Since turning pro in 1996, 34-year-old Jeremy Hunt has only ridden two major Tours. The first, the 2002 Vuelta, he abandoned after seven days. But in 2008, the Devonian made it through to Madrid.
?I am very pleased,? Hunt told Cycling Weekly, ?particularly as I had such a rough time half-way through.
?On Sunday and Monday I was so sick with stomach problems I could barely get out of bed.
?I was already pretty bad on Sunday [stage 14], got through but then that night it was even worse.
?Fortunately in the last part of the race, I felt like I?d got some power in my legs. It started coming back.?
Hunt?s best day on the Vuelta was on stage 10, when he helped team-mate Sebastien Hinault outwit the pure sprinters for a classy win.
?We got a train going with two kilometres out and went over the top of Quick Step. Then I went after Filippo Pozzato when he broke away, then Sebastien came flying past me and he won.
?It was a surprise he did it, but a nice one.?
Hunt had a rough time two days later on stage 12?s hilly outing to Suances, where Astana split the field apart as part of their successful bid to eliminate Alejandro Valverde from the running.
?It was like a Belgian Classic, flat out and heavy rain. I chased for 40 kilometres got back on, then realised I was on Valverde?s wheel. The front of the race was still one and half kilometres up the road. So I sat up.?
?But after being sick, it?s been all right. I?m pleased I did it, I?m pleased I got through. And I?d like to do another big Tour before I retire.?
|TOUR OF SPAIN 2008|
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Stage 20: Contador sets up overall win
Stage 19: Arroyo denies sprinters with seconds to spare
Stage 18: Roche loses stage by inches
Stage 17: Weylandt takes Quick Step’s fifth stage
Stage 16: Boonen wins second sprint
Stage 15: Garcia Dapena takes solo win
Stage 14: Contador takes second mountain-top stage win
Stage 13: Contador wins on Angliru to take lead
Stage 12: Bettini wins, Valverde out of contention
Stage 11: Freire wins stage
Stage 10: Hinault wins, Martinez retains lead
Stage nine: Van Avermaet takes stage, Martinez new leader
Stage eight: Moncoutie triumphs in Vuelta’s second Pyrenean stage
Stage seven: Ballan takes surprise win in mountains
Stage six: Bettini wins, Chavanel leads
Stage five: time trial win for Leipheimer
Stage four: Bennati takes crash-strewn stage
Stage three: Boonen bounces back
Stage two: Valverde powers into lead
Stage one: Liquigas are surprise winners
Contador posed to become quickest to complete Grand Tour set
Sastre slams Riis for lack of support
Tour of Spain rest day review 1
Tour of Spain on Eurosport (schedule)
Behind the scenes at the Tour of Spain
Tour of Spain – still a week too long?
Tour of Spain kicks off this weekend