Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nieve within reach of the big prize

Mikel Nieve climbed to second on today's penultimate stage of the Tour de Suisse and thus threw his hat into the ring of candidates for the overall win.

The 28-year-old out-sprinted Fränk Schleck and Levi Leipheimer at the top of the HC-ranked climb of Arosa to take second and advance to fifth on GC - only 40 seconds down on a seemingly fragile Rui Costa in yellow. The trio had made their move on the steepest pitches of the last climb at the end of the 148,2km leg starting in Bischofzsell, and gradually built up a decent gap over their nearest challengers. Gesink, Pinot and Danielson came in 21 seconds down, while the likes of Kruijswijk, Kreuziger, Fuglsang, Valverde, Caruso and Costa ceded even more time.

The stage was taken out by local rider Michael Albasini, the GreenEdge rider holding off the bunch by 1:15 having left his breakaway companions trailing in his wake on the proceeding cat.2-climb. Mikel Astarloza and Gorka Izagirre yet again showed good climbing form by staying with their leader up until the five kilometre to go-sign and persevering to claim 19th and 20th respectively, only 1:23 down in their team-leader.

Movistar's Portuguese clung onto his lead by a mere 14 seconds, with Leipheimer just a further seven seconds in arrears. Gesink is 25 down, while Nieve is fifth at 40. Tomorrow's stage, which takes in two HC-climbs before tackling a final cat.2-climb, should leave the on-song Nieve with plenty of chances to
further better his placing overall.

Incredibly (by Euskaltel's standards anyway), today's second place marks the team's third runner-up spot in a WorldTour-race in seven days after Egoi Martínez's effort in the Dauphiné and Rubén Pérez's close loss to Vladimir Isaychev earlier in this race. 

Stage eight results:
  • (1, Michael Albasini (GreenEdge), 3:45:39)
  • 2, Mikel Nieve, 1:15
  • 19, Mikel Astarloza, 2:38
  • 20, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
  • 97, Rubén Pérez, 25:31
  • 108, Romain Sicard, s.t.
  • 109, Pablo Urtasun, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar), 29:58:39)
  • (2, Fränk Schleck (RadioShack), 0:14)
  • (3, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma), 0:21)
  • (4, Robert Gesink (Rabobank), 0:25)
  • 5, Mikel Nieve, 0:40
  • 19, Mikel Astarloza, 3:21
  • 21, Gorka Izagirre, 3:30
  • 72, Rubén Pérez, 34:51
  • 117, Romain Sicard, 57:15
  • 142, Pablo Urtasun, 1:19:14

It's a fact: today's second place is Mikel Nieve's very first as a professional.


arnout said...

Thanks for the extremely useful Nieve facts :P

Good to see him carrying some form from the Giro though. It's never a bad thing to have a rider besides Samu scoring some points as well (horrible I'm even talking about this in what is supposed to be a sport and not accounting).

Magnus said...

Absolutely! A podium overall would be massive points-wise for the team.


web site counter
ISP Internet Providers