Sunday, August 19, 2012

Castroviejo in red as Euskaltel start off well

Igor Antón got his general classification campaign at the Vuelta a España off to a surprisingly strong start as Euskaltel ceded no more than 28 seconds to runaway winners Movistar.

The team looked like a decently well-oiled machine throughout the 16,5km team time trial in downtown Pamplona, and finished up ninth of the 22 teams taking the start. With recent team time trial results fresh in the memory, it was a better performance than most would have expected prior to the opener and leaves Antón with not too much work to do in the mountains.

Movistar annihilated the competition on home roads by coming in a full ten seconds ahead of Rabobank, who in turn beat Euskaltel by 18 seconds. More importantly of course, Antón ceded no more than 24 seconds to possible GC rival Cobo, 18 to Gesink and Mollema, 16 to Froome and Van den Broeck, 14 to Contador and 13 to Purito. Antón crossed the line alongside Verdugo, Oroz, Astarloza, Sicard and Landa, while Txurruka came in nine seconds further down. Velasco and Pérez ended up 1:26 behind their team-mates.

Former Euskaltel riders Beñat Intxausti and Jonathan Castroviejo drove the Movistar train in the closing stages, the latter crossing the line first to get the honour of donning the red jersey of overall leader in the team's backyard. Castro and co. managed to drop Cobo in the final hundred metres though, meaning Antón lost four seconds fewer to Cobo than his team-mates.

"Considering we're a team of climbers, we can be pleased with our performance", 29-year-old Antón told Cyclingnews upon crossing the line. "We've worked hard recently at the team time trials and it's really important to get off to a good start. I want to go for the overall, even if there are a lot of top-flight contenders here".

DS Álvaro González de Galdeano, himself no slouch in the 'race of truth' back when he was racing, echoed his star rider's comments when speaking to the team's website post-race.

"It was a very good stage", he said. "To start with a good result gives the riders much motivation. We lost less than half a minute to the winners, so we have to be satisfied. I felt the team was really committed, and that's what's most important to me".

Stage one results:
  • (1, Movistar, 18:51)
  • (2, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 0:10)
  • (3, Rabobank, s.t.)
  • 9, Euskaltel, 0:28 (Txurruka 0:09, Velasco and Pérez 1:26)
Photo: Iñaki Azanza


Colin said...

a fantastic performance from the lads i have been banging on about the need to do this over the last lot of weeks we are only 29 down instead of the norm 1.29 how can this be a bad thing

Kristof said...

Good job! But what a shame to see ex Eus super talents Castro and Intxausti seeing destroy the whole field, even their own team mate Cobo. Imaginge these two guys would still be in orange...

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