After La Rioja, País Vasco, Amorebieta, Asturias and Madrid, the Movistar Team has chained its sixth consecutive Spanish race this season with one victory or more as Carlos Barbero took Sunday’s honours on the final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León.
Following good performances from team-mates Dayer Quintana -5th at the opening day- and Richard Carapaz -4th at Saturday’s grueling Camperona mountain-top finish and also in the final GC-, the man from Burgos crowned a solid weekend for his team by claiming the sprint finish in León. The Spaniard had claimed the Cat-1 Alto de Foncebadón, the main difficulty on this 145km closing stage, just next to the GC group, and after good support from the Laguía-led squad, Barbero bested Estonian Mikhel Raim (ICA) and Russia’s Sergey Shilov (LOK) over the line.
It’s the third win for Carlos in 2017 -after the overall classification of the Volta ao Alentejo and a stage in the recent Vuelta a Madrid- and the 26th victory of the season for the Movistar Team, whose youngest, most promising riders again fared well against the international competition coming over to Spain.
Carlos Barbero: “Foncebadón is a long climb, 12 kilometers, so I decided to just go on my own pace from the foot of the ascent, so as to avoid reaching the sprint with much less energy that I’d do if I just saved my legs in that early climb. My team-mates were sensational: they waited for me, they put on the rhythm I asked them to, we bridged back to the front group and I could finish it off. Surely other rivals would have wanted me stay off that sprint and worked at the front to keep the gap, but my team-mates were really committed and did their job to perfection. This victory goes to them: they relied on me and I could only deliver to pay them back.
“It’s important for me to start a first season with a new team in such beautiful style. I feel like my Movistar Team career has started off well, that I’m fulfilling expectations, and I just hope to continue rewarding my team for everything they do for me. Now it’s time to think about the Hammer Series in early June, then the Route du Sud, the National Championships and – hopefully – some rest, because my season so far has already been long!”