Monday, September 06, 2010

Antón hangs tough in red

Igor Antón successfully defended his red leader's jersey in today's ninth stage of the Vuelta. The team put up a valient defence of the jersey, meaning Igor will don it once again when the race recommences on Tuesday after tomorrow's rest-day. A big 15-man group, including Euskaltel's perennial attacker Egoi Martínez, got away early on in the stage. The gap grew big, but due to the team's hard work and clever riding it never got out of control, meaning the guys up the road were left to fight it out for the win. A quintet consisting of Martínez, Kreuziger, López Garcia, Caruso and Moncoutié quickly got a gap over the others on the last cat.2 climb, and former Euskaltel stalwart López shot out of the group on the descent to build an unassailable lead and take stage honours. A popular and richly deserved win. Egoi, easily the weakest of the five on the day, lost contact straight away on the drag up to the line and finished sixth at 30 seconds. Mikel Nieve set a blistering pace at the head of the pack going into that last incline, and Purito Rodríguez attacked Igor in search of the jersey, just as anticipated. But Igor wasn't about to let it go just like that, though, and glued himself to Rodríguez's wheel all the way to the line to preserve his overall lead. Mikel Nieve crested the line a minute back, totally exhausted after riding shotgun all day. Amets Txurruka, who's getting back into form it seems just at the right time, finished another minute back, while Oroz was 80th at 12:48, Intxausti 120th at 19:32, and Koldo, Urtasun and Verdugo (suffering badly with his banged-up knee) at 26:08. More importantly though, they showed they're capable of defending a leader's jersey on a testing stage, sentiments echoed by Igor himself after the stage. In scorching temperatures and with a dangerous-looking 15-man group up the road, the team kept their cool and never panicked. If this is a sign of what's to come from the team, we surenly needn't worry.


bike master said...

superb performance, certainly one of the highlights for the entire team this season.

magnus; i was wondering if you ever see any of the stages in person, or is it just better to see the action on television in the comfort of you own home?
here in the u.s. we usually have such poor television coverage, it's better to ride out with a picnic, make a day of it, and enjoy the few brief moments as the race speeds by.
thank goodness for the Tour of California.

Magnus said...

I watch the races almost exclusively at home. Not a lot of races going on in Norway, and I don't have that much time (or money!) to travel around during the season I'm afraid. But, yeah, seeing it 'live' is for sure better than watching it unfold on the TV.

arnout said...

You can argue with that. The atmosphere is of course much better live, but cycling is one of the worst sports for watching live in terms of seeing and following the race


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