Juan José Haedo stormed to victory today at the Dauphiné where he earned what he considers the most prestigious win of his career so far. He found a space on the left side of the road as the wind was blowing from the right and passed the Sky train in an impressive manner with a lot of power in the final 50 metres.
"I won't categorise myself as a specialist for this kind of bunch sprint," the Argentine said in a post-race press conference. "When there's no lead-out at the very end, you have to keep all perspectives open. I had to flow through these guys.
"I also needed to be lucky and find the right spot. There was a gap but it could have been closed as well. Luck was on my side. I've done keirin on the track before, that's where I learnt to find my way to the finish, knowing who is going good or not, knowing who is on the right and who is on the left side."
Haedo's first words were for his Saxo Bank team that had been the most active in the chase behind the breakaway of Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun). "The team has done a huge job today," the 29-year-old Argentine said. "We did it yesterday as well. Therefore it was better to finish the job with the win. It's a reward to the team that worked the best.
"This is one of my biggest wins," said Haedo, who collected his 27th pro win today and the second ProTour victory of his career after a stage at the Volta Catalunya in March earlier this year. "This is a race you normally watch on TV to see who is looking good for the Tour de France. It has a lot of prestige. It's a big race. It's one of the highlights of the calendar."
Haedo isn't at the Dauphiné to gear up for the Tour de France. "There are guys at Saxo Bank who can win the overall classification of the Tour," he said. "The team is based for GC and I'm not on the list. I'd like to do it in the future but this time it's all around the Schleck brothers."
Haedo's in his fourth season in Europe after sprinting to victory on many occasions on the American circuit, yet he's hardly a household name in Argentine sport. Argentina is a football-mad country and "J.J." will look closely at the performance of his compatriots at the World Cup in South Africa. Haedo knows, however, that his win at the Dauphiné will not give him much press.
"Maybe there will be a breaking news [story] but I'd need to win a stage at the Tour de France to make the headlines," he said. "If what I'm doing inspires some kids to start cycling in Argentina, I'll be happy with it. To be able to get a ProTour win three weeks before the Tour de France when everybody is almost ready for it means that I can deal with responsibilities in a big race."