Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Samu climbs to 3rd in Tour

Samu put on a blistering performance to climb from ninth all the way to third overall in the Tour today. That's really something from Samu; amazing ride! Alberto and Schleck battled it out between them, as expected, but Samu wasn't far off at all, he even got back up to them towards the end of the Madeleine only to drop back a little later when the pace was upped again. He crested the majestic climb some 30 seconds back on the duo, who again was 2 minutes or thereabouts down on Casar, Cunego, LL Sánchez and co. down the road. Again putting his breathtaking descending skills on show on the run-in to the finish-line he almost caught them. Eventually though he found the going at the end a bit too tough, but still condeded only 50 seconds to the impressive duo to claim eighth on the stage. In the process he distanced all the other GC candidates by at least a minute and a half, some even by eight minutes, meaning he now proudly occupates third overall, 2:45 back on Schleck. There's still a long way to go to Paris, but I can't help but start dreaming of seeing Samu up there on the podium at the end. But, hey, that's still far off, so I'll try to keep my lofty expectations to myself. Anyway, looking at the other riders on the team I can't help but being disappointed. Gorka did well; he was with Samu in that select group of favourites for quite a few kilometres up the Madeleine and eventually placed 50th, 8:09 down, along with climbers like Evans, Tiralongo and Szmyd. That's good. But the other guys didn't really show up. How Euskaltel failed to get a rider in the break on a day like this is beyond me. I guess they did their best, and that's all one can expect, but still... Having a team-mate up the road at the end would have been golden for Samu. Egoi came in placed 53rd at 15:17, while Iván is still trying to find his feet with a 71st place finish, 20:39 back. Iñaki, Alán and Rubén all came in with the second-to-last group half an hour down.

Speaking after crossing the line, Samu refused to get carried away with his high GC placing, saying: "We'll take it day by day; some riders are stronger than me and we have to stay calm. We'll try to keep our feet firmly on the ground as there's still a long way to go until we reach Paris. Today was the hardest day so far and I've suffered immensely. The pain was terrible on the Madeleine as well as in the closing kilometres. All I'm thinking about now is recovery. I'm very tired".


arnout said...

A teammate on the final road would be gold indeed. He was by the way 50 seconds behind on top of the climb and 10 at the bottom. Still I was surprised that he did limit the damage to only 50 seconds, very good ride. Really good to see hem up at the very front.

Didn't expect him to be the best of the rest pure on class uphill, but he is (and I think Menchov is going to concede more time later, insiders say he is already over his peak and will have difficulties in the third week). Brilliant.

Gorka was able to hang on till Navarro pulled like crazy. Good job. Especially Egoi is disappointing at the moment though.

Podium in Paris would be so brilliant for Euskaltel. If they can manage that, then I don't need a stage win.

Anonymous said...

Samu!! What a brilliant performance! And we know: he is always good in de third week. Because the third week is de deciding week in de tour this year, he will keep his third place and maybe go for even more! go samu go euskaltel!


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