Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fleche Wallonne no-show for Euskaltel

Euskaltel showed just how dependent they are on Samuel Sánchez these days with a muted performance in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne. Team leader Igor Antón failed to shine and had to settle for 17th.

It wasn't for the lack of help though - of for trying for that matter. Antón was taken excellently care of by his team-mates and was brought to the bottom of the the vicious Muur de Huy by Peio Bilbao and Romain Sicard. Once the climbing started though, he was poorly positioned and never really had the legs to go with Rodríguez, Albasini et al. The 29-year-old didn't manage to replicate the results of the last two years (fourth and fifth in 2010 and 2011 respectively), and crossed the line in 17th place, 11 seconds off Rodríguez's blistering time.

"We can't be pleased with this race", DS Gerrikagoitia said unequivocally to the team's website upon completing the race. "The Muur is perfect for Antón, and 17th doesn't correspond with the quality he possesses. Alas, we're not satisfied".

His younger team-mates showed more encouraging signs though. Peio Bilbao delivered another fine Classic performance, coming home 44th, just 47 seconds in arrears. Sicard ended up a further 11 seconds back in 51st place.

On a less positive note, Gorka Izagirre tumbled heavily with just less than 40 clicks to go. The punchy rider was forced to abandon immediately, but the 24-year-old is doing well considering the circumstances.

"It was a very hard fall, but I don't think anything's broken. He's pretty banged up though," 'Gerri' said.

Izagirre will naturally sit out Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Peio Bilbao, who was supposed to go home and put his feet up after Fleche Wallonne, will take his place.

  • (1, Joaquim Rodríguez, Katusha)
  • 17, Igor Antón, 0:11
  • 44, Peio Bilbao, 0:47
  • 51, Romain Sicard, 0:58
  • 79, Egoi Martínez, 2:13
  • 102, Jorge Azanza, 5:04
  • 141, Ricardo García, 11:10
Full results here.


arnout said...

What's going on with Anton? He needs a major shake-up.

Kristof said...

It's strange, after that terrible Vuelta crash, he never found his old level. Maybe except that one day in the Giro. It's sad, but without Samu Euskaltel seems such a helpless team... I suppose he has to ride Liege after the failing of Anton? I do not understand he didn't start here, at least it would have been a second place which means a lot of WT points. Strange very strange... Gorka fell down pretty hard, young Bilbao and Sicard did a good race.

Stephen said...

Anton also won a very memorable stage in the Vuelta and for that I can forgive quite a lot.....but in a way, thats the problem. Super motivated to win in Bilbao he never looked like getting beaten and produced the kind of performance that would win him a classic...and having seen him do that we all hope to see that kind of performance again, we know he has the talent!

Magnus said...

He's awfully erratic - you never know where he's at. Much like Intxausti in a way. Looking forward to see him duke it out with Contador at the Vuelta. If he's in shape, that is.


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