Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sánchez leaves Izagirre in his wake

Gorka Izagirre was left to ponder what might have been after finishing fifth in today's 14th stage of the Tour de France.

The stage from Limoux to Foix was on paper perfectly suited for Izagirre's talents, and the 24-year-old duly made it into the break of the day. In the company of Luis León Sánchez, Philippe Gilbert, Sandy Casar and Peter Sagan (not to mention the huge group that was broken up on the last cat.1 climb), it was always going to be a big ask to emerge victorious. And when the classy Rabobank rider went solo in trademark style, it was immediately clear he'd stay away. The remaining quartet looked pretty knackered and aware of the fact that they had an almost impossible task at their hands when he first had built up a ten-second gap.

In the sprint for second, Izagirre lost out and were forced to settle for fifth. Still a great performance though, and a reassuring one at that given his rather indifferent results of late.

"At the start of the Tour I said I'd like to get into a break and fight for a win, and today I did just that", he told the team's website post-stage. "The breakaway was made up of high-quality riders, winners, and  I did the best I could. At the end I was a fair bit tired and ended up fifth, but I'm feeling good in this Tour and I'm pleased with my ride. I didn't have much time to think about a strategy. In the last descent I gave it a go and tried to stay away with Casar and Sagan, after all three is better than five, but it wasn't to be and I left quite a lot of energy there. I don't know he was the strongest, but Luisle has done this numerous times before and was the most attentive. He jumped when Sagan was about to go back to the car. I though twice, and with Luisle that's way too much."

The main talking point after the stage wasn't the outcome though, but rather the tacks thrown onto the road which saw 30+ riders puncture at the top of the last mountain. Egoi Martínez got a flat twice, according to the team's website, and Jorge Azanza and Rubén Pérez also suffered punctures. It wasn't enough to keep Martínez out of the running for a high overall placing though, as he stayed with the main group to preserve his 18th overall.

Stage 14 results:
  • (1, Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank), 4:50:29)
  • 5, Gorka Izagirre, 0:47
  • 64, Egoi Martínez, 18:15
  • 73, Rubén Pérez, 21:19
  • 84, Jorge Azanza, 23:33
  • 128, Pablo Urtasun, 28:18
General classification:
  • (1, Bradley Wiggins (Sky), 64:41:16)
  • 18, Egoi Martínez, 18:04
  • 40, Gorka Izagirre, 1:04:31
  • 88, Jorge Azanza, 1:45:03
  • 104, Rubén Pérez, 1:53:41
  • 151, Pablo Urtasun, 2:29:09


Kristof said...

Gorka missed experience, was clear the first attack would be the good caused by Sagan within the group. Peter Sagan, he's the most talented rider I've seen in my life! And what about Egoi Martinez???? I've never seen him riding this good. It seems to me he'll try a top 20 GC to gain some points, it in fact unbelievable. Samu, Verdugo and even Astarloza could end up much higher (maybe even Amets), but with all our guys gone Egoi does the best he can for a decent GC. Classy!

Magnus said...

Martínez is for sure impressive, he's really stood up after Samu dropped out. He should have a decent chance for a top 20 overall I reckon.

As for Sagan, he's out of this world!


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