Igor Anton Wins Stage and Reclaims 2010 Vuelta a Espana Lead
Igor Anton (Team Euskaltel) wins stage 11 and reclaims overall 2010 Vuelta a Espana lead.
Specialist climber Igor Anton of Spain exaggerated his suffering on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday before launching a counter attack to take his second solo win of the race and regain the overall lead.
Ezequiel Mosquera was second, three seconds behind, on the race's only Pyrenean stage with Xavier Tondo making it an all-Spanish podium.
After appearing to struggle midway on the final ascent to Pal when he was dropped by Mosquera, Anton then attacked and roared past Mosquera with a kilometre.
The 27-year-old told reporters he had played up a momentary crisis in order to make his rivals over-confident.
"I was feeling a bit rough on the final climb and so I played it very cool and hung back when the attacks started," Anton said.
"At first I didn't count on a stage win, I just wanted to hang on to what I'd already got.
"But then halfway up I started feeling a lot better, and saw that other riders like (overnight leader Joaquim) Rodriguez and (Italian Vincenzo) Nibali were in trouble.
"So I got past them, and then managed to catch Ezequiel just in time to get the stage win."
The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, who briefly lost the leader's jersey on Tuesday, is 45 seconds ahead of Nibali in the overall standings and 1:04 in front of third-placed Tondo as the race heads into two flat stages.
"I never came to this Tour of Spain to win, so losing it won't be a disaster," Anton said.
"I've already led the race and I've got two stages in the bag and whatever happens nobody can take that away."
"Besides, I've never even won a small stage race since I turned professional (in 2005), so how can I possibly think about winning a big one like the Tour of Spain?"
Anton's next big challenge will come on Saturday's ascent of the first category Pena Cabarga climb close to Santander on Spain's northern coast on stage 14.
The Vuelta finishes in Madrid on September 19.
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