Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Igor Antón showed impressive tenacity on the grueling penultimate stage of Vuelta a España. Antón was one of the first riders to attack. Ultimately, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) soloed to victory.
Starting in cold and rainy weather conditions, the peloton knew that Saturday’s stage 20 would be a very challenging one with three difficult climbs to overcome. However, the bad weather didn’t scare off Antón from attacking right from the beginning of the stage. The Basque climber has been suffering from intestinal problems the last week but he was determined to show off the team colors on the last day in the mountains.
A strong group with Antón managed to get away but the peloton never let the break get much of a gap. Contador wanted to win in his last mountain stage of his career and his team set a high pace in the pack. On the last descent towards the infamous Alto de l’Angliru, Contador attacked and got a gap. Antón was caught a bit earlier, leaving just a few riders ahead of Contador as he started on the last ascent of the Vuelta.
On the steep gradients, the soon-to-be-retired Spanish climber soloed away from everybody and pulled off an impressive victory, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) crossed the line in third place to keep – and virtually seal – the overall lead of the race. Antón is 35th overall before tomorrow’s final stage in Madrid.
“Today, I really wanted to give everything I had left to be in the break and I made it! However, the peloton didn’t give us much time. After the second big climb, I paid the price for my illness. I was completely empty but I’m happy I could show off the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka jersey and finish this really hard Vuelta. I want to thank everybody for their support”.