Friday, June 15, 2012

Euskaltel strong in Suisse TT

Mikel Nieve put on one of his best performances in an individual time trial ever as Euskaltel placed three riders inside the top 40 in today's 34km ITT in the Tour de Suisse.

The seventh stage of the Swiss WorldTour-race was thought to be a major handicap for Nieve's overall ambitions, but the Leitza native rode a consistent crono en route to a 35th place finish, only 1:51 down on surprise winner Fredrik Kessiakoff of Astana. More importantly he only ceded 1:10 to overall leader Rui Costa and less than half a minute to the likes of Valverde, Schleck, Danielson and Fuglsang. Nieve is now 12th on GC, and has ample opportunity to improve on that placing in the two mountain stages to come this weekend. Position-wise he also looked much more aero than what I've seen in the past. His position still needs work, he's still all over the place at times, but it seems he's getting there.

Mikel Astarloza showed his form is on the up with a decent 25th place, while another Tour-bound rider, Gorka Izagirre, wasn't far off in 37th. Amazingly, Euskaltel is still top of the team standings after the ITT.

Igor Antón did not take the start today. According to the team's website, it was always planned he'd head home after stage six, as another three days in the saddle would be too much considering he hasn't raced since he broke his clavicle in Liège. Next up for him is the Tour of Poland, a race which runs concurrently with the Tour this summer.

Stage seven results:
  • (1, Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana), 46:36)
  • 25, Mikel Astarloza, 1:34
  • 35, Mikel Nieve, 1:51
  • 37, Gorka Izagirre, 1:59
  • 60, Romain Sicard, 2:52
  • 86, Pablo Urtasun, 3:56
  • 111, Rubén Pérez, 4:40


Nick said...

Encouraging results from both Mikels! Do you happen to know what the parcours were like?

If Mikel did this on panflat roads I would be in awe, but I highly doubt the route was not at least slightly undulating

Magnus said...

I'm sad to say that, yes, it was quite hilly. Not quite País Vasco-like, but not far off. Lumpy and technical, it had a climb that topped out at 727 metres in the opening half of the race. Still, though, not bad!


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