Friday, July 11, 2008

Samu getting closer

I'll just state the obvious: it's a matter of when, rather than if, Samu will take a stage at this year's race. Today he placed 7th in a sprint of 23, who all came in 6 seconds adrift of breakaway-winner León Sánchez. The second group, containing Haimar and Mikel, came in 33 back, and thus lost more time to their fellow GC hopefulls. Samu though looks to be the team's best bet for overall and stage glory this year round. He's 11th overall, just 1:27 back, while Mikel is 18th, at 2:16, and Haimar is 29th at precisely 4 minutes. Mikel impressed on the cat.2 climb though, jumping clear of the pack in pursuit of the leading quartet. He really did well, but noticed it wouldn't be worthwhile so he sat up. But he looks really good, and that's the most important thing at this stage of the race. The team as a whole also impressed; the pack split in 2 when Cunego hit the deck hard after 60 kilometres. All Euskaltel riders were stuck in the wrong part but, together with Quick.Step and Lampre, pulled the first group back. Really important; great work! Stage results:
  • 7th, Samuel Sánchez, 0:06
  • 32nd, Mikel Astarloza, 0:33
  • 46th, Haimar Zubeldia, s.t.
  • 83rd, Iñaki Isasi, 4:36
  • 84th, Egoi Martínez, 7:24
  • 85th, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
  • 126th, Rubén Pérez, 21:53
  • 132nd, Amets Txurruka, s.t.
  • 166th, Juan José Oroz, s.t.


arnout said...

I still have my hopes high on especially Haimar in the mountains, this steep little climbs are not his habitat. And I did not recognize why he was in that second group on the last hill. Maybe it was just because the pack splitted again and he was in the back again?

Anonymous said...

What was strange yesterday was that getting down from the last climb at one moment Samu was leading the pack in the downhill and i was expecting from him what the "other" Sanchez did.
Why Samu did not attack ? maybe because Haimar and Mikel were in the 2nd group ?
I think it's a chance lost for Samu yesterday, the last few km. were perfect for him but he looks in great shape and i feel he'll do really well in this tour.

Nicholas said...

Actually, I wasn't very impressed by Euskaltel today. With the wind, they should have kept themselfes at the front of the peloton. When they started the chase, at first is was organized but then became a mess and it was only at the time Mikel went up front to take his turns that the gap shrinked.

Magnus said...

Agree with you Nicholas, staying at the front should be manageable...


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