Rein Taaramae felt bad enough to drop out of the Vuelta earlier in the week, but decided to tough it out. He was rewarded for his effort by winning atop La Farrapona Saturday in the fourteenth stage.
The Cofidis rider, only 24 years old, was part of the break which got away only minutes after the stage started. He attacked with about 40km to go, with only David De La Fuente (Geox) able to go after him. The two rode together until De La Fuente stopped to wait for teammate Juan Jose Cobo.
“When I was first with David De La Fuente, I thought it would be difficult against the Spaniard,” Taaramae said to the Belga news agency.
It was the Estonian's first win since taking a stage and the overall title at the Tour de l'Ain in August 2009, apart from his national time trial win this year. “But after a series of beautiful top placings at several highly regarded races and finishing twelfth in the Tour and being runner-up as best young rider there, it was about time to win.”
It almost didn't happen. He rode Monday's time trial with a sore throat, finishing nearly 10 minutes down on winner Tony Martin. He spent Tuesday, the rest day, in bed with a 39°C fever.
“Wednesday I was hopelessly behind on the stage to La Covatilla. I only made it thanks to the support of team leader Stephane Auge. And look, today I am winning,” he concluded happily.