Although he conceded 19 seconds in the Vuelta a España's first "real" mountaintop finish yesterday, Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jurgen Van den Broeck is happy with his performance in the Spanish grand tour. Currently fifth overall, the Belgian hopes to put some time into his Spanish GC rivals in Monday's time trial in Salamanca.
"I only had to let go in the end, so it's not so bad," Van Den Broeck told Belgian reporters in the finish in La Covatilla on Sunday. "I'm already happy just to be here, so why should I cry over those 19 seconds?"
Van Den Broeck, had suffered multiple fractures and a collapsed lung in July when he crashed out of the Tour de France on stage nine. His team management was also very satisfied with his showing. "Jurgen is only back to racing since one week. If you concede 19 seconds to the winner on the first real mountain pass, you surely can't complain," said sports director Dirk De Wolf.
His respectable performance on the the Vuelta's mountaintop finish has made him confident for what is still to come.
"The first balance sheet will be done in Salamanca [the 47km time trial on Monday - ed.]," he added. Omega Pharma's second sports director, Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, revealed that VDB's aim will be to put as much time into his rivals there as possible. "I can see that Jurgen has a lot of confidence. The way I see it, he can have a good strike at Rodriguez, Anton and a few others," said Heynderickx.
Joaquin 'Purito' Rodriguez, currently second overall, is expected to lose several minutes on the Salamanca course.