Monday, June 06, 2011

Dauphiné stage 1

Today's unusually hilly first stage of the Dauphiné promised a lot but delivered little, seen through orange-tinted glasses anyway. While it was cool to see the big-guns, namely VDB, Evans and Purito Rodríguez, duke it out at a hill-top finish so early on in a World Tour race, it was slightly disappointing not to see any Euskaltel riders up there. Granted, the quartet of Landa, Samu, Martínez and Velasco were all just 58 seconds down (the former was actually just 54 down), so they were by no means way off the pace, but 24th, 29th, 38th and 40th were perhaps less than what many of us had expected. It's all about the Tour, though, naturally, not the Dauphiné, so they've still got a month or so to fine-tune their form. I think the riders themselves will be quietly pleased with their ride; they just lack that little bit of form that will see them right up there. This demanding race might just provide them with that vital finishing touch.

Peio Bilbao showed plenty of promise by coming home 53rd just 1:35 adrift. He's only 20 remember, and it's his very first World Tour race, so he'll be phenomenal in a year or two. Txurruka was once again not even close, finishing 77th at 2:13, whilst Verdugo ended up a surprisingly lowly 94th at 2:40. Urtasun was 147th at 7:34.

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