Spanish climber from Movistar Team takes 3rd in Cerler; conquers maiden stagerace win with Telefónica-backed squad after splendid work from Blues -19 wins so far in 2018-, brilliant late support by Soler

It wasn’t easy by any means for the Movistar Team to claim overall honours at the 2018 Vuelta a Aragón, the squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena having to put all their cards on the table to ultimately secure the GC with Spanish youngster Jaime Rosón. The Zamora native finished 3rd at the top of the Ampriu (Cat-1), closing climb of the 126km stage three from Sabiñánigo, after phenomenal work from all of his six team-mates before the ascent.

The labout of the Telefónica-backed squad started with long turns from Castrillo, Arcas, Bennati and Barbero in pursuit of the day’s break, and was continued by Héctor Carretero’s nice pace through the first half of the Cerler climb. A strong relay from Marc Soler preceeded Rosón’s accelerations with less than 6km remaining, giving the Spaniard a handful of seconds over a pursuit group including Javi Moreno (DMP) and Rein Taaramäe (TDE), tied with Rosón in the standings.

A regrouping with 2km to go made possible for Mikel Bizkarra (EUS) to launch a solo attack that would bring him the day’s victory, a success that could have been double without the decisive reincorporation to the G2 by Marc Soler -6th overall-,preventing any doubts from hampering Rosón’s chances and pushing hard for Jaime’s maiden pro stagerace success, his third pro win and the Movistar Team’s 19th victory in 2018. A victory long sought for the past three days which gave Rosón a reward after amazing consistency all over the season, with top-ten results in Algarve (6th), Tirreno-Adriatico (8th) and Madrid (4th).

REACTION / Jaime Rosón:

“I was convinced I could aim at the overall victory here in Aragón. Eusebio offered me to take a break after Madrid, but I really wanted to get a success. The whole team have worked amazingly well for the last three days. I’m sad I couldn’t offer them a stage win to make up for the great job they’ve done, but the most important thing is that we’ve got the overall success on the bag – that makes me also really happy.

“The final climb became harder than we expected. Looking at the forecast, we hoped for the winds to be blowing on our tail into the last climb, but it was a headwind – and that really hurt me a lot. We wanted to pick up the pace form the beginning and I jumped with 6km to go, surely too early considering the wind, but I had to give it a try, that’s what really counted today. I was able to open a gap quickly, but I couldn’t increase the advantage and was caught with 2km to go. After that, I focused on doing everything I could to win the GC. The help by Marc in the final kilometer, as with the rest of the team all day, was fundamental.

“I’ve always been up there all season, but I lacked a bit of energy to fight for the wins. It’s always beautiful for one to raise his arms victorious after a mountain-top finish, but claiming my first pro GC win is another great feeling, too. Now it’s time to enjoy what we’ve achieved, have a bit of fresh air after big efforts since February and then try to get to Dauphiné in good form so I can support my team-mates. This victory is for everyone who’s always been by my side, especially my family, my girlfriend and all of my friends. Aragón has been a beautiful race, and I hope it remains in the calendar for many more years. Our two Aragonian youngsters -Castrillo, who will do great things as a pro, and Arcas, who should be doing strong as soon as he gets to 100% following his injury- were impressive, as with the rest of the team.”