Saturday, April 14, 2012

Urtasun grabs third in Castilla y León

Pablo Urtasun snatched Euskaltel an excellent third place in today's second stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. The 34-year-old formed part of a late-race break, also including team-mate Iván Velasco, on the hilly 158,7km stage to Ávila, but was beaten to the win by compatriot Luis León Sánchez and Guillaume Levarlet.

Watch a short resume of the stage here.

The stage started off with a dangerous seven-man break going clear after 30 kilometres. In it was Euskaltel's main man, Mikel Landa, a certain Andreas Klöden, David Arroyo, Rein Taaramäe and Brice Feillu to name but a few. A few others, including Amets Txurruka, bridged up later, but it wasn't to be. A new group, this time counting 12 riders, formed at the head of the race with some 30 clicks to go. Among them were Euskaltel duo Velasco and Urtasun, but also a host of other strong names. Luisle Sánchez proved too strong with a trademark move inside the last kilometre, while Urtasun was just pipped to second by Frenchman Levarlet two seconds down. Velasco secured his best result in a while with ninth, 12 seconds down on the classy Rabobank allrounder. The main peloton, containing most of the big names, finished up a big 9:38 back, meaning the race will by all accounts be played out between the forerunners on today's stage.

Heading into tomorrow's final and quite mountainous stage, both Urtasun and Velasco are well placed to grab top general classification placings. When quizzed about his chances of landing what would be one of his most impressive GC results, Urtasun was quite optimistic.

"Let's see how it goes tomorrow - Rabobank will probably control the race for Sánchez. The Navacerrada (the last climb) tops out at some 50 kilometres from the line, so the goal will be to reach the line as close as possible to him. It'll be important to stay calm, position myself well, eat and drink enough and get enough protection. If I'm in the front group approaching Segovia (the finishing town), then of course I'll aim for the win", he told the team's website.

Stage results (Orbea riders in cursive):
  • (1, Luis León Sánchez, Rabobank)
  • 3, Pablo Urtasun, 0:02
  • 9, Iván Velasco, 0:12
  • 34, Miguel Mínguez, 9:38
  • 38, Carlos Barbero, s.t.
  • 43, Amets Txurruka, s.t.
  • 46, Aritz Bagües, s.t.
  • 49, Illart Zuazubiskar, s.t.
  • 61, Pierre Cazaux, s.t.
  • 65, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 72, Mikel Landa, 10:00
  • 87, Aritz Etxebarria, 13:37
  • 90, Jon Aberasturi, s.t.
  • 100, Mikel Bizkarra, 14:09
  • 106, Alan Pérez, 23:52
  • 115, Xabier Zabalo, 26:02
  • 122, Igor Merino, 26:07
Complete results here.

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