Monday, September 17, 2012

Estévez ever closer to overall lead

Imanol Estévez's second place in Sunday's Torneo Lehendakari-race in Bergara, Gipuzkoa, leaves him tantalizingly close to claiming the overall series win ahead of Saturday's concluding race in Oñati.

The fast-finishing first-year Naturgas Energía rider was six points behind Debabarrena's overall leader Aitor González going into the 108km race, taken out last year by that man Karol Domagalski (Caja Rural) again en route to the overall series triumph. Fellow Caja Rural rider Rubén Fernández, enjoying a stellar campaign, claimed his fifth triumph of 2012 in some style, soloing in 19 seconds ahead of a an eight-man group led home by Estévez. Overall leader González was in that group, but could only claim seventh, meaning (by my calculations anyway) that González now only holds a one-point lead over the young Naturgas prodigy. Jon Larrinaga, through his sixth place, solidified his third place overall.

What's more, the red and white team claimed the team's prize to close out a job well done.

"In the first part of the race we were in most of the breaks. Facing the San Asentzio climb (where Fernández made his winning move), Víctor Etxeberria and Mikel Iturria helped out Estévez and he eventually claimed second", DS Urretxua told "I would also like to highlight the work done by Jon Larrinaga, who grabbed a creditable sixth. Facing the last race in the Torneo Lehendakari in Oñati, we'll look to make a last push for the general classification".

Then Naturgas Energía rider Fernando Grijalba claimed last year's race in Oñati, so at least history will be on the team's side at the weekend.

Results Martin Deunaren Saria, Bergara:
  • 1, Rubén Fernández (Caja Rural), 2:32:15
  • 2, Imanol Estévez (Naturgas Energía), 0:19
  • 3, Juan Ignacio Pérez (Diputación de Ávila - Smileekers), s.t.
  • 4, Cristobal Sánchez (Seguros Bilbao), s.t.
  • 5, Adrián González (Ibaigane Opel), s.t.
  • 6, Jon Larrinaga (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 7, Aitor González (Debabarrena), s.t.
  • 8, Pim Klaver (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor), s.t.
  • 9, Miguel Abellan (Seguros Bilbao), s.t.
  • 10, Iñigo Ojeda (Koplad-Uni2), 0:22
As for the Euskaldun-race on Saturday in Alsasua, close to Pamplona over in Navarra, young French hotshot Alexis Guérin claimed top honours in his first race in the Basque Country. The 20-year-old time trial specialist from the Entente Sud Gascogne outfit, earlier this year a part of France's Tour de l'Avenir squad and a winner of a stage in the Ronde de l'Isard and a silver medallist at the French nationals for juniors in the race against the clock, beat Basque Unai Elorriaga of Cespa-Euskadi by two seconds, while Azysa's Mike Terpstra, always there or thereabouts, took the last spot on the podium.

Rubén Fernández, hoping to do like Domagalski did last year and take out the race, had to settle for seventh ahead of Sunday's triumph.

Naturgas did not field a team.

Results LXXXIII Prueba Ciclista Alsasua:
  • 1, Alexis Guérin (Entente Sud Gascogne), 3:01:08
  • 2, Unai Elorriaga (Cespa-Euskadi), 0:02
  • 3, Mike Terpstra (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor WRC), 0:26
  • 4, Unai Iparragirre (Bidelan-Kirolgi), 1:06
  • 5, Dario Hernández (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 6, Ibai Davoz (Bidelan-Kirolgi), 1:24
  • 7, Rubén Fernández (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 8, Pim Klaver (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor), 1:27
  • 9, Mathieu Malbert (Entente Sud Gascogne), s.t.
  • 10, Santiago Ramírez (Lizarte), 1:33
Photo: Pascal Baudron

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