Thursday, July 12, 2012

Martínez makes his mark in France

Egoi Martínez put on the kind of brave display the team needed after its recent travails on today's stage ten. While the win eluded the ever-aggressive 34-year-old, he finished up a respectable seventh.

The first real day in the mountains was a 194,5km trek from Mâcon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, a day seemingly made for the breakaway artists of the peloton. As such it was no surprise to see Martínez, a usual suspect, escape with a couple of dozen other riders relatively early on.

A natural selection was made on the demanding Col du Grand Colombier, and the Euskaltel rider was not able to keep up the pace enforced by Luisle Sánchez, Voeckler, Devenyns and Scarponi. Stuck behind in the second group was Martínez, Voigt, Casar and Fofonov, but, despite never letting the lead quartet get too far away, this group was never able to catch up with the frontrunners. Except for Voigt though, who used his superhuman will and tremendous power to bridge up just in time to contest the stage. Voeckler timed his move to perfection, while Martínez had to settle for seventh in the end.

As a consequence of coming in some 30 seconds ahead of the first part of the peloton, Martínez advanced to 24th on GC.

"I'm happy with my ride", he said to the team's website post-race. "It was a high-quality break; you only need to look at their names and their palmares. To be ahead up until the very last moment is very difficult, and I wasn't far off, so I'm pleased with my level of form. I felt good, and you can't ask for more when you give it your all. Our goal is to be in the breaks and fight for stages now, and we'll do our best", he said.

And will he get into more breaks?

"Efforts like today take their toll, so tomorrow I'll try to take it easy in the hope of recovering well. But I hope to have one more chance later on in the race".

Gorka Izagirre made me look like a fool today with a performance that ruled him out of the running for a top 20 overall. The 24-year-old somehow managed to come in dead last more than half an hour back, but there's no indication he struggled with sickness or mechanical trouble. Perhaps he was just saving up some energy for a breakaway attempt tomorrow, who knows? Anyway, tomorrow's stage to La Toussuire - where Ibán Mayo triumphed in 2006 - promises to be an enticing one. Expect to see a rider or two in orange up the road.

Stage ten results:
  • (1, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), 4:46:26)
  • 7, Egoi Martínez, 2:44
  • 117, Jorge Azanza, 27:27
  • 118, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
  • 159, Pablo Urtasun, 31:55
  • 175, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

WTF? Dead last? (OK, it was a big group so that doesn't really mean a lot) If it's a tactic then I think it's a strange one, he's hardly going to be chased down by GC contenders anyway. Everyone wants to win a stage so simply staying away is the hard part. Personally, I'd have liked him to fight for the highest possible placing as I'm sure it will do him more good in the long run. He'd be mad to try for a break tomorrow, thats a real 'survival' day for 90% of the peloton, a day to sit back and watch the fireworks from Nibs, Evans etc..

Of course, if it works then I'm happy to join you Magnus in looking foolish :-)


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