Monday, March 10, 2008

Dioni grabs climber's jersey as GC hopes falter

On a day of strong sidewinds that split the peloton into several pieces, Euskaltel lost all hope of a good overall placing. Gorka was the only rider who ended up in the first group after the pack split, while Haimar, Beñat, Igor, Dioni and Markel all ended up in the second group, together with other heavy-hitters like Evans, Monfort, Schumacher and Julich. Despite a concerted effort from the five riders, who spent a lot of time on the front of the second group doing team time trialling, they couldn't get back to the first group, eventually losing 2:37. That will likely put an end to the team's GC hopes with Haimar, but on the bright side, Gorka was once again active and came in 17th, only 7 seconds back. He looked good, so maybe he'll spring a surprise as the race progresses. Let's hope so... Dioni grabbed maximum points on the day's first and only climb, and will therefore get to wear the mountain's jersey tomorrow. I'd love to see Dioni go for the jersey, as a climber's jersey in Paris-Nice isn't to be sniffed at. The two last riders, Lander and Aitor, got stuck in one of the last groups, and both came in 6:32 in arrears.

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