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"It was a special feeling to win my first race in the orange jersey, and I am happy for the team and myself. My teammates have done a tremendous job," Lobato says

Photo: Sirotti






13.04.2013 @ 19:57 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Having been unable to take a single victory in the first three months of the year, the Euskaltel team finally took its first win the first stage of the Vuelta a Catsilla y Leon yesterday. Today the team did it again and the day's victor Juan Jose Lobato was happy to take his first triumph in the orange jersey of his Basque team.


It had been a season of near-misses for the Euskaltel team until they lined up at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon but now the team seems to be on a roll. Not only did Pablo Urtasun bring home the team's first win yesterday, new signing Juan Jose Lobato doubled the team's tally with another triumph in today's stage.


Paradoxically the team usually known for its climbers is dominating the mass sprints of the Spanish stage race. However, this evolution was part of the team's plan and today's winner Lobato was just one of numerous sprinters brought into the team prior to the season, the others being Andre Schulze, Steffen Radochla, Jon Aberasturi and Alexander Serebryakov (who has since tested positive in a doping control).


After Urtasun's victory in yesterday's rising final stretch, today's finish was suited to the traditional bunch kick experts and the team chose to focus on their pure sprinter. The decision proved to be a wise one and the new signing was happy to finally win a race for the team which gave him the chance to perform on the largest stage.


"I am very happy to achieve this victory," he said. "Victories always come at a good time, but this time I think this phrase is more true than ever before. We have been doing things right but have missed the results. Now they start to roll in and I am delighted for the team. It was a special feeling to win my first race in the orange jersey, and I am happy for the team and myself. My teammates have done a tremendous job. I also dedicate this victory to my family and girlfriend who always support me and deserve this success."


After two stages on the plains of the Castilla y Leon region, the race's queen stage is on the menu tomorrow. Finishing atop a 2km climb with an average gradient of 7%, it is time for the Euskaltel team to shift its focus to its GC riders. While Lobato will probably step into the background, Urtasun is a strong climber with a punch on shorter hills and he could be a good option for the Basque team in tomorrow's race.


"Álvaro (sports director Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, ed.) is the man who determines our strategy and he will give me a specific task," Lobato explained. "Pablo is in great form. We are united and will work as a group to try to take the victory. We did that the last two days and have had positive results. Tomorrow we will work with the same enthusiasm."


The team enters tomorrow's stage with Lobato and Urtasun 2 seconds behind overall winner Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural) who has had two consecutive 2nd places.



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