Thursday, March 10, 2011

Samu 2nd in Paris-Nice stage 5

Samu Sánchez came agonizingly close to grab the team's first win of 2011 today in the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice. The 193km ride between Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise and Vernoux-en-Vivarais included seven categorized climbs, two of which were of the first category, and it ended with an eight-man strong group sprinting it out for the win. In a group containing Samu, Martin, Kiserlovski, Tondo, Carrara, Taaramae, Brajkovic and Klöden, Samu and Vacansoleil's Carrara were heavily favoured to take the win due to their superior end-speed. Surprisingly, it was the ageing, but still oh so classy, Andres Klöden who claimed a rare win by beating Samu by the tiniest of margins. And by tiny, I mean tiny. Really tiny. If Samu had started half a second earlier he would have passed the German easily, but sadly he mistimed his jump and ran out of road so to speak. Samu was going way quicker, but the line came too soon for him. What makes it extra bitter is that a win would have secured him the leader's jersey as well. Ahead of tomorrow's testing 27km ITT, he's second to Klöden on GC by four seconds, and two seconds ahead of Carrara in third. Despite the bitter loss, Samu was far from down-beat when speaking to Euskaltel's website post-race. "It's been a typical Paris-Nice stage: hard and selective. All in all I'm very pleased. I'm optimistic as my preparation is going in the right direction and bearing fruits. That's obvious when you look at today's ride and the second place I got in the final stage of the Vuelta a Andalucía. It's always nice to win, though, so obviously it's annoying to come that close and lose. Especially considering we would have taken the jersey as well! Klöden was stronger, though, so all I can do is to congratulate him. There's still much racing to be done before we reach Nice, so I'll try to keep it up and ride well."

Samu's ride was obviously pleasing, but the same can't be said for the other riders I'm afraid. Verdugo was the next-best Euskaltel rider, coming home a distant 56th at 5:12. The trio of Isasi, Izagirre and Cazaux finished at almost 21 minutes, while Azanza and Urtasun ended up ceding 25:47.


Bolsen3 said...

He should have won that one easily! But he seemed to fiddle with the gears just before he was about to past? That lost him a couple of seconds, and the stage, sadly. But nice for Klöden though, he probably deserves this rare win, with all the time he spends as a super-domestique for other riders. And yeah, classy rider as well, always so beautiful to watch him turn those pedals!

bike master said...

surely a strong indication of what is yet to come this season from Samu. it is still just a bit disappointing, though- almost typical of Euskatel's fate, it seems.
i agree with Bolsen regarding Kloden and his status as super-domestique... especially when considering what happended to him on that mountain stage a couple of years ago in Le Tour, (when he still rode for Astana). and yes, fantastic style on the bike as well.

azanca02 said...

I just read that Sanchez has 32 SECOND PLACES!! Man that is a lot. He did ride great though. Hopefully he can finish on the podium for the overall.


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