Rubén Plaza going for stage victory to complete trilogy
May 04 2018 05:02 pm CET

Rubén Plaza going for stage victory to complete trilogy
Rubén Plaza going for stage victory to complete trilogy
Photo of Ruben Plaza by Israel Cycling Academy

Veteran Spaniard Rubén Plaza surprised last winter with a move to Israel Cycling Academy. He wanted some more freedom at the end of his career and his new team can give him exactly that. This freedom he will use to hunt for a stage win in the Giro d'Italia, the only Grand Tour in which he has not won a stage yet.

Plaza has had a difficult start to the season, with no significant results in a string of Spanish races. However, this all changed at the end of April during the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, a race from which he had good memories already. Back in 2013 he won the race by taking the final stage and the GC, this year he copied that result by finishing off a 50 km solo attack in the third and final stage. It was his first victory in three years, but it shows he is ready just in time to help his new team win a stage in the Grand Tour that starts in their home country.

Years ago, Plaza was a GC rider himself. These days he hunts for stages. He explains to CyclingNews why this changed. "If you are up there in the GC, you usually have to use up all your energy to try to be in the top 10 or 20 at the end," he said. "It's better to save yourself to try to win a stage in the second half of the race. Plus nobody remembers that I was 10th at the Tour de France or sixth in the Vuelta a Espana, only that I won stages at the Tour and the Vuelta.

"I know that if I'm in the best shape possible, and if I'm lucky, I can maybe make the top 10 or top 15, but the goal is to try to win a stage. Besides, it's more fun because the focus every day on not losing time is too stressful for me. To be in the top 10 is very difficult. To be in the top 20 is easier, but nobody is going to remember you."

The Spaniard is to be one of the leaders of the Israel Cycling Academy, and together with Belgian Ben Hermans he has to show the team colours in the mountains. Also the promising Latvian Krists Neilands enjoys a protected role in the team’s first ever Grand Tour.

By Siebe Kok



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