Sunday, September 16, 2007

Samu descends to glory

What a day for Samu and the team today! To cut a long story short, Samu won the stage, Igor was fourth, Samu is now 5th overall, Igor is 10th, Haimar was in the break and Euskaltel won the team rankings and are now second overall in that competition. Could it possibly get any better?

The day started out with Koldo beating Petacchi and Bennati to take maximum points in the first sprint. That's great, and perhaps he's got his sight set on the points jersey, who knows? After that a big group of riders broke clear and, just like yesterday, Haimar was in it. Though, as the break contained several dangerous names, Euskaltel put the whole team at the front to keep the break within a couple of minutes. The team succeeded, and at the base of the last climb, the category 1 Alto de Monachil, the gap was at about a minute and a half. As the going got tougher, a select few made up the front group. Among them were Samu and Igor, both looking comfortable. Igor even peeled off the front a few times to try his luck, but couldn't get away. Though, with three kilometres to go to the top, he finally did. Samu and Igor suddenly accelerated up the climb and nobody could match the pace. Igor did an awesome job for his captain as the gap back to the GC favourites increased. At the top, only Cunego and Beltrán were ahead of Samu, and by now Igor had dropped back to the Menchov group. Samu, who's perhaps the best descender in the business together with Savoldelli, flied like a bird down the descent to catch, first, Cunego, and then Beltrán who was at his lonesome at the head of the race. It was breathtaking stuff, watching Samu on that descent, he for sure defied gravity a couple of times. The two Spaniards then worked well together to hold off the chasing pack, and Samu easily took his third Vuelta stage by emphatically out-sprinting Beltrán. Igor had joined Barredo in a late dig to catch the leaders, though of course Igor didn't do any turns. He raised his arms in celebration when he found out Samu had done it, and crossed the line in 4th place. Haimar capped off a great day for the team by coming home 26th, 2:32 down, ensuring Euskaltel won the team rankings for the second time. There's no stage on the program tomorrow, as the riders get to take a well-deserved day off. The racing resumes on Tuesday though and, with a lot of hilly stages to go, I'm really looking forward to it. Aupa Euskaltel! Full stage results:

  • 1st, Samu Sánchez
  • 4th, Igor Antón, 0:24
  • 26th, Haimar Zubeldia, 2:32
  • 114th, Aitor Hernández, 22:15
  • 135th, Iñigo Landaluze, s.t.
  • 136th, Iñaki Isasi, s.t.
  • 137th, Dioni Galparsoro, s.t.
  • 139th, Alán Pérez, s.t.
  • 141st, Koldo Fernández, s.t.


Anonymous said...

It was almost like in Cuenca last year. Great. I would have prefered to see Cunego winning but Samu is ok

Magnus said...

Samu winning is very ok indeed:D

Samufan said...

Could we say that he is the best rider when the road goes downhill? After the stage ended, Beltran said in spanish television that Samu could well be the best downhill rider in the international peloton!

And at one moment he was going at almost 90km/h INSANE

Magnus said...

Yeah, I think we can. Samu and Savoldelli are the best, without a shade of doubt. Those two are amazing.

Monika said...

Wow how great!! I could not look when Samu descendet... at 88 km/h, and then his necklace broke down and he gave it to a camara moto!! Descending!!! :P

Arnout said...

That was a great one! Now on friday the day of passing Evans and Sastre, and he is on the podium :)


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