Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday racing round-up

Low-key performances in Spain, France and Portugal for Euskaltel and Orbea today. Here's a quick sum-up.

In the Vuelta a España, Igor Antón stayed out of trouble on the race's seventh stage and even advanced a few places on GC as some GC aspirants ceded time on the motor track circuit in Alcañiz. He's now 14th overall, but is still 2:06 adrift of red jersey Joaquín Rodríguez. Mikel Landa struggled after his crash yesterday and ended up more than seven minutes down. Sicard, Velasco and Txurruka once again showed they're not the most versatile of riders by getting off-hooked in the final clicks.

Up tomorrow is the second major summit finish of the race, ending atop the untested Collada de la Gallina in Andorra. Speaking to Cyclingnews some time ago, Antón had this to say about stage eight:
"It's the first of the tough summit finishes, at a point where fatigue will be starting to have an effect. We'll see who's come for the GC and riders will lose ground due to the attritional nature of the stage rather than as a result of attacks".

Antón will need to put in a few attacks of his own if he's to revive his now distant hopes of a final overall podium placing. He's ceded time at every mountainous stage so far in this race.

Former Euskaltel man Markel Irizar was taken down in a mid-pack crash some 12 kilometres out, but the RadioShack rider got up, remounted and finished the stage 10:11 down alongside fellow crash victim Linus Gerdemann.

Stage seven results (full results here):
  • (1, John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), 3:48:30)
  • 25, Rubén Pérez, 0:02
  • 42, Igor Antón, s.t.
  • 47, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
  • 54, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
  • 55, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 83, Amets Txurruka, 0:51
  • 87, Romain Sicard, 0:57
  • 149, Iván Velasco, 3:38
  • 182, Mikel Landa, 7:18

Euskaltel won't have been too sad to see the Tour de Poitou-Charentes come to a close today. The French race's concluding stage was another no-show for the riders in orange as none managed to get into the first half of the peloton as it split shortly after the start on the 188km stage from Melle to Poitiers. Pablo Urtasun and Alan Pérez called it quits, while the remaining five riders crossed the line with a big group more than eight minutes in arrears. Egoi Martínez in a lowly 67th was the team's top overall finisher.

Stage 5 results (full results here):
  • (1, Francisco Ventoso (Movistar), 4:05:19)
  • 75, Egoi Martínez, 8:52
  • 81, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 87, Ricardo García, s.t.
  • 97, Víctor Cabedo, s.t.
  • 108, Pierre Cazaux, s.t.
  • DNF: Pablo Urtasun, Alan Pérez.
Final general classification:
  • (1, Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), 16:37:13)
  • 67, Egoi Martínez, 10:35
  • 72, Mikel Nieve, 10:54
  • 85, Pierre Cazaux, 11:28
  • 115, Víctor Cabedo, 14:43
  • 119, Ricardo García, 23:12

Over at the Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta, Orbea put on a decent show as they placed two riders inside the top 15 on the race's etapa reina to the Alto da Torre. David Blanco of Portuguese team Efapel-Glassdrive, a four time winner of the race overall and twice victor at this very climb, easily soloed home ahead of team-mate Rui Sousa and 24-year-old Colombia-Coldeportes rider John Darwin Atapuma Hurtado. Blanco, last year at team Geox-TMC and of course the one who came up with a rather ridiculous defence of the disgraced Ezequiel Mosquera a year or so ago, also claimed the overall lead from LA Aluminios Antarte's Hugo Sabido. He'll look to defend that jersey in tomorrow's 32,6km ITT from Pedrogao to Leiria. 

Anyway, enough about Blanco, Mikel Bizkarra climbed to an impressive 11th just a minute or so adrift, while Omar Fraile wasn't far behind in 15th. Their bad start to the race mean they're still some way off on GC, but Fraile is now a respectable 17th with two stages to go.

Stage 8 results (full results here):
  • (1, David Blanco (Efapel-Glassdrive), 4:37:43)
  • 11, Mikel Bizkarra, 1:11
  • 15, Omar Fraile, 2:10
  • 53, Xabier Zabalo, 11:48
  • 72, Aritz Bagües, 24:36
  • 81, Igor Merino, 28:38
  • 100, Illart Zuazubiskar, 36:49
  • 101, Carlos Barbero, s.t.
  • 103, Jon Aberasturi, s.t.
  • 109, Aritz Etxebarria, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, David Blanco (Efapel-Glassdrive), 36:54:34)
  • 17, Omar Fraile, 5:42
  • 33, Mikel Bizkarra, 13:08
  • 54, Aritz Bagües, 34:07
  • 65, Xabier Zabalo, 46:22
  • 89, Jon Aberasturi, 1:15:06
  • 94, Carlos Barbero, 1:20:19
  • 117, Igor Merino, 1:41:25
  • 120, Illart Zuazubiskar, 1:45:17
  • 121, Aritz Etxebarria, 1:52:50
Photo: Karlis Medrano

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