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The strategy was trying to attack from the foot of the climb with Javi Moreno. He did jump twice, but couldn't get a gap, and I profited from a quick stop by the field to try [and make] a move.

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14.04.2013 @ 18:47 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Spaniard victorious after a four-year unfortunate streak, takes queen stage and overall at Vuelta a Castilla y León to continue Movistar Team's record in the race.

 

The last of 41 riders making it into the queen stage within just 12 seconds, few were confident enough to bet on Rubén Plaza's chances to win the 28th Vuelta a Castilla y León. However, the Spaniard has brought his indisputable class - double Spanish road champion, top-5 finisher in the Vuelta and the ITT Worlds - back to the spotlight after several years of injuries and claimed a convincing win atop the Parador in Cervera de Pisuerga, the hardest finish in this year's Castilian stage race.

 

The three km climb was preceded by continuous ups and downs where Eloy Teruel always defended Movistar’s interests in the day's break. After a thrilling day, Plaza proved to be the strongest by jumping from the elite group just after the 2 km banner to keep a slender advantage that, combined with the bonus seconds, allowed him to claim the stage and the overall win.

 

Thus the rider from Ibi in Alicante extends Movistar's domination in the event - Movistar also claimed the teams' overall - with the last three editions being conquered by a rider from the telephone squad; Tondo (2011), Moreno (2012), Plaza (2013).

Plaza took two seconds on Francisco Mancebo (5HR), seven on Carlos Barbero (EUK) and eleven over a first pursuit group led by José Joaquín Rojas, who gave a display of truly regular performances all race with fourth places in all three stages and a sixth in the overall, and puts an end to a long unsuccessful streak - his last victory came on stage six in the 2009 Volta a Portugal - lasting nearly three and a half years.

 

Now, after going through a serious injury, a tibia and fibula fractured in 2011, Plaza is back to winning ways.

“It's been almost four years and, after everything I went through, it's a massive victory for me,” explained Plaza after the race. “I knew my condition was good because I spent ten days at home after the Volta a Catalunya, training well and taking some rest - all feelings were good, but getting from that to winning a race... it's a really different thing. The strategy was trying to attack from the foot of the climb with Javi Moreno. He did jump twice, but couldn't get a gap, and I profited from a quick stop by the field to try [and make] a move. I knew I could win the overall during the attack, because I saw Mancebo behind and knew he had scored no bonus seconds. For me, this victory means a lot. It was almost a matter of honour, and I can't deny I had lost confidence about winning again at some point.  I'm the only one who knows how hard these two years have been. It's been a huge pain in the ass, this injury - I almost had to start from zero, because I lost all muscle tone, and even today I think the leg is still recovering. This victory is kind of a light at the end of the tunnel, a massive boost of confidence for me.”

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