Sunday, May 01, 2011

Romandie's a wrap

The Tour de Romandie came to a close today with the fifth and final 165km-stage from Champagne to Geneva. Ben Swift, who's really come of age this year, grabbed the win in a mass sprint finish. Alan Pérez had another good day and took 11th, while Verdugo, Txurruka, Velasco and Martínez also rolled in with the pack. Koldo, Castroviejo, Isasi and Jon Izagirre struggled on the last day and finished a full 20:38 down, but that will in no way take the gloss of what's been an excellent Romandie throughout for the team. From Castroviejo's opening day prologue triumph to Verdugo's impeccable riding on all terrain, it's been a top notch six days for the team. DS in Switzerland, Gorka Gerrikagoitia, seemed to agree when speaking to the team's website afterwards: "It's been very good. We started off brilliantly with Castroviejo's win against top-level competition in the prologue. We've been competitive, we've been present in all the breaks and we've been up there in a race lacking a proper high mountain stage, a race we knew would be won and lost in the time trial. It's a bit annoying though that we didn't end up with a top 10 overall with Gorka Verdugo. His crash in the crono yesterday deprived the team of a creditable high overall placing that they would have deserved. It would have been a satisfactory result for Gorka and the team alike. Gorka's a very important rider. This was his last race ahead of a period of active rest leading up to the Tour de France, and he was once again at a high level just like he was in Paris-Nice and País Vasco. He's received more freedom, we had confidence in his state of form and he belongs inside the top 10."

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