Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vuelta stage 1 and Cyclassics round-up

Not much to write home about from the Vuelta a España today, as the sprinters had it all their own way on the 181km stage two from Pamplona to Viana.

Degenkolb took the spoils, while Rubén Pérez got in there and came away with 11th. All Euskaltel riders stayed out of trouble and came in with the pack, including Juan José Oroz who took to Twitter yesterday to say he'd had a "very bad" day at the office. Another Basque not enjoying the best of Vuelta openers, crash victim Koldo Fernández of Garmin-Sharp, showed no ill-effects and grabbed 12th at the line.

As for Antón, he was probably spending all day thinking about tomorrow's stage to Arrate - a famously happy hunting ground for the team (read: Samuel Sánchez). Antón himself came close to snatching what would have been a popular victory at the mythical climb back in 2009 at the Euskal Bizikleta, but had to give best to Eros Capecchi after showcasing unimpressive descending skills. The Arrate traditionally doesn't separate the GC contenders all that much though, and Antón doesn't expect it will this time around either.

"It'll only be the third stage of the race, so we have to stay calm. There'll be plenty of racing left afterwards", he told the team's website, cautious as ever. "The team time trial worked out well for us and we got through today's stage. We'll see how the stage to Arrate goes. It'll be a nice stage, it's a meaningful one for us, a special climb. I don't think there'll be big differences, but we have to be attentive and stay as close to the front as possible. We'll see how the legs respond on the first summit finish".

Over in Germany, Egoi Martínez made sure Euskaltel for once were in the thick of the action at the Vattenfall Cyclassics. The veteran formed part of a dangerous move that formed going over the Weseberg the last time, and stayed up ahead for approximately 10 clicks before being reeled back in. As anticipated it all came down to a sprint finish, a finish in which Euskaltel came off worse for wear when Gorka Izagirre was taken down in the wake of Orica-GreenEdge rider Darryl Impey's crash in the final 300 metres. It didn't look to bad for the native of Ormaiztegi, though, as he appeared to be able to slow down for quite a while before actually running into the carnage ahead of him. The team's website reports his injuries are nothing big.

In the lack of a pure sprinter, Alan Pérez was Euskaltel's top finisher in 23rd. Samuel Sánchez looked decent as he stayed calm mid-pack pretty much all day en route to a 31st-place finish. Next up for the 34-year-old is the Tour de Poitou Charentes commencing this Tuesday.

Full results:
  • (1, Arnaud Démare (FDJ), 6:03:20)
  • 23, Alan Pérez, s.t.
  • 27, Egoi Martínez, 0:16
  • 31, Samuel Sánchez, 0:24
  • 40, Ricardo García, 0:36
  • 65, Mikel Nieve, 1:11
  • 76, Ion Izagirre, 2:40
  • 77, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
  • DNF: Pablo Urtasun


Colin said...

nice to c an orange rider up there in the sprint

Magnus said...

Yeah, long time no see!


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