Sunday, September 07, 2008

Euskaltel impressive in the Pyrenees

Euskaltel put on a great show today on the Vuelta's 8th stage. It was another mountain-top finish, and the team were intent on mixing it with the best. Not much happened until the ascending of the Bonaigua, where Mikel and Amets came to the fore. With a lone rider up the road, French favourite Moncoutié, and still 60 or so riders in the peloton, Euskaltel decided enough was enough and turned up the pace. First Mikel set a ferocious pace at the front of the pack with 5 km to the top. Riders immediately had to let go, and the pack slimmed down considerably. Once Mikel had done his part, Amets took over. With his impressive, gritty riding he managed to slim down the pack even more. It was great stuff to watch; team work at it's most beautiful. You know, it's such a pleasure to watch the small, skinny Amets doing what he knows best; riding full out in the mountains for one of his team-mates. He never stops impressing me. His attitude, an attitude he shares with the rest of the team by the way, is warming to watch, and makes me once again feel proud of my team. Anyway, back to the race... With only the Pla de Beret left to climb, the favourites burst into action. Sastre went out the back quite early and looked exhausted, but he managed to limit his losses to a minimum with what has become his trademark; keeping a steady pace, not overdo it, and keep calm. Contador soon attacked, and only Valverde and Igor managed to follow him. The three came in together, half a minute down or so on Moncoutié, and a few seconds ahead of the other favourites. Igor looks to be at his best, and is already 6th overall. The podium is not that far off... Stage results:
  • 4th, Igor Antón, 0:34
  • 25th, Amets Txurruka, 2:55
  • 27th, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
  • 70th, Mikel Astarloza, 11:43
  • 74th, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
  • 75th, Iván Velasco, s.t.
  • 98th, Alán Pérez, 19:00
  • 135th, Iñigo Landaluze, 23:15
  • 138th, Koldo Fernández, s.t.


  • 6th, Igor Antón, 2:12
  • 16th, Egoi Martínez, 6:41
  • 42nd, Amets Txurruka, 21:29
  • 55th, Mikel Astarloza, 28:10
  • 66th, Iván Velasco, 34:01
  • 71st, Rubén Pérez, 36:28
  • 74th, Iñigo Landaluze, 39:26
  • 105th, Alán Pérez, 53:18
  • 112th, Koldo Fernández, 56:45

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