Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"It was spectacular"

Gorka Izagirre showed once again what a complete rider he's turning into with third on today's queen-stage of the Tour de France.

The 16th stage over 197 kilometres from Pau to Bagneres de Luchon took in the behemoths of the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde, and was as such every Basque's dream stage. The team duly went on the offensive, placing a trio of riders in the main, gigantic 38-man breakaway. The aforementioned Izagirre, Jorge Azanza and Egoi Martínez were all there, showing off their colours in front of their fanatic fans.

Entirely as expected, Thomas Voeckler ran away with the race, finishing solo ahead of the wily Dane Sörenson of Saxo Bank. Izagirre, initially dislodged on the Aspin and then again a few times at the foot of the Peyresourde, put on one of his best performances this year by out-sprinting the ever classy Vinokourov to the line, 3:22 down on the Frenchman.

Talking post-stage, the 24-year-old paid tribute to the people who lined the road.

"It was spectacular", he told the team's website. "I want to thank the fans, my friends, the whole world, the "Orange tide". You all made this day special."

Egoi Martínez, who earlier on had said he was enjoying "the best Tour of my life", had everything but his best day on the bike, falling off the pace of the break unexpectedly early, but doing just enough to hang onto 18th overall. Azanza was out the door considerably earlier, but Izagirre applauded the team's never-say-die attitude.

"The team is doing a great race. We're only five, but we put three in a 30-something break. Jorge and Egoi were in there today, other days it's been Rubén or Pablo... As for today, I felt good. I had good sensations, but Voeckler was super. When he's on a day like today, it's almost impossible to stay with him. To get this far in the Tour and still be ahead of the race's queen-stage makes me happy. You can't ask for more than to give everything".

Stage 16 results:
  • (1, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), 5:35:02)
  • 3, Gorka Izagirre, 3:22
  • 24, Egoi Martínez, 10:46
  • 43, Pablo Urtasun, 11:56
  • 49, Jorge Azanza, 15:17
  • 94, Rubén Pérez, 27:33
General classification:
  • (1, Bradley Wiggins (Sky), 74:15:32)
  • 18, Egoi Martínez, 21:41
  • 35, Gorka Izagirre, 1:00:44
  • 77, Jorge Azanza, 1:53:11
  • 99, Rubén Pérez, 2:14:05
  • 125, Pablo Urtasun, 2:33:56


Stephen said...

Great preformance from Gorka today, thats two top five placings this year, a tremendous effort.

Pity that ITV4 over here didn't show any of his heroics on the highlights show, we saw the leader and the yellow jersey but nothing inbetween!

Stephen said...

At one point today I thought he was on another good one and would be in the shake up at the end....never mind, he has clearly progressed and does not look out of place in the best of company...not many overtake Sagan going downhill but he did it on Monday, made my blood run cold!


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