In Spain they have a saying, veterans always know a little bit more and when Dani Moreno (Katusha) swung a leg over the bike this morning for stage 10 of the Vuelta a España, the 31-year-old says he knew he was in for a tough day.
Dropped about half way up the final Hazallanas climb, Moreno completed the climb in twelfth place, 2:22 back and slumped to sixth overall. And as the experienced pro told reporters afterwards, he had seen this bad day coming and could do nothing about it.
"That last climb was very tough, as soon as the stage started, I knew I wasn't on my best day," Moreno said. "Fortunately Purito [Katusha teammate Joaquim Rodriguez] was not so far back." Rodriguez finished fifth and in the same position overall, 24 seconds ahead of Moreno. "I just lost it today. I just hope this was my one bad day of the Vuelta."
He made no excuses of the fact that he came off in the neutralized section in a big crash, although the fact that "somebody's chainring ran into my knee didn't help. I was a little bit hurt by that, but there wasn't anything I could have done. You always notice something after a crash like that, but it wasn't really so bad."
Moreno's 'haul' from the Vuelta, in any case, is anything but poor. Rodriguez's right-hand man has taken two stage wins, had a day in the lead, his first ever in a Grand Tour, and is still atop of the points classification. From now on, though, it's safe to assume he will be concentrating solely on helping his friend and teammate Rodriguez net his first Grand Tour.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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