Saturday, July 09, 2011

Urtasun active as team avoid carnage

On what eventually turned out to be a crash-marred seventh stage from Le Mans to Châteauroux, Euskaltel once again came through unscathed. All remaining riders, and in particular Rubén Pérez and Egoi Martínez towards the end, made sure Samu was well positioned and avoided any crashes. Pablo Urtasun spent the day up ahead with Meersman, Delage and Talabardon, and the Tour debutant easily looked the strongest, chasing down attack after attack by the FDJ duo in the finale. The break was naturally caught as HTC put the hammer down, but Urtasun will no doubt be pleased with his effort nonetheless. Despite sporting a bandage on his right arm he looks reasonably healthy and fit and has come through the carnage that is the first week of the Tour in good shape. Urtasun managed to hang on to the flying peloton once caught inside the last 15km and finished on the same time as winner Cavendish and team-mates Samu, R Pérez and Martínez. Txurruka, Verdugo, Izagirre and A Pérez got stuck in the second main group and ceded 3:06. They won't care too much though, as they're probably looking forward to tomorrow's first foray into the (medium) mountains. The stage, what with its short but demanding ascent towards the finish, interrupted only by a short downhill, should suit Samu to a tee, so keep an eye out for him.

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