Aitor Gonzalez explains how a small saddle adjustment set him on the road to success in Switzerland
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
It seems that just two millimetres separated Aitor Gonzalez from a largely frustrating performance at last month’s Giro from a winning display at the Tour of Switzerland this past week. That is the distance that the Euskaltel rider raised his saddle in an attempt to reduce the aches and pains that had afflicted him during the latter stages of the Giro.
The Swiss victory was not a surprise as such for Gonzalez, but the way he achieved it was. “It came in the opposite way to what I had been expecting,” he told AS. “The idea was to gain time in the time trial and hang on in the mountains. But I didn’t go well in the time trial and in the high mountains I rode more strongly than I did when I won the Vuelta [in 2002]. Up to now I’ve never been able to attack the favourites in the toughest mountains, I’ve just wanted to limit my losses.”
Surprisingly for most onlookers, Gonzalez is not expected to ride the Tour de France, but is being saved by his team for the Vuelta after a very busy couple of months. “If I was to go France I would end up paying for it in terms of fatigue,” he said. “I prefer to stop for a while and prepare full on for the Vuelta. Now I think I have got the condition to contend there and even win it.”
Gonzalez also explained that his lone attack on the final stage in Switzerland was based on a simple all-or-nothing strategy. “Those who know me well know that third place is the same to me as 10th. I noticed on the days beforehand that when I attacked I caused some damage and got a gap. The question was whether I could drop [Michael] Rogers. I knew that the climb was long and that I needed to have a good advantage at the top, so that’s why I attacked at the bottom of it,” said the Basque.