Thursday, January 24, 2013

Status Quo for Euskaltel Down Under

There was no change for Euskaltel on the general classification on stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under as both Gorka and Ion Izagirre finished safely in the first group, on the same time as stage winner Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco). While Gorka finished 10th on the stage, both Ion and Gorka stayed 6th and 7th overall, respectively.

On a rolling day from Unley to Stirling, the pace started quickly with an early KOM prize being the carrot for the peloton. Euskaltel's Gari Bravo went for it on the KOM spot but was only able to grab 3rd place behind Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Daryl Impey (Orica). After the KOM spot, a break of 8 slipped away and would not be brought back for the majority of the race. Meanwhile, the oppressive heat took its toll on the peloton with many suffering including Mikel Astarloza, the victim of a hard crash yesterday, who would eventually roll in last place over 21 minutes down on Slagter.

The breakaway began to attack itself with approximately 15km to go while the peloton began to breath down their neck. As the break was finally swallowed up with ~3km to go, the peloton made a few accelerations on the final uphill before the finish line. Tom-Jelte Slagter was the first to accelerate and pull away on the false flat uphill finish and stayed away ahead of Matt Goss (Orica) and World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Gorka rolled in 10th while Ion came in 23rd, both safe for another day and still in contention for World Tour points. Ion is still 2nd overall in the young rider's classification, now 10 seconds down on Slagter.

Results (full results here)

  • 1. (Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco) 3:36'46")
  • 10. Gorka Izagirre s.t.
  • 23. Ion Izagirre s.t.
  • 72. Juan José Oroz +4'31"
  • 107. Garikoitz Bravo +7'34"
  • 108. Jon Aberasturi s.t.
  • 112. Juan José Lobato s.t.
  • 130. Mikel Astarloza +21'36"

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