Sunday, June 10, 2012

Suisse: Nieve third on Verbier

Mikel Nieve made good use of his post-Giro d'Italia form to climb to third on today's second stage of the Tour de Suisse.

The 28-year-old, fresh off 10th overall in the Italian GT, looked lively and at his best on the steep finishing climb of the Verbier at the end of the mammoth 218,3km stage starting in Verbania. Fränk Schleck left it all on the road with a daring attack six clicks from the top, but Nieve, along with the likes of eventual victor Alberto Rui Faria da Costa and John Gadret, soon went on the attack as well, putting in several digs to eventually distance a small group containing most of the GC favourites. While Movistar's Portuguese wonderkid managed to catch and pass the ailing Schleck inside the last 400 metres, Nieve couldn't quite keep up but still had enough in the tank to grab a creditable third and with it a ninth overall. And, perhaps more importantly, a few WorldTour-points to go with it.

The team at one point had a trio of riders in the lead group, but Gorka Izagirre and Mikel Astarloza were forced to let go of the front-runners once Schleck made his move. The two still did well though to finish 26th and 27th respectively at 1:40, while Antón, still easing his way back into shape after breaking his collarbone in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, came home with the gruppetto some 13 minutes back.

Stage two results:
  • (1, Rui Costa (Movistar), 6:21:13)
  • 3, Mikel Nieve, 0:12
  • 26, Gorka Izagirre, 1:40
  • 27, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 70, Iván Velasco, 4:50
  • 124, Romain Sicard, 10:10
  • 125, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
  • 150, Pablo Urtasun, 13:24
  • 151, Igor Antón, s.t.
It's a fact: Nieve's third place marks only his second third place in his career - the other one came a few weeks ago atop the Stelvio. 


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