4/16/2013 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Plaza solos to overall Castilla y Leon victory
Vuelta a Castilla y Leon 2013
Mancebo puts US domestic team 5 Hour Energy on the map
Ruben Plaza (Movistar) confirmed he has at last returned to top form by jumping away to win the final stage and overall victory of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. It was Plaza's first win since the 2009 Volta a Portugal, and a good sign he has recovered from a lingering injury.
"It's been almost four years and, after everything I went through, it's a massive victory for me. I knew my condition was good because I spent ten days at home after the Volta a Cataluyna, training well and taking some rest - all feelings were good, but getting from that to winning a race... it's a really different thing," Plaza said.
The Spaniard broke his tibia and fibula in a crash in the 2011 Vuelta a Murcia when he went off the road on a descent, and without race radios had to try and shout to the race caravan for help. The injury also included ligament damage, and took longer than expected to rehabilitate.
"It's been a huge pain in the ass, this injury - I almost had to start from zero, because I lost all muscle tone, and even today I think the leg is still recovering," Plaza said. "This victory is kind of a light at the end of the tunnel, a massive boost of confidence for me. I want to dedicate this to the surgeon that operated on me, Ignacio Ginebreda, and physio Jordi Reig, who controlled my rehab. Without them, it would have been impossible to overcome that injury."
Plaza attacked on the final climb, leaving behind an elite group at the 2km to go banner, and soloing in just ahead of Francisco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy/Kenda), with Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) holding off a large group behind for third on the stage. Plaza and Mancebo claimed the top two spots overall, while previous leader Francisco Lasca (Caja Rural) dropped to third.
"For me, this victory means really a lot. It was almost a matter of honour, and I can't deny I had lost confidence on winning again at some point - being the rider I had been again seemed impossible. I'm the only one who knows how hard these two years have been."
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Photo: © Pasados de Volta