Spain ready to play various cards at world championships

Spain is one of the big favourites for victory in the Elite men's road race in Limburg, and with Oscar Freire, Samuel Sanchez, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez in their nine-man squad, it is not hard to see why. But how can a team with so many top riders decide on who works for who?

“We’ve got a saying in Spain which is ‘better too much luxury than too little,’” responded Juan Antonio Flecha, whose role is expected to be one of the ‘team captains’ on the road with Pablo Lastras. This leaves just Dani Moreno and Jonathan Castroviejo as Spain’s only domestiques.

“A Worlds that is always unpredictable, it’s better to keep your options open,” Flecha said.

“I’m not going to give anything away and we’ve got a team meeting this [Saturday] afternoon to reach a final decision,” he said, “But I expect both Moreno and Castroviejo to have a very big team role. It’s not that hard a circuit and we rode the first 100 kilometres as well and that wasn’t so difficult, but a lot will depend on the weather. If it’s windy or raining, it could be very different. For me, either way, the Belgians are our biggest rivals.”

Joaquim Rodriguez - the last Spaniard to take a top three result in the road-race, a bronze back in 2009 in Mendrisio, is ready for any possible outcome.

“The Worlds is so different a race to any other that you have to be prepared to adapt for all sorts of different circumstances. If it breaks up, for example, Alejandro [Valverde] could have an option,” he said.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, 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. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.