Saturday, July 21, 2012

Last chance goes begging

Euskaltel left it all on the road in today's penultimate road race stage, but will more than likely head home to Spain without the stage-win their effort merited.

The 223km leg from Blagnac to Brive-le-Gaillarde was the last real chance the team had of grabbing a victory, seeing as tomorrow's ITT is out of the question and beating the sprinters at their own game on the Champs-Elysées without an sprinter in the team is nigh on impossible. Rubén Pérez gave it a go early on, but his six-man group was never given more than a minute's gap and was quickly reeled in. The decisive 16-man move that formed later on included no Euskaltel representatives, meaning Gorka Izagirre, Jorge Azanza and Pablo Urtasun were left to keep the break in check along with Rabobank to ensure the group would be caught.

They did a tremendous job keeping the pace high at the front, but once the break was usurped there were no orange to be seen. With everyone but Egoi tired from leading the peloton all day, there were simply no riders left to chase the win they were after.

Speaking post-race, DS Gerrikagoitia highlighted the team's attitude.

"It's been a day of nonconformity", he told "Every team wanted to be in the break, but we missed out. We talked it over and decided to work to bring it back together to give us a chance of a win. We knew the Tour would come to an end for us today, so we had to give it our all. Today's stage was just as important as the last ones, and we battled to the very end. We didn't give up".

Stage 18 results:
  • (1, Mark Cavendish (Sky), 5:54:12)
  • 25, Rubén Pérez, 0:04
  • 38, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
  • 98, Jorge Azanza, 2:07
  • 150, Pablo Urtasun, 8:54
  • 151, Gorka Izagirre, 11:55

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