Monday, September 13, 2010

Nieve comes of age

Mikel Nieve was touted as Euskaltel's new GC guy by Gorka Gerrikagoitia ahead of the stage after Igor crashed out yesterday. And Mikel made good on his DS' words, climbing to 16th on the stage to the mythical Lagos de Cavadonga and moving up to the exact same position overall. He finished 3:30 adrift of breakaway member and deserved winner Carlos Barbero, the ever-aggressive (yes, pun intended indeed) Spaniard taking a popular win in his home region. More importantly Mikel was just a minute or so down on the main GC candidates, and distanced potent GT riders like Van Garderen, Tondo, LL Sánchez, Bruseghin and Karpets. Overall he's 8:20 back on leader Nibali, but just three minutes off the top 10. Amets Txurruka was another one to put in a good ride, the energetic Etxebarria native huffing and puffing his way to a 21st on the stage. Decent ride - he's coming along nicely. The other riders weren't even close, all of them finishing more than 20 minutes adrift. Either they're unmotivated and indifferent now that Igor's gone, or they're just not in shape. I'd say both.

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