Saturday, March 05, 2011

Murcia: Euskaltel no-show; Landa injured

Euskaltel's already stuttering season today took a turn for the worse: in the second stage of the Vuelta a Murcia, young prodigy Mikel Landa crashed out of the race inside the last five clicks and was later diagnosed with a broken right collarbone. Add to that a lackluster performance from the team, and Euskaltel's season just doesn't seem to get going. The stage ending atop the Sierra Espuña was, on paper anyway, suited to quite a few in the team's line-up. The team failed to put a rider in the break of the day, and were subsequently forced to do the majority of the work at the head of the pack. They succeeded in keeping the break in check, and even sent neo-pro Jon Izagirre up the road in a late attack, but it was doomed from the off. The peloton naturally split into several small groups once the road started to tilt upwards. Landa was actually right up there when he crashed out, but I guess that's scant consolation for him now. Miguel Minguez was the first orange-clad rider to cross the line, coming home in 22nd place, 2:24 back. Not bad for the wiry climber, but still some way off a big result. Nieve, slowly builing his form for May, ended up 49th at 4:52, while Antón was 59th at 5:26. Jon Izagirre was made to regret his earlier attack by finishing a full 17:35 in arrears, while the Pérez's came home 23:15 back on winner Contador.

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