Madrid: Spain`s Carlos Barredo took the biggest victory of his career in Sunday`s 15th stage of the Tour of Spain on the same climb where he started riding a bike.
The 29-year-old Quick Step rider took off at the foot of the mist-enshrouded Lagos de Covadonga ascent from a six-rider break for a solo win, one minute seven seconds ahead of Belgian Nico Sijmens and Slovakia`s Martin Velits.
Barredo, born in nearby Oviedo, said that Covadonga, often compared to France`s famed Alpe D`Huez climb, was where cycling had started for him.
"My father told me if I managed to ride a mountain bike he`d borrowed for me all the way from Oviedo to here then he`d buy me a road bike," Barredo told reporters.
"If I hadn`t done that ride, then I wouldn`t be standing here today."
Previously best known for winning Spain`s top one-day race, the Clasica San Sebastian, last year and for a fight with Portugal`s Rui Costa after a stage of the Tour this year, Barredo dedicated his first major tour stage win to his father and his Quick Step team.
"Quick Step gave me the chance other teams had not to prove what I was capable of doing and today I managed to prove their faith in me was not misplaced."
"We`ll celebrate this with a few glasses of local cider tonight."
Overall, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy remains in control, four seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain, with Ezequiel Mosquera, also of Spain, in third.
The 23-year-old Nibali finished eighth on the 187-km stage after his Liquigas-Doimo team had successfully controlled the course until halfway up the final climb.
Mosquera was the only overall contender to challenge Nibali, clawing back 11 seconds after attacking seven km from the finish.
"I`d have to have gained a bigger gap considering how tough it was, but it`s better than nothing," the Xacobeo-Galicia rider and former sawmill worker told reporters.
"Tomorrow`s the toughest mountain stage of them all, though, and I`ll be back in action again."
The race finishes in Madrid next Sunday.