Sunday, September 02, 2012

Ruben Pérez second at Cavadonga

Rubén Pérez grabbed a somewhat sensational second place atop the mythical and famed Lagos de Cavadonga climb in today's 15th stage of the Vuelta a España.

The ever-aggressive all-rounder formed part of the day's big break that was allowed to divide the stage spoils between them, and Caja Rural's Antonio Piedra jumped off the front from a long way out to claim an extraordinary win for the popular home team.

Contador, Rodríguez and Valverde embarked on their usual back-and-forth attacking inside the last seven clicks - but there was as anticipated no way to separate them. Antón, Verdugo and Txurruka were aggressive throughout in an attempt to shepherd the former up the overall standings, but were only partially successful as Antón came in 20 seconds or so down on the overall players, and 12 ahead of his main challengers for a top five overall, but stayed tenth on GC.

"We were very active and the feelings were good", Antón said in a press release. "Amets and Gorka did a great job, and I think jumping early was a successful move. It's a shame I didn't manage to stay with Purito, Contador and Valverde's group, but (at least) we were towards the front of the race. I only hope I won't have to pay for today's efforts tomorrow (Monday). It's been a couple of tough days and one should note the wear tomorrow. We'll see how the legs respond."

Pérez, who had to settle for another second place, had mixed feelings about the stage.

"I'm happy, but it pains me that I wasn't able to win the stage. There were a series of attacks and Piedra came up with the right one. No one responded, he got a gap and he won. At the end I was able to beat my breakaway companions (and grab second place). I'm content with the performance, but it's annoying having missed out on the chance to grab a stage like this on to the Lagos de Covadonga".

As for the other riders on the team, Gorka Verdugo rose to 13th overall and looks a decent bet for a top ten in Madrid. Young hope Mikel Landa is yet to show any signs of life whatsoever, coming in 20 minutes down on the Covadonga, and now lies a very distant 86th on GC. Romain Sicard, who's performed respectably so far in his first three-week race, had one of his worst days so far, coming in alongside Landa. Overall he's 44th.

Monday's stage to the previously untested Cuitu Negro would have suited an Antón in top form, but as it stands it's likely to be yet another Rodríguez - Contador - Valverde showdown.

Take an in-depth look at the asphalted ski station here, including Samuel Sánchez's take on it.

Results stage 15 (full results here):
  • (1, Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural), 5:01:23)
  • 2, Rubén Pérez, 2:02
  • 15, Igor Antón, 9:48
  • 25, Gorka Verdugo, 10:04
  • 38, Amets Txurruka, 12:11
  • 69, Iván Velasco, 19:18
  • 70, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 71, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
  • 87, Mikel Landa, 21:30
  • 96, Romain Sicard, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, Joaquín Rodríguez (Katusha), 58:17:21)
  • 10, Igor Antón, 7:39
  • 13, Gorka Verdugo, 10:21
  • 25, Amets Txurruka, 18:42
  • 36, Iván Velasco, 33:17
  • 40, Mikel Astarloza, 42:14
  • 41, Juan José Oroz, 44:09
  • 44, Romain Sicard, 48:26
  • 58, Rubén Pérez, 1:02:56
  • 86, Mikel Landa, 1:24:23


Josh Buehner said...

Good ride by both men today, something for Euskaltel to be proud of. It was quite humbling to see the Spanish trio (plus Quintana) motor past Anton with 3 k to go.

Igor's had a good race. I can see him passing Roche and Ten Dams maybe even Talansky for 7th as he'll probably try to nab a stage win, but he's light years behind the big 4.

Colin said...

a great effort from ruben and the rest of the boys today

Kristof said...

Yes really strong performance from Ruben Perez. As a not climber coming second here, too bad one guy was better. Anton was decent/good. Maybe we look to much back to Vuelta 2010. The progression of Rodriguez/Moreno is beyond any understanding and Contador/Valverde/Froome were not participating that Vuelta, so maybe we have to see in perspective. Gorka Verdugo also shows how good he really is, without his help to Anton he would be very very close to top 10. He's a very underestimated rider and deserves riding for his own, he definitely can win a hard stage doing the same as Nieve some years ago! Has Verdugo got a contract for the next years? If I started a team, he would be my first man to sign.

Magnus said...

Verdugo hasn't penned a new deal as of yet, but there are no indications he'll leave.

Kristof said...

Well knowing some basques have to leave I hope there still will be a place for Verdugo/Txurruka/Ruben Perez. Let's face it those guys has given a lot of publicity to the team since 2007. The performances of Landa/Sicard really worries me, they should be some of our biggest talents but they are really nowhere, besides at the back of the peleton.

Kristof said...

On vacation...? and this on the most sensational days of the year, unfortunately not with the Euskaltels, but I think today we saw the best race of the year. Contador is a hero, and what a performance from Gorka Verdugo!

Stephen said...

Agreed Kristof

Never mind the ban, he's such an exciting rider to watch

Very smart riding from Valverde too.

I feel very sorry for Purito, he has been magnificent but just lacks a little over three weeks. Aparently did not ride his bike yesterday, he was either exahusted or ill. Pity.

Best race of the year by far.

C'mon Magnus, we need you!


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