Posthuma's form a plus

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) won

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) won (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

There was a pleasing symmetry to Joost Posthuma's win in the Vuelta a Andalucia on Thursday. He became the first Dutchman since his current boss, Erik Dekker, to win the early-season Spanish stage race.

Dekker won it in 2001, and Posthuma took this year's edition with a strong performance early in the event before holding on during the last day with the help of Denis Menchov and Juan Antonio Flecha. With the absence of Nick Nuyens, Maarten Tjallingii and Bram Tankink through illness, it was going to be a hard task.

The quality of his two helpers - one of them a Grand Tour winner - shone through, however. "When you see how those guys worked today... it's just great," Posthuma said after the finish. "This is a victory for the whole team."

The timing of Posthuma's form is a boost for the Rabobank team, which confirmed that Spanish sprinter Osar Freire will miss Milan-Sanremo and probably Tirreno-Adriatico (see above). It's also a good sign that Flecha is finding his legs early in the year, given that he'll again be targeting the northern Classics.

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