Saturday, March 31, 2012

Landa pipped in GP Induráin

Mikel Landa narrowly missed out on what would have been the biggest victory of his career earlier today in the Gran Premio Miguel Induráin. The young climber lost out to Katusha's expert escalador Daniel Moreno by a mere two seconds.

The steep and punishing ramps leading up to the Puy basilica in the finale once again decided the outcome of the 1.HC-race. Euskaltel had controlled the race right from the start to the bottom of the climb to set up Landa or Igor Antón for a shot at the win, and Landa paid his team-mates back with an impressive performance.

Speaking to the team's website post-race, the 22-year-old was keen to highlight the work done by his companions. "The team did a great job, and we came close to winning", he said. "It turned into a really hard race, and it's always important to be up there and fight for the top prize. It's an important race for the team, and I think we did ourselves proud, working at the head of the pack every single kilometre. It's very difficult to win though, so I think we should appreciate the fact that we were in contention 'till the very end. It was a crazy, all-action ending to the race, and eventually Dani Moreno came out tops. Now I'll rest and gear up for the Clásica Amorebieta - also a big race for the team. I like Amorebieta, and I'll do my best".

Igor Antón couldn't quite hold the pace on the climb and crossed the line in 22nd place, a rather big 39 seconds adrift. Samuel Sánchez meanwhile was even further back, but had pledged beforehand that he was present to help out Antón and Landa. The Olympic champ, who won last year's edition, came home 2:03 back in 41st place alongside Mikel Astarloza. Preparing for Monday's Vuelta al País Vasco was more important though - and DS Gorka Gerrikagoitia thinks his charges are on the right track.

"I'm very pleased with out performance, both when it comes to the team as a whole and Mikel Landa's second place. We were strong and managed to control a traditionally nervous and tough race. Mikel Landa was our bet and he came oh so close. He showed he's worth the trust we put in him. Speaking of País Vasco, we're in high spirits".

Euskaltel results:
  • (1, Dani Moreno, Katusha)
  • 2, Mikel Landa, 0:02
  • 22, Igor Antón, 0:39
  • 41, Samuel Sánchez, 2:03
  • 42, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 51, Egoi Martínez, 5:17
  • 58, Gorka Verdugo, 5:37
  • DNF: Jorge Azanza, Juan José Oroz, Gorka Izagirre, Jon Izagirre
Egoi Martínez made sure Euskaltel didn't go home empty handed - he won the best rider from Navarra category.

As for Orbea, Haritz Orbe got the team some exposure by forming part of the race's main break. The break was of course reeled in well before the end, but his plucky effort wasn't wasted though as he triumphed in the sprints especiales-competition. The young squad didn't have a big say in deciding the winner though - Mikel Bizkarra was their top finisher in 54th.

Orbea results:
  • 54, Mikel Bizkarra, 5:17
  • 59, Carlos Barbero, 5:37
  • 68, Haritz Orbe, 10:08
  • 70, Aritz Bagües, s.t.
  • 73, Xabier Zabalo, s.t.
  • 74, Aritz Etxebarria, s.t.
  • 78, Igor Merino, s.t.
  • DNF: Illart Zuazubiskar, Jon Aberasturi, Omar Fraile

No comments:


web site counter
ISP Internet Providers