Sunday, August 21, 2011

l'Indre and Hamburg round-up

Romain Sicard showed his form is not as bad as he'd probably feared after five months on the sidelines by finishing just 51 seconds down in today's French Cup race Classic de l'Indre. The Frenchman only had to let go of the pack towards the end of the 198km race and will be quietly pleased with his first race back. Team-wise it was not the best performance from the team though. Mikel Astarloza had a good day out by forming part of the main break. Astarloza and ten other riders broke clear some 100 kilometres into the race but were caught in the closing stages. Along with Landa, Mínguez and Castroviejo, he finished up inside the main back in 43rd place as best Euskaltel rider. Jon Izagirre had a tough day at the office as he crossed the line dead last a full 8:15 down. Peio Bilbao crashed out of the race but is, according to the team's website, in good condition and escaped serious injury.

The team were active throughout in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in and around Hamburg earlier today, but in the end had little to show for their efforts. Sesma managed to get into the main break of the day and gave Euskaltel some much-needed presence, while a fit-looking Álan Pérez infiltrated a dangerous-looking select breakaway group inside the last 30 kilometres only to be reeled in by the chasing peloton. A 40-man group eventually formed at the head of the race without any Euskaltel riders in it. Rubén Pérez did his best to chase back on but to no avail. Along with his namesake and Velasco, Rubén came home with the second group at 46 seconds. Fernández and G Izagirre struggled way more than I expected and finished the race 9:41 in arrears. Aramendía came with a small group at 10:08.

On a more positive note, Samuel Sánchez emerged victorious in a criterium in Etten today. Samu beat young Dutchman Rob Ruijgh and Alpe d'Huez victor Pierre Roland to take top honours.

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