Sunday, June 15, 2008

Euskaltel best team in Dauphiné

There were no changes to the overall on the last day of the Dauphiné, but the team nonetheless made history; for the first time ever, the team won the teams classification of a Pro Tour event. And it's no coincidence; Euskaltel have, by far, been the most aggressive team as well as placing two riders inside the final top 10. They lived up to their aggressive reputation today, as Rubén, Mikel and Samu all attacked along the way. First up was Rubén, who took a dig on the penultimate climb. The tactic was the same as yesterday's: send a man up the road so that one of the captains have a team-mate there to help him if he decides to attack. Mikel duly attacked, and Rubén played the role of super domestique. It was a shrewd tactical move, but a move that eventually beared no fruits for Mikel. They were both reeled back in, but just minutes later the Euskaltel show was on again. Samu jumped away from the pack on top of the same climb and quickly got a gap on the descent. His descending was a joy(?) to watch as always but, with a break too far up the road to be overtaken, he just sat up and waited for the pack. On the last climb no one tried to get rid of Valverde, who looked comfortable all day. So too did Haimar, who stayed close to Valverde and Evans on the climbs. But just to make sure that Haimar and Mikel could retain their places in the top 10, Samu, followed by the pair, set a ferocious pace at the front of the pack on the 15-kilometre long descent to the finish. The pace was so high that the leading group split into several pieces, but it all came back together at the finish line. It was a true joy to watch the team rock the descent in the manner they did; great stuff. Haimar and Mikel succeeded in clinging onto their 5th and 7th places overall respectively, and could celebrate winning the prize for best team post-stage. Beñat sadly had to abandon, but the team can be very pleased about their overall Dauphiné performance. I'm proud of them, and so too was Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano: "I'm very satisfied with the team's overall performance", he said, "we've worked brilliantly as a team. Every single rider fulfilled his objectives stage after stage, and that's what's pleased me the most in this year's Dauphiné. The prize as "Best team" is a proof of that. We've seen Rubén and Juanjo do their utmost for their leaders, we've seen Samu securing Mikel's seventh overall, we've seen Haimar attacking from distance and we've seen Jon, Beñat and Iñaki work at the beginning of the stages." Stage results:

  • 16th, Samuel Sánchez, 2:21
  • 19th, Haimar Zubeldia, s.t.
  • 22nd, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 61st, Rubén Pérez, 5:41
  • 63rd, Iñaki Isasi, s.t.
  • 86th, Juan José Oroz, 12:38

Final general classification:

  • 5th, Haimar Zubeldia
  • 7th, Mikel Astarloza
  • 45th, Samuel Sánchez
  • 62nd, Rubén Pérez
  • 74th, Iñaki Isasi
  • 86th, Juan José Oroz


arnout said...

It are the bright times coming! With the Giro and the spring classics way back, it is time for the stage races, and Euskaltel will be present with a top rider in every race they will ride from now on (as long as you don't count ENECO Tour and Poland). The rest of the season will be great fun I believe!

Magnus said...

They've got a pretty good stage-racing team, with riders like Igor, Mikel, Samu, Amets, Haimar and Gorka. Though, I'm always looking forward to the Clásica San Sebastián!


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