Saturday, September 29, 2012

Samu second in Lombardia

Samuel Sánchez displayed immense grit and burgeoning form to grab a vital second place for Euskaltel in today's 'Race of the Falling Leaves', the Il Lombardia.

Samu outsprinted Sky's Rigoberto Urán for the second spot on the podium after Joaquín Rodríguez only seconds earlier soloed in to what was Spain's very first win in the race. While Samu's result in itself is brilliant, and even more so for his UCI points-strapped team, he's likely to be in two minds over whether to be pleased as it was his third runners-up spot in the Italian classic and his fourth podium placing. As he patted 'Purito' on the back and congratulated him afterwards, he admittedly appeared more content than frustrated.

"It's very important to be on the podium of a race of Il Lombardia's prestige. I'm very happy", he stated afterwards. "It's been a very vibrant and demanding race, so I expect the fans to have enjoyed it. 'Purito' beat me, but I can only congratulate him as he was simply the best. I would also like to thank my team-mates for the great work they did".

Rather more interestingly than his traditional post-race speech, Samu, according to various sources, went on to claim that he hoped the UCI points the team obtained through today's race might enable Amets Txurruka and Iván Velasco to stay on into next year. The statement's potentially controversial nature makes sure there are no such words on the team's website, but the fact they have indeed been uttered should give Igor González de Galdeano and co. food for thought. Is Galdeano strong enough to say no to his most important rider? Only time will tell.

Back to the race, Samu's team-mates did really perform well. Txurruka, recently linked to Caja Rural, showed there's still a fire burning within him as he made a daring attack with some 85 clicks left to ride that as per tradition, I'm afraid to say, came to naught. Gorka Verdugo once again displayed his late-season shape by attacking together with Alexandr Kolobnev in the finale, while Mikel Nieve and Igor Antón both stayed with the lead group deep into the decisive stages to help out their team captain.

  • (1, Joaquín Rodríguez (Katusha), 6:36:27)
  • 2, Samuel Sánchez, 0:09
  • 27, Gorka Verdugo, 1:30
  • 32, Mikel Nieve, 2:38
  • 36, Igor Antón, 4:07
  • 54, Peio Bilbao, 20:03

Photo: Fundación Euskadi Ciclista


Kristof said...

Yeah brilliant again, Verdugo also was very strong. I guess this will have positive influence looking to WT points. Unbelievable, Samu does it again. What would Euskaltel be without him.

Arnout said...

Well, 2nd place was absolute maximum today, he was not with the 10 strongest, but smart racing yet again from Samu Sanchez.

Apparently he said at the finish that he hopes this second place and the points that come with it means Txurruka and Velasco can stay after all. What a man :)

Anonymous said...

That was a hard fought result in some pretty nasty conditions.

Congratulations to Samu and well done to the whole team!!


Kristof said...

But it seems to me Samu must have something to say within the case Txurru/Velasco? After all he's the most important man in the team for almost 8 years by now. If Contador or another great riders signs it's also always within at least 2/3/4 domestiques. Anyway I wonder if it comes the right way Txurru/Velasco vs Euskaltel, a lot has said/happened but I still have a little hope. The dramatically death of Cabedo and the fact Fraile would stay another year riding Orbea means couple of places come free, hope they won't go to other riders. Losada, also in te picture, did an extremely strong race today. Maybe he is, comparing to some ridiculous riders mentionned here, the best option signing Eus.

Colin said...

Great effort from samu and if he has any sway i hope he can help get the guys back in the team

we fans can only hope
love the boys in orange

Chris said...

That 30 more points are not gonna help Euskaltel. And if they do loose the Basque philosophy I'm afraid other teams will get their place in the World Tour. If only: Intxausti, Castroviejo, Zubeldia, Irizar, Garate, Losada, Galdos, Fernandez, Camano, Lopez, Vila and loose Rujano, Vrecer, Gerdemann, Mestre, Kocjan.

racejunkie said...

It would be a real shame to see Euskaltel lose what makes it so special, its philosophy, only to have it not even matter in terms of keeping a WorldTour spot. I hate to say it but I would almost rather see them go Continental--their climbing expertise would hopefully get them invited where it matters to them.


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