Sunday, September 23, 2012

Samu the perfect team-mate in Valkenburg

It might not have been a performance that will grab the head-lines in tomorrow's papers, but Samuel Sánchez assured and honourable ride at the World Championships road race on Sunday bodes well for the end-of-season Classics.

Samu played his part in ensuring Spain came away from the Worlds with a medal to show for their efforts, as his and Alberto Contador's aggressive and hard racing throughout set up Valverde, Freire and Rodríguez perfectly for a tilt at the big prize in Valkenburg. While Valverde added yet another bronze medal to his enviable collection of Worlds medals by finishing behind Gilbert and Boasson Hagen but ahead of a charging John Degenkolb, Freire wasn't able to stay in touch going up the Cauberg and had to settle for a slightly underwhelming tenth at the line in what was his last professional bike race. Afterwards, Freire wasn't best pleased with Valverde's tactics.

"None of my team-mates were with me on the Cauberg", he told Cyclingnews. "It was agreed we'd ride for me on the last lap. We didn't race well. Valverde should have waited for me, he was going well but was all alone. It really makes you angry, and what's worse is that it was decided but then not respected".

While Valverde was given short shrift by the outgoing legend, he had words of praise for the Euskaltel captain.

"Samuel was different. He wanted to work for me but couldn't make it".

While Samu paid for earlier efforts on the last time going up the Cauberg, he did his part by instigating one attack in the finale and kept the pace high on the run-in to the last and decisive ascent. He eventually came across in 41st, 1:37 in arrears, just behind Alberto Contador and a disappointing Joaquím Rodríguez. Samu's result might not be up to his usual standard, but his showing, coupled with that at the Tour of Britain last week, should set him up nicely for a successful late-season classics campaign.


Kristof said...

Samu's just too honest, should have ride for his own chances. On such a long hard race he's the best. Rodriguez/Moreno are good riders for races having a length 200 km and Freire's too old. However, Gilbert is of another planet, no beating possible.

Bolsen3 said...

I bet Samu is not at his top level at the moment, I seriously doubt he would be able to follow the three guys who won medals anyway. So I think he did the right thing..


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