Saturday, September 03, 2011

Vuelta stage 13

Saying Euskaltel's Vuelta thus far has been a failure would be no understatement. But it's not for the lack of trying. In a bid to shake up the GC, the team put a remarkable four riders in the break on today's 13th stage from Sarria to Ponferrada. On a highly entertaining and at times chaotic day of racing, a 24-man break - including Antón, Nieve, Txurruka and Verdugo - broke clear early on. Under the impetus of Euskaltel (or should I say Amets Txurruka), the break made it all the way to the line for a change, meaning Mikel Nieve is back in contention for a top 10 place overall. The break crossed the line 1:33 ahead of the peloton, resulting in Nieve now sitting 20th on GC just a minute and a half (roughly) off the top 10 with two decisive days in the Asturian mountains coming up. Nieve's team-mates totally buried themselves for their default captain by towing the break along for large portions of the stage, and the ever-willing Amets Txurruka was awarded the 'Most aggressive rider'-prize for his efforts. Hoping to snatch what would have been a deserved stage-win, Gorka Verdugo had a go in the closing kilometres but was eventually forced to watch on as Albasini took the win on the line. Nieve came home ninth, Verdugo 18th, Txurruka 19th and Antón 67th at 2:12. Martínez came home 74th at 14:39, while Azanza, Isasi and Oroz finished inside a big group at 18:30. Cazaux came in third from last, 27:50 adrift.

DS Gorka Gerrikagoitia was naturally pleased with his charges post-stage, telling that "overall it was a very positive day for us. We started the stage with the aim of bringing Mikel Nieve back into GC contention. Once the break got up the road I expected the group to stay away by a couple of minutes. Eventually it was a little less, but still. The composition of the break meant it was hard for us to win the stage, but the team was active all day. In the days ahead we'll continue working to reach our goals in this race."

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Great to see the Orange tide at the front today, really looking forward to the next two days, lets hope that they have enough left to get Mikel into the top 10 at least.

As for Amets, is there a sight that warms the heart more than seeing him drag the whole race up a hill? Fluid yet powerfull, he makes it look so easy yet the gaps that quickly appear tell their own tale...beautiful...


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