Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday round-up: Romandie, Asturias and Álava

Gorka Verdugo rose from sixth to fifth on GC in the Tour de Romandie after another strong performance on today's 172km second stage. The stage, starting and finishing in the hilltop town of Ramont, saw Txurruka and A Pérez being active early on, trying to spot the right move. None of them succeeded though as Kern and Bouet made up the break of the day. From there on in Euskaltel didn't have a major role to play, but on the demanding finish Verdugo once again comfortably stayed with the favourites, placing 14th on the day, to stay in the hunt for a final podium place. Stage results:

  • 14, Gorka Verdugo, 0:02
  • 31, Amets Txurruka, 0:23
  • 40, Jon Izagirre, 1:20
  • 52, Iván Velasco, 1:28
  • 96, Egoi Martínez, 6:39
  • 104, Jonathan Castroviejo, s.t.
  • 117, Alan Pérez, 12:34
  • 118, Koldo Fernández, s.t.

The Vuelta a Asturias got underway today with a demanding trek from the region's capital of Oviedo to Gijón. Aramendía did his best to get into the break early on but failed, but Cazaux had more luck and got away with seven others. The break was naturally caught though, and comeback kid Schumacher somewhat surprisingly took out the sprint. Isasi and Gorka Izagirre were both up there, taking 7th and 10th respectively, but other than that the list of results made for dire reading. No one else managed to stay with the pack. Giro-bound JJ Oroz unexpectedly conceded 36 seconds, while R Pérez, Aramendía and Cazaux all lost 1:33. Urtasun and Sesma both ended up a massive 8:29 in arrears. Orbea didn't do too well either. Ricardo García was as anticipated their best finisher, but he's already out of the picture for the overall as he finished in Oroz's group 36 back. Cabedo was 1:58 down in an okay 50th place, while Sáez lost 9:40, Bagües 16:17 and the quartet Martín, Zabalo, Etxebarria and Bizkarra 19:01. Not too good a start for sure.

Naturgas Energía's 'home race', the Tres Días de Álava, kicked off today with a 129km ride starting and finishing in the Basque Country's capital Vitoria. The red's team consisted of fast-finishers Barbero and Larrinaga, allrounders Merino and Martínez, punchy climbers Guinea and Grijalba, the prodigious Loic Chetôut, and the trio of young hopefuls Ardaiz, Carazo and González. Though possessing lots of quality in depth, the Naturgas riders didn't succeed in setting the first stage alight. Larrinaga was their best finisher in 12th place, coming home with the peloton two seconds down on solo winner Edinson Bravo. Martínez and González could also be found in that main group. Larrinaga would have hoped for better than 12th, but can console himself with the fact that he's leading the 'Best Álavan rider' category after day 1. Results:

  • 12, Jon Larrinaga, 0:02
  • 23, Rory Martínez, s.t.
  • 40, Alain González, s.t.
  • 48, Efrén Carazo, 0:34
  • 71, Loic Chetôut, 0:44
  • 85, Alberto Guinea, 2:19

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