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Großschartner: ‘I can still play my cards’

Austrians are optimistic about the second Vuelta a week

Written by Peter Maurer


Felix Groschartner | Photo: Bora-hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto

23.08.2021 | (rsn) — Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished last year’s Vuelta a Espana ninth overall. At the time this was his first run as team captain. After the first week of this year’s edition, the Austrian once again finished ninth after losing a few minutes in the first big mountain test in the ninth stage.

Alicante moved into the seventh stage to eight seconds ahead of the Slovenian, said Marstrnecker, who is preparing to celebrate his third consecutive Vuelta ale.

“So far, Roglic is very dominant and only Enrique Mas can keep up. It will definitely be an exciting podium fight because everything is so close together. If Roglic doesn’t have a bad day, he will win the Tour,” Großschartner gave a look at the overall standings. This is also the focus of the 27-year-old, but he knows it will be very difficult to get a place at the front: “The best five to six drivers are definitely above me. But this is also the best de la Creme.”

Groschartner’s three minutes in the red jersey on Sunday didn’t diminish the good performance of Upper Austria, who also suffered heatstroke. “Volta can hardly have the best staff,” Groschartner said. “Here there are hardly sprinters and classic drivers at first, but almost only mountain drivers. If you want to be there, you have to be strong.”

The fact that there is no dominant team controlling the race from start to finish also creates tension in the overall standings. Instead, several strong teams with a bold leadership style ensure dynamism. Groschartner: “There’s a little bit of control. In the last few years the better team has driven straight and lowered everything until only the captain was there. Ineos and Movistar were very active on Sunday.”

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Looking forward to the next two weeks of Vuelta

So sticking and taking a ride is the Austrian’s motto, considering its potential. The 27-year-old, who has walked away from The First Week effort can now recover a bit on the day off, said the 27-year-old.

“I’m feeling basically good, in terms of results, it’s been a quick ride so far, but my body is good and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of weeks,” said captain Bora, who also speculated that this could happen in a match. Splinter Group: “I’m definitely not the biggest risk to Roglic, so Jumbo wouldn’t completely screw up if I went out.”

But the bigger goal is the overall standings, which can be compromised by a lot of offensive action. Groschartner: “If you see an opportunity, you have to take it. But it will depend a lot on the state of the race. But I know I can still play my cards.” The Austrian is sure his level fits well: “Even if you’re in the top 30 here, you have to be 100%. And that’s me.”