Sunday, December 30, 2012

Drama as Hernández wins Superprestigio overall

The last round of the Superprestigio series was cyclo-cross at its purest: unpredictable, dramatic, exhilarating. Aitor Hernández emerged as the victor, profiting from leader Egoitz Murgoitio's mishaps to run away with both the race and the overall crown to take a richly-deserved triumph.

Hirumet-Taldea's Murgoitio held a nine-point lead over the Ermua-Orbea rider going into the Puente Viesgo decider, and the former Euskaltel man had the odds firmly stacked against him. Second place would guarantee Murgoitio the crown and, given his and Hernández's domination this season, it was hard to see how he could lose his grip on the crown.

Cyclo-cross is everything but predictable, though, and no one would have predicted Murgoitio crashing out of contention mid-race after a string of Constantino Zaballa attacks had left him, and the rest of the leading pack for that matter, on the ropes. Hernández joined Zaballa, former Euskaltel companion Aketza Peña and the revived Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga at the front of the race, keeping a consistently high pace that hindered Murgoitio to ever catch back on.

Hernández held off Larrinaga in the sprint to take his third win of the six-race series, while Peña and Zaballa came in ahead of Murgoitio in fifth to ensure the Orbea man could lift the big prize aloft. Overall, Hernández amassed 131 points to Murgoitio's 125, while Isaac Suárez held on for third despite not participating.

Results, elite:
  1. Aitor Hernández (Ermua-Orbea), 56:47
  2. Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga (MMR-Spiuk), s.t.
  3. Aketza Peña (Zallaka Belodromo), 0:20
  4. Constantino Zaballa (Zugor Bikes), 0:27
  5. Egoitz Murgoitio (Hirumet-Taldea), 0:54
  6. José Antonio Díez Arriola (, 1:45
  7. Agustín Navarro (Ciudad de Oviedo), 1:51
  8. Fernando San Emeterio (Club MTB Ramales), 2:47
  9. Asier Arregi (, 3:08
  10. Óscar Pujol (Mallatalud Bike), 3:47

Sub-23 talent Jonathan Lastra saved Hirumet-Taldea's day by taking out the sub-23 crown, despite finishing two places behind Ismael Félix Barba in seventh on the day.

Results, sub-23:
  1. Ismael Félix Barba (EnBici-Stevens), 58:34
  2. Jonathan Lastra (Hirumet-Taldea), 0:58
  3. Damian García (, 2:11
Felipe Orts came away with the junior crown as expected, while Roció Gamonal had already won the women's elite category before going into the race, and therefore didn't line up. Lucía González took out the race in her absence, while sister Alicia González came away with the overall junior prize.

Jon Gil won the cadete category, while Lidia Lilian Barba won the women equivalent.

Photo: Iñaki Azanza

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