Thursday, October 11, 2012

Euskaltel's Day Out

The Tour of Beijing has been decent so far for Euskaltel-Euskadi but today, the Basque side was able to show its true colors today by animating the race up to Badaling on the Great Wall. In what came down to a select sprint won by Astana's Francesco Gavazzi, Samuel Sanchez and Ivan Velasco were not able to move themselves up the General Classification.

The 162.5 kilometer day started out fast with attacks flying but nothing sticking as the peloton made their way up the 1st 2nd category. On the descent however, a group of seven broke away from the pack including Mikel Nieve and opened up a significant gap on the subsequent 3rd category climb. The group enjoyed a three to four minute gap for the majority of the day until the business end of the race. Meanwhile, in the peloton, Miguel Minguez was forced to abandon in the feed zone  ending what has been a promising year for the young rider.

As the gap began to fall as the race neared the final climb, attacks began to shatter the break. After Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) attacked the group with 12 km to go, the rest of the group, including Nieve, were swept up with 11km to go by the peloton, after being out for almost 130 kilometers. Sylvain Georges (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacked the peloton after Meier was brought back and was able to open up a brief gap until 4 kilometers to go when Euskaltel-Euskadi stalwart Igor Anton launched his own attack. Anton was able to create a gap but a charging Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) flew by Anton, leaving him to be swept up by the peloton a short time later.

Boasson Hagen's move looked strong and looked like he could take a solo victory before the select peloton began to ramp up for an uphill sprint with 1km to go. On the line, Boasson Hagen was overhauled by the Italian Gavazzi with Sanchez and Velasco finishing on the same time, in 13th and 16th respectively.

Stage 3 results (full results here)

  • 1, (Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), 4:05:08)
  • 13, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.
  • 16, Iván Velasco, s.t.
  • 32, Igor Anton, 0:33
  • 42, Pieo Bilbao, 0:53
  • 57, Gorka Verdugo, 2:23
  • 105, Mikel Landa, 8:25
  • 106, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • DNF, Miguel Minguez

With only two stages left, Velasco (11th overall) and Samu Sanchez (14th) are still 1 minute behind Tony Martin. With the final two stages looking like sprint stages, the men from Euskaltel-Euskadi will have to go on the attack if they want to rise up the G.C.


Chris said...

Almost RV points for Velasco so he can stay with the team. Hoping for Zubeldia and Irizar joining if Radioshack is over after the Armstrong stories.

Magnus said...

Would be a perfect fall-out from the whole Lance-case, huh?

Doubt it's going to happen though, judging by reports Galdeano has pretty much finalized the roster.


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