Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vuelta comes to a close

The last stage of the Vuelta a España concluded today with the total drag that is a final stage in a GT. The 85km stage to Madrid obviously ended in a mad dash for the line, while there were no major changes to GC. Farrar impressively bested Cavendish, while Koldo couldn't muster better than 13th. I was quietly optimistic Koldo might be able to spring a surprise today, but it wasn't to be. Nieve and co. all came through the stage safe and sound, meaning the final GC looks like this:

  • 12th, Mikel Nieve
  • 31st, Amets Txurruka
  • 56th, Juan José Oroz
  • 84th, Gorka Verdugo
  • 101st, Pablo Urtasun
  • 141st, Koldo Fernández

As a team Euskaltel finished eighth, which is actually quite sensational given Igor's abandonment while in red, and Beñat's no-show. Sign of strength in depth no doubt. Beñat is currently undergoing some tests to figure out exactly what's wrong. I'm thinking mononocleosis or something in that direction, but obviously I'm no doctor. But Beñat being Ibán Mayo reincarnate, mono would be fitting... Anyway, Amets got stronger as the race unfolded and looks something like his former self, rediscovering his climbing legs and all. He's Euskaltel's Robin van Persie, always getting injured when approaching top form, so if he can stear clear of collarbone breaks and illness for the remainder of the season, he should be due a standout season in 2011. Mikel was obviously the revelation of the race; finally Euskaltel have uncovered another climbing ace. Verdugo and Oroz were evidently off top form after peaking for the Tour, but they still did themselves and the team proud through some unselfish and inspiring team-work. Egoi Martínez didn't really get the time to show his credentials due to the crash, while the sprinting department of Koldo and Pablo had their chances of success compromised by having to ride in support of Igor for large portions of the race. You won't hear them complaining, though... All in all a fabulous performance all round, full stop.

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