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“My ultimate dream is to win a Grand Tour”, Fernandez said. “I’m not there yet. I hope to get there step by step, with serenity. Firstly I want to become a Grand Tour rider. This kind of long racing suits me I think....

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24.01.2015 @ 08:10 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Riding his first event as a professional, Rubén Fernández was a revelation of the Tour Down Under decisive battle on the Willunga Hill, finishing third behind arguably the best climber of the event – Richie Porte, and his much smarter countryman Rohan Dennis. The 23-year old climber shared his impressions from first experiences with racing at the WorldTour level and reflected on the future of Spanish cycling.

 

A daring performance, which saw Fernández crossing the finish line atop Willunga Hill as first from the group including the likes of Cadel Evans and Tom Dumoulin, wasn't completely unexpected. The 23-year old Spaniard proved his climbing skills by winning the 2013 edition of the Tour de l'Avenir and did not hide his intentions to reach a top disposition for a WorldTour event held in Australia. Even though the Movistar rider aimed to repeat results obtained by his team-team mates Down Under and finish on the podium, fifth place in the general classification– only four seconds down on currently third Evans - cannot be entirely disappointing.

 

“I’m very happy”, Fernández told Cyclingnews in Adelaide after stage 4. “I had planned a first peak of form to do well here and my feelings are great. I like everything here: the weather, the organization, it’s super organized! Nothing is missing. The race is nervous, which is what I need to adjust myself to the racing conditions of the World Tour. It’s exactly what I heard from my three training mates, Rojas, Luis Leon and Valverde. We have a usual meeting point in Murcia to have breakfast together before riding.”

 

Considered a highly promising climber, Fernández reveals that, in fact, he is an extremely versatile cyclist and intends to develop his skills on every ground in order to become a strong Grand Tour contender.

 

“My ultimate dream is to win a Grand Tour”, he said. “I’m not there yet. I hope to get there step by step, with serenity. Firstly I want to become a Grand Tour rider. This kind of long racing suits me I think. I’m a climber. I also do well against the clock and I’m fast enough to sprint in a small group. This year, it’ll be about improving my cycling, learning the job, helping my team and trying to win a stage somewhere.”

 

While a remarkable generation of Spanish riders led by the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez or Samuel Sanchez slowly becomes a history and general opinion suggest that there is no one to follow their footsteps, the 23-year old Movistar rider categorically disagrees.

 

Fernández believes that along with his countrymen Carlos Verona and David de la Cruz they will be able to take over reins, but points out that while there are plenty of talented young riders originating from the Iberian peninsula, lack of development teams to support their progress is a real problem.

 

“There is a lot of talk about the continuity in Spanish cycling”, Fernández said.

 

“Samuel Sanchez just retired. Valverde, Contador and Purito are still very strong albeit getting old. It’s not going to be difficult to replace that generation, it’s just impossible. But we’ll try. It’s wrong to say that there’s no one after them. Other climbers like Carlos Verona and David De La Cruz have a good future I think. Contador is doing a great job with his foundation to develop young riders. There’s still quality in Spanish cycling. What’s missing are teams for riders to step up.”

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