Saturday, September 08, 2012

Estévez still strong as team set for busy weekend

Speedy Naturgas Energía prodigy Imanol Estévez continued his strong season by taking second in Monday's Euskaldun-race in Lekeitio. The team failed to grab the top places in Saturday's Lehendakari-race in Urduliz, but Larrinaga, Estévez and co. will continue to hunt the team's third win of the year on Sunday in Bermeo.

In Monday's 118km race he was only bested by Laureano Rosas, the Argentine taking the win in a sprint finish just like his fellow South American Gaston Agüero did last year. Naturgas placed four other riders in the first 30-man group, while Estévez also came out tops in the mountains classification.

Results Memorial Oier Elorriaga-GP San Antolin (full results here):
  • 1, Laureano Rosas (National team of Argentina), 2:48:52
  • 2, Imanol Estévez (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 3, Mario Gutiérrez (CAI), s.t.
  • 4, Miguel Ángel Benito (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 5, Iván González (Lizarte), s.t.
  • 6, Arkaitz Durán (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor WRC), s.t.
  • 7, Iñigo Ojeda (Koplad-Uni2), s.t.
  • 8, Alejandro Cobo (Bidelan-Kirolgi), s.t.
  • 9, Beñat Txoperena (Bidelan-Kirolgi), s.t.
  • 10, José Manuel Gutiérrez (Gomur), s.t.
  • 14, Karl Baudron (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 25, Víctor Etxeberria (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 26, Jon Larrinaga (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 30, Alain González (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 37, Loïc Chetout (Naturgas Energía), 5:45
  • 38, Pablo Comins (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 56, Francisco Javier Martín (Naturgas Energía), 6:55
  • 57, Mikel Iturria (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
Borja Abásolo continues to head up the overall standings of the race series ahead of Bidelan's Markel Antón. To races (in Alsasua and Zaldibia) remain.

In Saturday's important Terneo Lehendakari-race in Urduliz, a race series in which Estévez and Jon Larrinaga are still looking to recapture the overall lead for the team after ceding it to Debabarrena's Aitor González some time ago, Caja Rural once again dominated proceedings. Antonio Molina led team-mate Rubén Fernández, fresh off completing the Tour de l'Avenir, across the line ahead of a small group 24 seconds down. The duo attacked their 15 breakaway companions on the last of the four 23km circuits that made up the race and stayed away. Larrinaga grabbed a few potentially vital points by taking eighth, but González remains in the lead ahead of Larrinaga's team-mate Estévez in second and Larrinaga in third.

Results XXVI Andra Ma. Sari Nagusia - Urduliz:
  • 1, Antonio Molina (Caja Rural), 2:22:42
  • 2, Rubén Fernández (Caja Rural), s.t.
  • 3, Beñat Txoperena (Bidelan-Kirolgi), 0:24
  • 4, Eric Altuna (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor WRC), s.t.
  • 5, Alexander Unzueta (Seguros Bilbao), s.t.
  • 6, Alejandro Ariel Savori (Azysa-Telco'm-Conor WRC), s.t.
  • 7, Ibai Daboz (Bidelan-Kirolgi), s.t.
  • 8, Jon Larrinaga (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 9, Jon Iriarte (Bidelan-Kirolgi), s.t.
  • 10, Alexander King (Koplad-Uni2), s.t.
In Sunday's Lehendakari-race in Bermeo, the Circuito Sollube, the team will be represented by the following riders: Mikel Iturria, Loïc Chetout, Jon Larrinaga, Karl Baudron, Imanol Estévez, Pablo Comins, Oier Sánchez, Francisco Javier Martín, Víctor Etxeberria, Alain Santamaría and Alain González. 

Caja Rural's Polish powerhouse Karol Domagalski grabbed last year's event.

Photo: Pascal Baudron

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