Sunday, June 13, 2010

Euskaltel strong on the Alpe

Euskaltel showed their strength in depth on today's queen-stage in the Dauphiné by taking eighth on the stage through Samu, the mountains jersey courtesy of Egoi, the team rankings, as well as placing three riders in the top 18. Not bad. Just like yesterday, Egoi got into the break of the day and accumulated maximum points on all climbs but the Alpe itself to move into the lead in the mountains classification. Ahead of tomorrow's final stage he leads overall 'winner' Brajkovic by 22 points, so surely the jersey is his for the keeping. Naturally the break he was in didn't stay away, but he got what he was after. Gorka, laying 11th overall prior to the stage, struggled big time today and lost contact on the Glandon; the big climb preceding the Alpe d'Huez. Alan, Iván and Samu all dropped back to help pace Gorka back into the leading pack, but it was to no avail. Gorka simply had an off-day and had lost 16 minutes by stage's end. As a result he dropped from 11th to 42nd on GC. As for Samu, he looked good today. After taking it easy on the first five stages to hone his form for the Tour, he decided to give it a go today. He came away with a creditable eighth on the stage and in the process showed his form is coming around nicely. Romain was also up there today, taking an impressive 13th on his first time up the Alpe. He now occupied the exact same place on GC going into the last stage. Iván was once again strong as well, taking 18th. He's really getting back to his best, he's a shoo-in for the Tour I reckon. Due to the results of these three riders, Euskaltel won the day's teams classification and now leads the overall teams classification. Great stuff. As for the other guys, Egoi and Alan came in with Gorka 16:01 back, while Iñaki was 71st at 20:34 and Jorge 127th at 31:46.

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