Swift takes final stage as Tondo claims race

Sun, 17 Apr 17:13:00 2011

Team Sky's Ben Swift won the final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, sprinting to victory in Medina del Campo.

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The 23-year-old was part of the chasing pack that hauled in a breakaway with two kilometres remaining before cruising away from Francisco Ventoso and Ruben Perez to claim the win.

Xavier Tondo finished safely back in the field to claim the general classification title, maintaining his nine second lead over Bauke Mollema and 19 second lead over Igor Anton, who came third.

"We knew that it wasn't going to be easy, and even though there wasn't much wind, it was a fast stage, the breakaway did not get formed until the 80th kilometer and we were a bit nervous at some point," said Tondo.

"The group even got split into two, and when you see a victory is so close to you, it's easy to get worried, but the team again was sensational and we had no problems to keep the jersey.

"To tell the truth, I had a strong desire to win a stage race again.

"Since I won the 2007 Volta a Portugal, I took no other victories and went too close so many times: second in Asturias in 2008; second in Andalusia and Burgos and 3rd in Madrid, in 2009; second in Catalunya last season...I was really willing to do well in any of the three big races in the beginning of the year (Paris-Nice, Catalunya and País Vasco), and for some reason I couldn't cope with it.

"I lost my top-ten place in Paris-Nice in the final day and went into 5th and 6th in the other two, but I was having a bitter taste and wanted to do something else.

At the end, the victory came from where I didn't expect it to happen, because theoretically, I was to be on holiday at this point, but I'll be racing Flèche and Liège after this one."


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