Thursday, August 23, 2012

Antón flops; Landa crashes

Stage six was another day of agony for Euskaltel at the Vuelta a España as Igor Antón went from bad to worse and Mikel Landa crashed hard.

Igor Antón, flanked by team-mates, was visibly struggling prior to the start of the final cat.3-ascent that was bound to decide the outcome of the stage from Tarazona to Jaca, and on the climb he did struggle. Big time. He was never near the front and ceded 57 seconds to victor and red jersey Joaquín Rodríguez by stage's end, looking as spent as he did throughout last year's edition. The 29-year-old consequently dropped to 17th overall, and is now a pretty big 2:06 adrift of the diminutive Katusha rider.

It was a sorry sight to see the Euskaltel captain grinding his way up the vicious ramps to Jaca, and it only got worse as it was revealed post-race that Mikel Landa, who's failed so spectacularly to live up to expectations thus far, had hit the deck quite hard about halfway through. The 22-year-old has got a banged up shoulder, hip and leg, but kept at it and crossed the line a full 18:45 down.

As for Antón, he admitted it hadn't been his day.

"I had a very bad day", he said straight up. "I felt bad right from the off. I think the heat is affecting me a lot. The stage was also quite demanding, there were no breaks, the roads were narrow, the tension... I accumulated fatigue throughout and paid for it in the end. I didn't start the last climb in a good way, but I improved and finished better than I started. I'm not in the shape I would have liked, but I got through another day and both tomorrow, to Alcañiz, and on Saturday, to Andorra, I have to feel better. I'm optimistic, and I hope I'll feel better these next two days".

Antón was seen being escorted by Astarloza, Txurruka, Verdugo and the likes at the start of the ascent, but crossed the line alone ahead of his companions.

Stage six results (full results here):
  • (1, Joaquín Rodríguez (Katusha), 4:35:22)
  • 27, Igor Antón, 0:57
  • 31, Gorka Verdugo, 1:09
  • 38, Iván Velasco, 1:42
  • 45, Amets Txurruka, 2:19
  • 47, Mikel Astarloza, 2:25
  • 58, Juan José Oroz, 4:03
  • 72, Romain Sicard, 5:45
  • 105, Rubén Pérez, 9:42
  • 140, Mikel Landa, 18:45
General classification:
  • (1, Joaquín Rodríguez (Katusha), 22:04:32)
  • 17, Igor Antón, 2:06
  • 24, Gorka Verdugo, 2:59
  • 29, Amets Txurruka, 4:21
  • 41, Iván Velasco, 7:19
  • 43, Mikel Astarloza, 7:37
  • 44, Romain Sicard, 8:50
  • 49, Juan José Oroz, 11:10
  • 92, Mikel Landa, 24:24
  • 103, Rubén Pérez, 29:32


kKDu said...

Lets see it from the positive side. Igor has its usual form (the Vuelta 2010 was by far an exception), and Ivan is still within the peleton.

Anonymous said...

How about give Gorka Verdugo a free role to pursue his own results.

azanca02 said...

Everyone go for stage wins and let Gorka do his own thing!

Kristof said...

Totally agree, but Gorka did allready lose a lot of time to help Anton. Going for stage wins defintely. This said, it's sometimes questionning how fast some guys ride while we see our guys, immer brave,struggling at the back of the peleton. I wonder, if Sicard, Txurru or Landa would wear a Sky shirt, would they also go 25% harder? Froome was a usual climber two years ago, level Txurru and Verdugo.

azanca02 said...

Yeah well Sky is the new doping ring of modern cycling. I mean when they are dropping some of the best climbers in the world at the TDF and they still have 3 and 4 team mates it reminds me of the old US Postal days.

Magnus said...

New doping ring? That's quite an (interesting) accusation. Please elaborate, Tony!

Stephen said...

"Yeah well Sky is the new doping ring of modern cycling"

Oh come on, I hope that was tongue in cheek!

When you throw 60 million euros at a problem and you have a track record of achievement through inovation then success is pretty much guarenteed.

Bolsen3 said...

Well, I think it's quite farfetched to accuse Sky for doping with no real evidence. Actually it's quite good to see that a guy like Alberto is no longer miles ahead of the rest, that is a good sign. Look at the way the mountains are being climbed, it all looks a lot cleaner than before, with fewer accelerations and attacks on the big chainring.

As for Froome, he has obviously improved a lot in short time. I wouldn't bet my life in him being clean, but remember that his talent has always been there, it didn't just come out of the blue. His data (the WATTS he is able to produce) have been extremely good for a long time. It was just a matter of time before he became good...

azanca02 said...

Well if these guys were all big talents last year than why was it a pretty fair fight in the tour last year when besides the two schlek brothers there were no team mates that were together. I am not saying that they are all doping but it just seems odd to me that all these guys are suddenly the top climbers in the world compared to the other team captains.

I do agree that it is good not to see Contador in a league of his own. I just beleive that last year was the most clean tour we have seen in years.

arnout said...

There's quite a lot of circumstantial evidence against Sky though. To give you one example, Wiggins had a fat percentage of 5% in 2007. Still, he somehow managed to lose 7/8 kg and with that improve in time trial and mountains. Funny thing is that he was listed as 77kg on the Olympic website. If that was really true, he has been lying all along.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the original topic, if the team start working for Verdugo, he could still realistically manage a top ten especially the way the race is going.

Magnus said...

Yeah, Verdugo looks sharp and should be fresh after abandoning the Tour

Stephen said...

"circumstantial evidence "

Wiggins body fat/weight?

I think you'll have to do better than that Arnout!

A top quality track rider starts training for the road and ends up in a team totally dedicated to getting him in the best shape with the best possible team to help. Add a TdF biased towards his strenghts and most other contenders either absent or off form and you get the first British winner. He won't win another TdF or GT, but he IS clean, something we should all celebrate.

Kristof said...

'but he IS clean' Stephen, you either live with the guy 24hrs a day or you must admire him to unseen highths. Due to the last twenty years I think it's impossible to say something like that. The only top riders of last 15 years I would ALMOST put my hand into the fire are Samu, Sastre and Evans. I also believed in Nibali but he lost a lot of my credits signing Astana. I don't think we need a Sky doping/clean discussion, there are a 150 topics on the internet about that. I think the accusations to Sky are a part out of frustrations and another part things, as said above, which are really a bit odd. I believe when Froome is clean he collapses the third week because these times it's impossible to do TDF and Vuelta in top shape.
I did not point the finger specifically to Sky, I only said that I often see some guys riding so hard/above their level and I never see the Orange guys do this. Not only Sky, but the wonderyear of Gilbert, Voeckler/Europcar TDF(well here is an official doping investigation), Iglinsky LBL, Zaugg Lombardia, Haussler 2009 (Amets was second, that German sprinter was phenomenal in the mountains), Vanendert TDF 2011, Mosquera Vuelta 2010, Cobo Vuelta 2011 and so on and so on. I do not say all these things are caused by dping, I only say that this never happens to Euskaltel guys. They always finish where you expect them to finish. I thnik within Euskaltel since 2010 the control in the team is high if you compare it to other teams. Katusha has every year doping cases, you won't tell me there's much control into the team. And If I'm honest, I like it the way it is, I would feel insecure if some Euskaltels made a rather unusual impression. I dare to say, besides Astarloza, we have the cleanest team in cycling (and I hope it stays that way!)

Kristof said...

PS : To those who defend Sky, do not forget Geert Leinders is team doctor (we know his past). Even Ibaguren is still working with a Pro Tour team. If teams want we believe in a modern cycling which is clean, they should not work with this kind of people.


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