Javier Moreno delivered an emotional victory in Sunday’s hard-fought finale at the Castilla y León that he turned into a dedication to ex-Movistar teammate Xavier Tondo.
Moreno (Movistar) came out on top in Sunday’s final stage, knocking race leader Luís León Sánchez (Rabobank) out of first and then pipping French rider Guillaume Levarlet (Saur-Sojasun) on time bonuses.
“This has a special meaning thanks to Xavi Tondo. We came here with the intention to dedicate him the victory and we did it,” Moreno said. “This is my most important victory. I won in Asturias last year, but the field was stronger here.”
Movistar out-gunned the field Sunday, putting two riders into an early breakaway in the three-climb stage. Moreno later attacked to drop Sánchez on the day’s final hurdle up the snowbound, Cat. 1 Puerto de Navacerrada climb.
Levarlet made the move as well and seemed poised to take the GC, but he Moreno gapped him in the final sprint and edged out the overall by just one second.
Moreno was second, earning a six-second time bonus, and Levarlet crossed the line four seconds slower, giving Moreno the narrowest of victories.
“I didn’t even know I had won when I crossed the line,” Moreno said. “They told me a few moments later and it was truly moving. I was looking for the (stage) win, because I knew the bonuses could give me a chance for the overall. The problem was with 500 meters to go, two riders jumped and I had to go with them, and that cost me a chance at the stage win.”
The victory is the most important for the 27-year-old Moreno, who made the jump from Caja Rural to Movistar thanks in large part to his overall victory last year at the Vuelta a Asturias.
The victory counts as the 10th of the season for Movistar.