Spanish cyclist Pablo Lastras showed some class in his victories at the Vuelta a Espana on Monday by dedicating his ride to this year's fallen comrades in the peloton.
The 35-year-old on the Movistar cycling team beat breakaway companion Sylvan Chavanel (Quickstep) by 15 seconds in the sprint and took the overall leader's jersey after Stage 3 by a 20-second margin.
At the finish in Totana, Lastras said he wanted to dedicate his efforts to two cyclists who died this year — former teammate Xavier Tondo and Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek) — and seriously injured cyclist and teammate Mauricio Soler.
Tondo died in a freak accident in May when he was crushed by his garage door while preparing his bicycle for a ride. That same month, Weylandt succumbed to severe head injuries suffered in a fall during the Giro d'Italia. Soler was injured during the Tour of Switzerland in June.
Lastras was quoted at CyclingNews: “I really wanted to raise my arms at the finish today, and I dedicate the
win to Xavi Tondo and to my teammate Soler who is very ill, as well as
to all the friends who have been lost this year.”
It's good to be reminded that these cyclists grieve for the loss of their friends and rivals.
Meanwhile, former Vuelta winner Denis Menchov (Russia) of the Geox-TMC cycling team fell seriously off the pace, finishing 3 minutes after the winner. He's already 4 minutes behind the overall leader.
Top 10 overall
1. Pablo Lastras (Spain) Movistar
2. Sylvain Chavanel (France) Quickstep – :20 behind
3. Markel Irizar (Spain) RadioShack – 1:06
4. Ruslan Podgorny (Ukraine) Vacansoleil -1:24
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) Leopard Trek – 1:55
6. Maxime Monfort (Belgium) Leopard Trek
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas Cannondale – 1:59
8. Valerio Agnoli (Italy) Liquigas Cannondale
9. Eros Capecchi (Italy) Liquigas Cannondale
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus) HTC-Highroad – 2:04