Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Euskaltel off pace in Bessèges opener

Euskaltel's assembly of fast-finishing rouleurs failed to impose themselves on the competition on today's first stage of the Etoile de Bessèges.

The 156km opening leg from Bellegarde to Beaucaire was on paper suited to the speedy legs of Kocjan, Urtasun, Pérez et al., but the high speed in the closing clicks put paid to 'The carrots''s chances as the majority were left off-hooked as the peloton split up.

Pérez and Sicard managed to stay with the frontrunners, though, but neither had enough left in the tank to mix it up with the relatively modest collection of sprinters on show. Pérez crossed the line in 22nd place, while Sicard followed close behind in 27th.

The rest of the riders all ceded precious seconds with an eye on GC, but the team's captain, Sicard, is firmly in the hunt with another five stages to go.

Worst off was Ricardo Mestre, though, who crashed nine clicks out and rolled in way back. Luckily, the Portuguese is reported to have escaped serious injury.

Up tomorrow is 157 kilometres between Nîmes and Les Fumades.

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Michael Van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), 3:24:23)
  • 22, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
  • 27, Romain Sicard, s.t.
  • 76, Pablo Urtasun, 0:16
  • 81, Jure Kocjan, s.t.
  • 105, Adrián Sáez, 0:39
  • 112, Ricardo García, s.t.
  • 137, Ricardo Mestre, 1:04
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi

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