Thursday, May 17, 2012

Txurruka's golden chance goes begging

Amets Txurruka got into the race-winning break on today's 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia, but couldn't find the means to outfox his breakaway companions and was forced to settle for seventh.

The 157km hilly ride from Seravezza to Sestri Levante was destined for a break to go all the way, and luckily the team paid attention and got Txurruka in there along with eight others: FDJ's Casar, Vacansoleil's Keizer (again), BMC's Santaromita, Movistar's Amador, Androni's Rodríguez, Omega Pharma's Golas, Radioshack's Bakelants and Lotto's eventual winner Bak. As Katusha suddenly relinquished the lead of the peloton with roughly 60 clicks to go, the break quickly built up and unassailable lead over the penultimate climb. The attacking started for real up the last climb, a cat.3 topping out some 10 kilometres from the line, but no one really got away. Surprisingly given his comparatively weak sprint, Txurruka never really gave it a go, only accelerating mildly for a short five seconds close to the top. The group splintered somewhat near the top, but the entire group, except for the spent Golas and the naturalle exhausted Keizer, got together on the descent. On the three-kilometre run-in, everyone seemed content to sit on and watch, with only Casar and Amador seeming keen to avoid a group sprint.

The inevitable then happened with approximately two clicks to go when Bak, a strong rouleur and expert at late-race moves, got a decent-sized gap. Txurruka didn't manage to close it, didn't receive any help, and just like that the big Dane had it wrapped up. Casar brought home Txurruka's group 12 seconds later, while the Euskaltel rider lost the sprint and crossed the line in seventh.

If you missed the stage on TV, check out how the last five kilometres unfolded below:

The peloton, containing all the big favourites as well as Euskaltel trio Nieve, Oroz and Izagirre, came home 3:34 in arrears, meaning Rodríguez will once again don the pink jersey tomorrow morning.

Stage results:
  • (1, Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto-Belisol), 3:58:20
  • 7, Amets Txurruka, 0:12
  • 48, Mikel Nieve, 3:34
  • 50, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
  • 65, Jon Izagirre, s.t.
  • 121, Iván Velasco, 12:05
  • 135, Pierre Cazaux, 13:32
  • 176, Miguel Minguez, 20:21
  • 178, Adrián Sáez, s.t.
  • 180, Víctor Cabedo, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), 51:19:08)
  • 37, Mikel Nieve, 3:35
  • 49, Jon Izagirre, 9:37
  • 58, Juan José Oroz, 18:51
  • 73, Iván Velasco, 31:13
  • 86, Amets Txurruka, 41:10
  • 138, Víctor Cabedo, 1:18:04
  • 172, Pierre Cazaux, 1:42:20
  • 181, Adrián Sáez, 1:58:50
  • 186, Miguel Minguez, 2:15:27

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