Santiago Perez holds his locket to the sky. (c) Unipublic.
Santi Perez - an end to two black years...
With his victory today in Granada, Santi Perez has put an end to two “black”
years. In the words of the rider himself: “I have had two black years in which
absolutely everything has happened to me. Although I am very happy today, this
stage win is no compensation for the situations I have had to live through
recently. I would like to dedicate this triumph to my girlfriend and to her
whole family. I have been two years looking for this victory. My girlfriend died
in a traffic accident and the victory has been for her.
The consequences of the loss of his girlfriend were disastrous to the career
of a rider who has suffered numerous injuries and who was signed by Alvaro
Pino's Phonak as a possible team leader following a brilliant performance in the
Following such a negative period, Perez is in condition to fight for a place
on the podium, although the Asturian prefers to be cautious: “I am 5th overall
at the moment and I feel in good form, although I imagine that today's efforts
will effect me during tomorrow's mountain time trial. Additionally, I am some
distance behind the leading three riders. At least I have won a stage.”
"My form is good and it has not changed, now what will change is my mental
state. I am a little distant in the head, but I will continue fighting, although
it will be difficult. I believe that there are people who are reserved [to win]
the Sierra Nevada's crono." Further, the general classification is not Santi's
objective. He says, "Heras is a fantastic rider and I believe that he, Mancebo
and Valverde will fight tomorrow for the victory. Also, my objective is already
fulfilled with today's stage and I'm not concerned about the general
Perez said of today's tactics: "I attacked from down below today to capture
the necessary distance from the summit to allow me to arrive at the finish
alone. I attempted it when I saw that the group was selected. The ascent was
narrow with good asphalt. We ran the minimum of risks. After two years I am well
again and I thank Alvaro Pino for the trust he has had in me. I have tackled the
important climbs with Heras and the rest of favorites and that has given me
morale and strength. Having won a stage of the Turn is my biggest achievement."
"I have a contract with the Phonak until the season end and the negotiation
are in hands of Tony Rominger because the team has interest in continuing. In
the Vuelta ago two years old I fell when I was second in the general
classification. I lost consciousness, but I have recovered.”
Perez and Saunier Duval's Zaballa. (c) Unipublic.
Santi Perez began his cycling career with the Barbot team, with which he won
a stage in the Tour of Portugal. That victory led to his signing by Vicente
Belda's Kelme, where he was soon to show signs of his quality in the Tour of
Romandy and the Giro d´Italia, in which he was able to compete with the best
until being forced to abandon. His signing to Phonak was not welcomed by Belda,
who had harsh words for Pino at the time. Now, two years later, Perez finally
sees the light at the end of the tunnel in Granada.
1 Stage Vuelta a España
7th Tour of Aragon
10th Tour of Andalusia
29th Tour of Switzerland
49th Tour de France
2nd Escalada Montjuic
6th Setmana Catalana
20th Vuelta País Vasco
44th Vuelta a España
4th Tour of Romandia
28th Tour of Basque Country
1st Stage 7 Tour of Portugal
13th Agostinho Trophy
The peloton on the road (and off) today. (c) Unipublic.
The Fassa Bortolo rider Fabio Sacchi, who suffered a fall at kilometer 60 of
the Málaga-Granada stage was given an all clear by doctor Lara after being
examined in a hospital of Granada. Sacchi was transferred in ambulance after a
spectacular fall. Examinations and imaging were done which have determined that
Sacchi has not suffered any serious injuries, other than abrasions and bruises.
He left the hospital under his own steam.
Thoughts on Today and Tomorrow
Alejandro Valverde: "The important thing today is that I have not lost time
with regard to the best. It has surprised me to not see Landis and Beltrán among
the front group. Tomorrow there will be big differences, I also hope to do
well." The leader of Kelme didn't mince words - he will be fighting for the
Isidro Nozal: "We [in the team] have been able to climb comfortably because
there have not been important attacks until the end when Valverde came out, and
for that we were able to climb with good rhythm."
The Cantabrian dreams of a podium place in Madrid, but says, "It is a little
complicated, but tomorrow we will begin to see how it will shape up."
The Liberty Seguros warns, however, "I hope people don't decide that
tomorrow's winner will be the overall winner - they are still so many days of
mountains. Tomorrow is not the end of the Vuelta."
Uphill time trial on the Sierra Nevada. Just under 30 km, with a serious
uptilt onto today's Alto de Monachil, then climbing on up the Sierra Nevada. It
will be hot at the start - 32-33 degrees (over 90 degrees) - though up on the
Sierra Nevada it will be significantly cooler (19C/66F) and perhaps a bit
The bookies are perhaps not so convinced that some of the
popular favorites - Mancebo, Nozal, Landis, Heras, etc. - are the deal of the
day. Bookie consensus varies, and the most interesting we found was a stage
winner tomorrow between Heras, Nozal, Valverde, Mancebo and Cunego. We must wait and see. Heras won last year's uphill time trial on the Alto
de Abantos, of course, but comparisons may be few. Last year it was the
penultimate stage, it was less than half the distance of tomorrow's contest, and
as his teammate Nozal said today, Sunday is not the end of the Vuelta.
You can give your opinion about the stage on the new Daily
in the meantime, here are tomorrow's odds over at MrBookmaker:
The Field (all other riders) 3.00
S. Perez 9.00
Climbing the Alto de Manochil. (c) Unipublic.