Thursday, February 24, 2011

Andalucía stage 5

Samuel Sánchez took second place on today's fifth and final stage of the Vuelta a Andalucía. The Olympic champ was beaten only by three-time World champ Freire in the sprint for stage-honours, and so Euskaltel is still on the hunt for their first 2011 win. A four-man break, including the impressive Zabalo of Orbea, spent the majority of the day out in front. They were never likely to succeed, though, and they were reeled in with something like three clicks remaining. Only 33 riders made it to the line on the same time as Freire as a lumpy stage took it's toll on the peloton. In that 33-man group was Landa, who's showing good form these days, and sprinter Aberasturi and García of Orbea. Peio Bilbao, of the same team, only ceded 10 seconds by stage's end, while Urain ended up losing 27. Verdugo and Sicard continued their low-key start to the season by finishing 33 seconds adrift, while R Pérez and Urtasun ended up 56 back. Orbea trio Etxebarria, Zabalo and Cabedo finished 1:23, 1:44 and 1:46 back respectively.

On GC, Samu's consistent riding meant he finished a solid ninth, a placing he'll no doubt be pleased with in his first race of the year. Landa was a respectable 25th, Urtasun 45th, Verdugo 53rd, Pérez 54th and Sicard 66th. Peio Bilbao was Orbea's best-placed rider overall, finishing a solid 23rd. Cabedo was 49th, García 68th, Etxebarria 71st, Aberasturi 79th, Urain 91st and Xavier Zabalo ended up 101st. In the team ranking, Euskaltel ended up 10th and Orbea 13th.

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