Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Izagirre grabs first podium of the season

Gorka Izagirre took an awesome second in today's Trofeo Deiá, the penultimate leg of the Mallorca Challenge. On the slight uphill finish to the 143km lumpy stage, Izagirre was only bested by renowned sprinter JJ Rojas of Movistar. Although it's always slightly annoying to finish second, the rider himself didn't seem downbeat at all post-race, saying to the team's website: "I'm pleased with my form, both here and in the Tour Down Under. That's the most important thing, and I'm happy with that. I'll work to keep it up." He also reserved praise for his hard-working team-mates, saying: "They did a great job, both by keeping the break in check and on the ascent of the Puig Major. Mikel Landa, Jon Izagirre and Miguel Minguez upped the pace on the climb and made sure only 30-something riders crested the climb in the first group. In the finale I tried my hand. I followed Tony Martin, but Rojas distanced me and won convincingly." Urtasun, Isasi, Castroviejo and Velasco all finished in that 34-man strong lead group, while Izagirre jr. ended up 3:24 adrift, Antón, Nieve and Landa 4:32, Minguez 7:42 and Sesma 13:13.

Orbea also had a good day out, once again getting a rider into the break. Today was the turn of Xabier Zabalo, who joined a quartet 43 kilometres into the stage, but the group, under the watchful eye of Euskaltel and Movistar, never got a good gap and were comfortably reeled in. When the break was caught at the foot of the Puig Major, newbie Victor Cabedo showed his pedigree by attacking up the hill with a certain Fabio Duarte. The duo distanced the peloton, but inexplicably Cabedo managed to crash on the way down and was left cursing what might have been. Though he suffered brusing to most parts of his body, he's reported to be okay for tomorrow's stage. In the end none of the Orbea riders managed to stay with the lead group. Ricardo Garcia crossed the line with a small group nine seconds down, Bizkarra ended up in 59th at 1:04, while Zabalo, Bilbao and Etxebarria finished 4:32 back alongside Antón et al. Cabedo, all banged up, finished 7:42 back, while Aberasturi, Bagües, Martin and Sáez all ended up more than 14 minutes adrift.

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