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"We know that we are working well, but it is true that you start to feel the pressure when you do not get the results. So this win is important and gives us plenty of confidence and calmness," Urtasun says

Photo: Sirotti






13.04.2013 @ 13:25 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Pablo Urtasun finally got his Euskaltel team off the ground when he outsprinted Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural) and Enrique Sanz (Movistar) at the end of the 1st stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon to take the team's first victory this season. Having felt increased pressure throughout the last few weeks, the Spaniard was happy to finally get that elusive win and he now hopes to be competitive in the battle for the overall victory.


There is no doubt that the Euskaltel-Euskadi team appreciate to have the fast finisher Pablo Urtasun in their ranks. He did not only take home the Basque team's last win in the 2012 season when he was the fastest of a 4-rider breakaway in the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain, today's victory made him break the team's winless streak in the early part of the 2012 season.


After winning their home race, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, last year, the team had much less success in the edition which finished just one week ago, and even though the team felt that they were on the right track, Urtasun admitted that they had started to feel some pressure.


"We are very happy and it was a very emotional victory, very nice, very expected," he said. "Yesterday we met with Igor (team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, ed.) and he gave us peace of mind. He told us that we did the right things and that the wins would come. In that sense, he brought us calmness. And the next day we managed to get our first victory."


"We know that we are working well, but it is true that you start to feel the pressure when you do not get the results. So this win is important and gives us plenty of confidence and calmness."


The stage had been highly stressful with the constant risk of crosswinds on the flat plains of the Castilla y Leon province and at some point 16 riders managed to go off the front when echelons were created. The Basque team was well-represented with Urtasun, Gorka Verudgo and Juan Jose Lobato all in the move and even though it was later brought back, Urtasun was happy to see his team stay attentive on a hard day of racing.


"Everyone have done a fantastic job," he said. "The crosswinds created many splits, but we always had at least 3 riders in the front group. My teammates have been phenomenal."


"After the climb with 30km to go, I had to ask them to catch the break and tighten the race. The final was complicated and it was important to keep calm. I did it already three years ago when I was second. Jorge (Azanza, ed.) and Gorka (Verdugo, ed.) were very strong in the last 4km. The finishing straight has an incline and is misleading. You usually go too hard and you will pay dearly. That's why I stayed calm and waited. When Lasca opened his sprint, Lobato took his wheel and then I started my sprint. Fortunately, it ended well."


The race continues with another flat stage today before the race will be decided in tomorrow's mountainous final stage. Urtasun is much more than a fast finisher and handles climbs rather well and so he does not exclude an improvement of last year's overall 3rd place.


"Now it's time to enjoy the victory," he said. "Tomorrow's final is different from today's. It is much flatter so it will be a bunch sprint. In paper, the third stage will determine the overall winner Arrival tomorrow different from today, is flatter, so The sprint will be massive. On paper but with the strong wind, you can lose the race any day. I will take it day by day."


Urtasun will be formidably supported by the likes of Mikel Nieve, Gorka Verdugo and Jorge Azanza in Sunday's queen stage.



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