Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) takes the biggest victory of his career in stage 16 of the Vuelta.
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Italian wins on race’s toughest day
A winner of a brace of stages in the Tour de L’Avenir in his rookie year back in 2007 (where he also won the points jersey and the King of the Mountains) and overall winner at the under-23 Giro in 2006, Cataldo’s career has been a little patchy, with impressive wins like the GP Beghelli but long stretches without top results as well.
A keen painter (the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team bus is apparently full of drawings and painting materials whenever he’s on a race), 2012 has been anything but a blank canvas for the Italian. Twelfth in the 2012 Giro, his best Grand Tour result to date, and victory in the Italian national time trial championship has now been followed up with a stunning win in the toughest single stage of the 2012 Vuelta after a 130 kilometre-long break over three mountain passes.
“It was a very tough final kilometre and I did make one mistake for that final climb, which was to have a 26-tooth sprocket on the bike when I should have had a 28.”
“But even if that made it a bit tougher than I’d have liked, I still got through it. It’s another landmark for me in what’s been a great year.”
His early attack with De Gendt was, he said, something he later came close to regretting, “because I heard early on the last climb that Saxo Bank were giving it some stick behind and I was worried I wouldn’t have the strength to stay away.”
His objective in the Vuelta, he said, “had always been a stage win, I’d never thought about the overall. I’d been chasing breaks for two
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