taking really important victories. This win has to be dedicated for two people: Xavi Tondo, who will surely feel happy up there, and Mauricio Soler, who is still recovering from his crash in Switzerland,” he said in a statement issued by his team.
“I have always said I wasn't only a sprinter, I feel more like a rider for one-day races like today and I hope to keep improving in this way. I showed my form was really good at the Tour de Suisse, and this victory was the confirmation of my form.”
“We knew from the start that Contador was the strongest rider. He's the best climber in the world, and so we tried to make the race difficult for everyone so we could go with him in the key moment of the race I gave everything on the last climb to keep his wheel because I knew there would be a reward at the end. I never though we’d be caught because we were strong and worked well together.”
Rojas will proudly wear the Spanish jersey at the Tour de France and hopes to fight for the green points jersey and stage wins.
“This obvious gives me more moral for my goal of winning a stage. I finished fourth the green jersey competition last year and that shows that I was up there. I think there are some selective finishes that suit me pretty well this year too."
Contador plays it cool before the Tour de France
Despite missing out on the red and yellow champion’s jersey, Contador insisted he was happy with the outcome of his first road race since winning the Giro d’Italia and his last before starting next week’s Tour de France.
“The course didn’t suit me but I'm happy because it seems that my legs are slowly getting better,” he pointed out in a statement.
“I am very happy with the result and perhaps more with the great work of my team, despite having only three riders they gave me a good position to attack. We had Benjamin on the flat, then Dani on the first part of the climb, with Jesus making the final selection. After that it was very easy to attack.”
Contador sportingly praised Rojas and explained is race strategy.
“I did what I could but I was also looking at my watts. I noticed that Rojas was riding well in Switzerland and was very strong. I didn’t want to go away alone because I knew there was a lot of riding after the climb.”
Contador played down that the race gave any indication about his form going into the Tour de France. He still seems focused on recovery from the Giro d’Italia and hinted he intends to have a very quiet week before travelling to France.
“It wasn’t a very hard climb, although it was hot and we did 210km which was hard. I think my real fitness and ability to perform will be seen in the Tour. I have to wait and see how I feel because since the Giro I’ve focused on resting and will do the same until the start of the Tour.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team||5:01:25|
|2||Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard||0:00:01|
|3||Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:00:28|
|4||Jesús Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team|
|5||Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team|
|6||Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team|
|7||Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling|
|8||Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team|
|9||Victor Cabedo (Spa) Orbea Continental|
|10||Marcos Garcia (Spa) KTM - Murcia|
|11||Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|12||Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team|
|13||Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|14||Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team|
|15||David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team|
|16||Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team|
|17||Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:00:33|
|18||Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:42|
|19||Jesus Rosendo Prado (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|20||Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Orbea Continental|
|21||Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Miche - Guerciotti|
|22||Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Onda|
|23||José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural|
|24||Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|25||Vicente David Bernabeu Armengol (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|26||Iván Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|27||David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team|
|28||Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Realcyclist.com|
|29||Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|30||Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMC|
|31||Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team|
|32||Patxi Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) De Rosa - Ceramica Flaminia||0:03:14|
|33||Alejandro Marque Porto (Spa) Onda|
|34||Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|35||Noel Martin Infante (Spa) Orbea Continental|
|36||Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Lampre - ISD|
|37||Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team|
|38||José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team|
|39||Raul Alarcon Garcia (Spa) Barbot - Efapel|
|40||Pascual Orengo Lopez (Spa) Burgos 2016 - Castilla y León||0:05:09|
|41||Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Burgos 2016 - Castilla y León|
|42||Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne|
|43||José Luis Roldan Carmona (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|44||Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada|
|45||Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|46||David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMC|
|47||Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|48||Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|49||Aritz Etxebarria (Spa) Orbea Continental||0:08:09|
|50||Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille|
|51||Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|52||Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard|
|53||Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|54||Rubén Reig Conejero (Spa) Caja Rural|
|55||Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|56||Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard|
|57||Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC|
|58||Manuel Anton (Spa) Burgos 2016 - Castilla y León|
|59||Alberto Morras Fernandez (Spa) Onda|
|60||Arturo Mora Ortiz (Spa) Caja Rural|
|61||Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team|
|62||Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Orbea Continental|
|63||Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard|
|64||Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Movistar Team|