11/01/2020 – Stage 12 – 109,4 km – Mountain
La Pola Llaviana/Pola de Laviana > Alto de l’Angliru
“There is NO HIDING on the ANGLIRU” . DAN MARTIN seven words preview before he started the 109 km 12th stage in the LA VUELTA, that will end in the punishing legendary climb with its 20% Plus walls.
But here is the unique thing about DAN MARTIN: his inner self – a unique combination of passion and iron will – stands out, even on days when the result are not completely favorable.
Whoever witnessed Dan today during the last kilometers of the Angliru’s mind-boggling steep gradients knows exactly what we mean. He simply refused to give up, again and again, although confronted by the toughest of rivals. And indeed, one can also remember numerous other occasions during this Vuelta when Dan Martin left us with the same impression of awe and admiration for his fighting spirit.
It all unfolded in the last few kilometers when only eight top riders were left hanging.
Dan: “Angliru is more of a TT than a race. You just push the pedals as hard as you can, and at the top, you see the result. I felt good until the steeper sections near the top but just didn’t have the strength to push the pedals any harder”.
In the team car, our DS Oscar Guerrero was advising Dan to keep his pace even when some rivals were starting to drop him a bit. Dan did exactly that. “I did not want to go into my red zone, so I just kept my speed.”
Eventually, the pace set by Hugh Carthy (who won the stage) and Richard Carapaz (who took the leader jersey) was a bit too much. But Dan, who finished 7th and fell to 4th in GC (3 seconds behind Carthy) and 35 sec behind the leader – was content with the outcome.
“I did my best, so we have to be happy today. If you told us at the start that on the second rest-day we would be 35 seconds from the lead, we would have taken it for sure. Now, I hope to have a relaxing day tomorrow and recover to do a good TT on Tuesday.”
Pictures: Noa Toledo Arnon