Monday, June 18, 2012

Orbea gain experience in France

Orbea headed to France and the Boucles de la Mayenne this past weekend to try their hand at unseating the top domestic teams over four days of racing.

The team sent Aritz Etxebarria, Carlos Barbero, Omar Fraile, Haritz Orbe, Jon Aberasturi and Illart Zuazubiskar to the 2.2-ranked race containing a 4,5km prologue and three road stages just short of the 200km mark.

With teams like Europcar, Cofidis and Saur-Sojasun lining up, it was always going to be a big ask to come away with any meaningful results. And so it turned out, as Carlos Barbero's creditable sixth place on stage one, from Saint-Berthevin to Lassay-les-Châteaux, was the team's top result. That result shouldn't be sniffed out though, as Barbero showed what a potentially deadly finishing-kick he possesses by beating the likes of Niko Eeckhout, Samuel Dumoulin and Gediminas Bagdonas to the line. Add in the fact that he'd gone approximately a month without competing prior to the race, and the result speaks volumes. He reportedly suffered a few crashes over the four stages, but there's no indication he's injured in any way. 

Jon Aberasturi tried to equal Barbero's result on the last day, but had to contend with 11th as the finish line in Laval came a little too soon for the speedy 23-year-old. The on-song Omar Fraile, who'd started out well enough with 37th in the prologue, was forced to pull out along with team-mate Etxebarria on the final day. Fraile had, according to his Twitter account, struggled with pain in his achilles in France. 

Bretagne-Schuller's Laurent Pichon eventually took overall honours, while Barbero was the team's top man in 42nd.

Final general classification:
  • (1, Laurent Pichon (Bretagne-Schuller), 12:36:19)
  • 42, Carlos Barbero, 1:31
  • 43, Jon Aberasturi, 1:32
  • 76, Haritz Orbe, 6:44
  • 94, Illart Zuazubiskar, 20:17

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