Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nieve attack the favourites on Giro stage 14

Mikel Nieve made a daring attack inside the last few kilometres on today's first real summit finish in the Giro, but, despite opening up a decent gap at a tactically good moment, was caught and crossed the line in 19th place, advancing to 27th overall in the process.

All in all it was an encouraging performance from the Euskaltel leader. Isolated for big parts of the final climb up to Cervinia, the fact he felt strong enough to attack the group of favourites on the peloton's first real foray into the high mountains is a good sign of what's to come. Despite faltering to 19th on the stage, he only trailed Hesjedal, new pink jersey, by 35 seconds, and was only nine seconds down on the first group lead home by Tiralongo. He's now approximately two minutes and thirty seconds off the top ten.

Another one on the offensive, although not in an equally constructive manner, was wily Amets Txurruka. Exactly why he attacked the pack on the early slopes of the last climb, with eventual winner Amador and co. eight minutes up the road, is lost on me. While his legs looked fresher than on the stage to Sestri Levante, he was easily reeled in by the peloton a few clicks later. While it's hard, and perhaps excessively critical, to criticize a rider for attacking on a the last climb of a stage in a Grand Tour, you have to wonder if his energy could have been better spent helping out Nieve.

Juan José Oroz looked to be in decent shape by staying with Nieve for quite a while en route to a 44th place-finish, while Iván Velasco once again deserves credit for getting through a grueling day in the saddle.

Reactions to come later tonight.

Stage 14 results:
  • (1, Andrey Amador (Movistar), 5:33:36)
  • 19, Mike Nieve, 0:55
  • 44, Juan José Oroz, 4:08
  • 46, Amets Txurruka, 4:26
  • 119, Iván Velasco, 32:04
  • 139, Miguel Minguez, s.t.
  • 167, Adrián Sáez, s.t.
  • 173, Víctor Cabedo, s.t.
  • 175, Pierre Cazaux, s.t.
  • 177, Jon Izagirre, s.t.


Kristof said...

My eyes really hurt watching whole day Giro through orange eyes. We have to say it the way it is, the youngsters really disappoint. In a mountain stage I really do not want to see five men of Euskaltel within the first 20 riders to let go, in a group with all sprinters. I think Izagirre is tired after a hard period, this we have to understand. Amets looked better then some days ago and he was the only man reaching normal level, but it was a useless attack. Nieve did really his best but was not so strong, if the finish laid five km further he had lost minutes.
Really sad day to me, this reminds me of their Giro some years ago when the guys were nowhere, only David Lopez managed to attack one day. Honestly we have to say that that year half of the bunch at least was on doping, it was the year with the Baliani's, Sella's and Bossisio's of this world. But saying some concurrents are not clean would be to easy and not all honest. If we look at the Movistar team, they have so many young talents with guys like Amador, Quintana, Harrada, Costa and so many others that our orange man can not longer beat them. I really regret Movistar, with such a strong team, buying two of are best men (Castro, Intxausti). I fear it's either no pro tour next year or accepting non bask riders in the team. Why do you guys think almost all orange men do not find their normal level this year? Without great Samu, our team has ony one WT point this year, a third place in a Romandie stage by Verdugo. We hardly can say things go the right way...

Kristof said...

Magnus said...

Yeah, I saw the interview, will put it up on the page tomorrow.

I remember the year with David López and co. That was one bad edition and, as you said, only López (and Flores if I remember correctly) were on the offensive.

I'm not as pessimistic as you are though. I think the future looks quite bright with the likes of Bilbao, Izagirrex2, Landa, Sicard, Fraile etc., but surely they need to step it up, I'll give you that.

Competing with Movistar is always going to be a big ask. With their budget and pool of talent to pick that's the way it should be.

As for the riders not delivering results, I feel it's more down to the experienced riders than the youngsters. Verdugo, Martínez, Oroz, Pérez and G Izagirre, not to mention Txurruka and Velasco and Astarloza, have not been up to scratch.

Kristof said...

Yes but then they surely have to keep Landa and co. It's a case of, at least, keeping the talents.


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