Sunday, July 10, 2011

Samu stakes his claim on stage 8

Samu confirmed he's in top, top shape by taking fourth at today's hilltop finish at Super-Besse. On the short but steep drag to the line only the on-fire Gilbert and Evans got the better of him, while he finished ahead of riders like Contador, Schleck and Basso, albeit they all finished on the same time. Samu was once again escorted perfectly by the well-oiled machine that is Euskaltel these days and was always close to the front. Txurruka looked good to, going off on the penultimate climb before being reeled back in, so all bodes well before tomorrow's testing ride to Saint-Flour. Martínez is also looking sharp and ended up only 50 seconds down on breakaway survivor Rui Costa, whilst Verdugo finished 1:16 in arrears. Rubén Pérez and Gorka Izagirre came in side by side at 3:33, Txurruka lost 5:36, A Pérez 11:07 and yesterday's escapee Urtasun crossed the line 19:59 back. Samu climbed to 29th on GC but is still some way short of the top 10. But the Olympic champ, who weighed in at a record-low 65,5 kilos at the start of the Tour, will no doubt be encouraged going into the remaining two weeks by the proceedings of the last few days. Watch out for him tomorrow.

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