Friday, August 24, 2012

Naturgas at two fronts

Naturgas competed both at home in Spain as well as in France today, but top results were not obtained in either country.

In France, the Naturgas Energía six-man contingent got the Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen underway with the 151,3km opening stage starting in Gan and ending in Billère. A 12-man group got up the road and stayed away, CR4C Roanne's 22-year-old Thomas Girard eventually emerging victorious after besting compatriot Kévin Pigaglio, three years his senior, of Charvieu-Chavagneux IC in a two-up sprint. Mickael Larpe (the drug cheat, remember him?) of A.PO.GE-Super U Maritime closed out the podium six seconds down, edging big favourite Arkaitz Durán.

As for Naturgas, Jon Larrinaga (pictured above) was the team's top man in 23rd, 3:17 down on the winner. Chetout and Baudron, riding on home roads, didn't get the best of starts, finishing far down the rankings.

Stage one results (full results here):
  • (1, Thomas Girard (CR4C), 3:40:01)
  • 23, Jon Larrinaga, 3:17
  • 42, Víctor Etxeberria, s.t.
  • 88, Loïc Chetout, 26:10
  • 93, Alain González, 26:54
  • 94, Mikel Iturria, s.t.
  • 111, Karl Baudron, 28:18
Up tomorrow is a 119km ride from Rébénacq to Lac de Fabrèges in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the Aquitane region.

On the domestic scene, the top placings escaped the team in the XLII San Bartolomé Saria Nagusia in the historic town of Gernika, a race part of the Trofeo Lehendakari series. Caja Rural once again had it all their own way by taking all three podium spots: Darío Hernández, ninth yesterday in Elgoibar, claiming the win ahead of Antonio Molina, fourth yesterday, and Miguel Ángel Bonito, third yesterday.  20-year-old Beñat Txoperena, formerly of Caja Rural but now with Bidelan, went one better than Thursday by taking fourth at approximately a minute, while Scottland's Robert Lee Hassan of Ibaigane-Opel closed out the top five. 

  • 1, Dario Hernández (Caja Rural), 2:40:43
  • 2, Antonio Molina (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 3, Miguel Ángel Bonito (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 4, Beñat Txoperena (Bidelan-Kirolgi), 1:17
  • 5, Robert Lee Hassan (Ibaigane Opel), 2:27
  • 6, Julio Alberto Amores (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 7, Ion Iriarte (Bideal-Kirolgi), s.t.
  • 8, Niek van Geffen (Caja Rural), 2:30
  • 9, Unai Cortes (Ibaigane-Opel), s.t.
  • 10, Imanol Estévez, 2:58
  • 41, Pablo Comins, 9:31
  • 44, Oier Sánchez, 9:56
Team classifications:
  • 1, Caja Rural
  • 2, Bidelan-Kirolgi
  • 3, Ibaigane-Opel
  • 4, Seguros Bilbao
  • 5, Gopar-Ikolan Lanaldi
  • 6, Naturgas Energía
  • 7, Debabarrena
Mountains classification:
  • 1, Miguel Angel Bonito (Caja Rural)
Metas Volantes classification:
  • 1, Johann Abraham Van Zyl (Caja Rural)
Photo: Pascal Baudron

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