Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chechu Wins Queen Stage @ Tour of Murica

Jose Luis “Chechu” Rubiera won the queen stage in the Tour of Murcia after a thrilling finale. With three kilometers to go, Rubiera attacked in the streets of Totana. Only two other riders, out of the front group of 12, could close the gap. In the sprint, Chechu, the veteran of Astana Cycling Team, was faster than Aitor Pérez and Vasil Kyrienka. Alberto Contador finished 7th, Antonio Colom 9th.

It was snowing on the last climb of the day, the Alto Collado Bermejo. In those terrible conditions, five riders reached the top still 30 kilometers from the finish, with 30 seconds advantage: Alberto Contador, Stefano Garzelli, Alejando Valverde, Ricardo Serrano and Ezequiel Mosquera. In the descent, seven riders including Rubiera and Colom, were able to catch the leaders. Garzelli gave the strongest impression, but Chechu Rubiera was the cleverest rider.

“3 K from the finish was the perfect moment to attack”, said the happy Asturian rider. “Toni Colom didn’t feel strong enough to attack. Neither did I, but I tried. And it worked. More than having good legs, you have to be lucky in such situations. The legs were good of course. Already in the Tour of California, you could see that I had the good shape.”

This victory will not change Rubiera’s plans to end his cycling career at the end of this season. The ideal team mate participated in 19 big Tours (four times top ten in GC and two stage victories in Giro d’Italia), “It is super nice to stop with these feelings. It is time to do something else. The decision has been taken. Definite for sure.”

“What a day. We were so close to cancelling this stage. It was dangerous in the peloton. With a few riders, and I was one of them, we wanted to cancel the stage after 40 kilometers. We stopped riding, but after a short discussion, we went further. I don’t regret it any more. For me it is a nice victory but without Alain, Toni, Alberto, Jani, Benjamin, Sergio, Daniel and Maxim, it would have been impossible.”

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