Saturday, September 15, 2012

Urtasun finally finds gold

Pablo Urtasun grabbed the win he's been craving all year by profiting from team-mate Samuel Sánchez's lead-out to best his breakaway companions on the Tour of Britain's seventh and penultimate stage.

The versatile 32-year-old has a pair of second and third places to his name already this year, not to mention that near-miss on stage five of the Tour de France this summer, and was finally able to raise his arms in triumph for the first time in two years at the end of the 172,9km leg from Barnstaple to Dartmouth. As indicated above, though, it was a real team effort.

Both Samu and Urtasun made it into what would prove to be the race's decisive ten-man break early on, and the two were still there when only four of them were left to duke it out for the win at the end of the day alongside Ivan Basso and Thursday's victor Marc de Maar of UnitedHealthcare. Ever the generous captain, in stead of chasing a win that would have made quite a statement ahead of next weekend's worlds, Samu decided to help out his faster-finishing team-mate by leading out the sprint. Urtasun edged de Maar to nab the team its eighth victory of the season, and rarely has an Euskaltel triumph been as deserved. After enjoying one of his best ever season's but repeatedly come up short, the erstwhile Kaiku and Liberty Seguros rider was able to add another first place to his quite decorated palmarès.

Pierre Cazaux continued his rich vein of form by taking 14th in the midst of a small select group 46 seconds down on Urtasun, completing a flawless day for the team.

"It was a very beautiful and hard-worked victory", Urtasun told the team's website afterwards. "It was a very hard stage, very hilly, very demanding, I had to suffer a lot, but in the end it was worth it. I've maybe been in better shape in other races, and I didn't expect this at all, but today I managed to come out tops. Cycling's like that sometimes. Yesterday, with an eye on making today's break, I was one of the first to go out the back. As one gets older one learns when it's wise to ease off. I spent four days off the bike after the Vattenfall Cyclassics because I felt tired. (After those four days) I got back on my bike again with motivation and, though I'm still not in super shape, we obtained a great result. I'm very pleased."

DS Álex Díaz was equally pleased, hailing the work of the whole team.

"We raced like a great team and we got a great victory. There were some tough moments underway, but we got through them through spirit. I'm very content with the whole team's performance. Every single one did a great job and the sum of it all is this triumph."

Results stage 7:
  • 1, Pablo Urtasun, 4:21:31
  • 4, Samuel Sánchez, 0:02
  • 14, Pierre Cazaux, 0:46
  • 22, Adrián Sáez, 1:27
  • 42, Ricardo García, 2:57
General classification:
  • (1, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing), 5:38:14)
  • 14, Samuel Sánchez, 5:53
  • 15, Pierre Cazaux, 6:15
  • 41, Adrián Sáez, 21:03
  • 49, Ricardo García, 26:14
  • 50, Pablo Urtasun, 27:41


Anonymous said...

Good effort Gents, well done and thoroughly deserved!!!


Colin said...

Brilliant can say no more than that

Kristof said...

Yes! If one man deserves this... Just great! Urtasun had a real good year. And Samu seems better every day, with some progress until next sunday, well you never know...

azanca02 said...

Much needed win for the team after a sub par Vuelta. Samu should be peaking perfectly for next weekend!

Nick said...

Sanchez's reaction is gold

Congrats to the boys in Orange!!


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