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"And now the ball is in my hands. I will put all my eggs in one basket and hope that things go well. If they don’t, it is just sport, nothing more than that. I look forward to talking about my results.”

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson

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01.11.2014 @ 14:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This weekend Igor Anton will be in the Pyrenees for his final vacation before he starts the preparation for his second season at Movistar. It will be an important year after a 2014 season that he characterizes and “poor and dark” and in which he has not been at his best. “Throughout the year I missed something. I won’t hide that,” he tells Biciciclismo in an interview. In 2015 he wants to “be at a higher level” and hopes to return to the Vuelta a Espana.

 

When Euskaltel-Euskadi folded, Igor Anton found himself in a difficult situation, unable to find a new team for the 2014 season. When Movistar got a free spot due to Alejandro Marque’s doping case, he was thrown a lifeline by the Spanish squad and was expected to play a key role for his captains in the grand tours while also chasing personal results in the one-week races.

 

The season never panned out as Anton had hoped. Even though he was part of the team that supported Nairo Quintana in the Giro d’Italia, he failed to make his own impact in the races where he was allowed to play his own card.

 

“It was a season of change, very poor and dark,” he told Biciciclismo in an interview. “On the one hand, I had the joy of winning the Giro with Nario (Quintana) and at times I had my personal opportunities but I failed to take advantage of them. Secondly, I wanted to be better in the second part but for many reasons, including illness and things outside the sport – my mother recently died – I had the disappointment of not doing the Vuelta. It is a race that has always been good for me and which I have always done except for my first year. I hope that I will return in the future.”

 

The highlight of Anton’s season was being part of the team that won the Giro.

 

“It was very nice and at the same time very demanding,” he said. “The challenge was very important. It is hard to have the leader when you have to control the race and try to stabilize the situation but Nairo demonstrated extraordinary ability and the team got along very well, but not without tension. On the last day when we won the Giro, it was historic. Although Nairo and Alejandro (Valverde) are very good, it is never easy to win a grand tour. With Nairo, we won in Burgos and nearly won Tirreno. When you are with him, you have options. In the Giro, he was ill but still showed resilience. I got the memories of the Zoncolan (where he won in 2011, ed.) back.

 

“I know I was not at the level I wanted. I wanted to be better. Overall we took turns at supporting Nairo. One day, it was Herrada, another day it was Capecchi, not to mention the hard work done by Malori and Ventoso in the moments with lots of tension, of Amador, Castroviejo… Being a relatively young team in the Giro, we learned a lot for the future, especially about how to work in a grand tour when you have the leader. That is not easy.”

 

Anton got his own chances in the Giro del Trentino and the Criterium du Dauphiné. In both races, he started well before fading near the end.

 

“I was very frustrated and angry after Trentino. I was third before the final stage. I need to make amends for that. It’s something that I will try to turn around next year. Being third with one stage to go, I dreamed about the podium but I failed. I missed it. And in the Dauphiné, I was up against Froome and Contador just before the Tour. All year I missed something. I won’t hide that. I lost my mother which didn’t help me but I won’t use it as an excuse. Next year I hope to put things together and improve the details”

 

The big disappointment for Anton came in August when he was taken off the roster for the Vuelta a Espana.

 

“This year my health worked against me before the Vuelta a Burgos but I still expected to go. That I missed out in the end was a shame but I understand that the requirements were great with Nairo and Alejandro. The team had lots of options when selecting riders. Maybe it all went wrong before I fell ill. I was still happy with my results in San Sebastian and Lagunas de Neila (the Vuelta a Burgos queen stage, ed.) but the next day I had a crash and I never recovered. I was not selected and I fully respect that. Hopefully, I will not have similar problems next time and I will earn my spot.”

 

2014 was Anton’s first at the Movistar team after having been with Euskaltel for his entire career.

 

“The adaptation went really well,” he said. “We felt like a family. I had no problems or anything to complain about. In that sense, I am happy. Mayby it cost be that I had to change role. I still have a lot to learn. Sometimes you don’t know when to use your energy. These are the details. The transition year also cost a bit after having been with the same team for years and knowing how everything worked. I hope that this year has taught me how to work and that I will be better next year.”

 

Anton now has big hopes for 2015.

 

“Yes, that what I have to do,” he says when asked whether he has bigger expectations for 2015. “I would like to have more personal results. I don’t care about what races I will get my chance but it would be nice to be among the best at some point. And I want to have a higher level. I think I am not far off but the fact is that cycling becomes more complicated. You have to do everything right. There are good riders without a team. I understand that. And now the ball is in my hands. I will put all my eggs in one basket and hope that things go well. If they don’t, it is just sport, nothing more than that. I look forward to talking about my results.”

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