Sunday, February 03, 2013

Basque trio shine at Worlds















Aitor Hernández, Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga and Jonathan Lastra all gave Spanish cyclo-cross a boost with three top 30s at the World Championships on Saturday.

Perhaps most impressive was the latter's ride, sub-23 star Jonathan Lastra. The Hirumet-Taldea rider grabbed an eye-catching 15th, placing ahead of riders like Yannick Eckmann, David Van Der Poel, Clément Venturini and Julian Alaphilippe - and thus reached his goal of topping his junior worlds result of 2011.

"I'm in good shape, and I was able to demonstrate that as the laps went by", he said. "The result might even had been a little bit better, but a Frenchman (David Menut) beat me in the sprint, so I had to settle for 15th. I think I showed it's worth betting on youth and on cyclo-cross, and I couldn't have ended the season any better.

Aitor Hernández also fulfilled his pre-race aim of a place in the top 25, finishing up a highly creditable 23rd - in his first race overseas this campaign. The Orbea rider ended up 3:58 down on victor Sven Nys, but felt he could have done even better.

"It's a shame I didn't get a little bit of a better start to end up top 20", he told BiciCiclismo. "But I'm pleased with how I felt underway and how I managed to come back at a world championships, a race I didn't know if I would be able to take part in a week ago - and I only got here two days ago.

"I've now ended a great season, and I'm already thinking about the next one in which I'll get to wear the Spanish jersey for a whole year", he concluded.

Compatriot Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga came in only 17 second further back, taking 28th - one place better than his previous best in Sankt Wendel in 2011. Like his team-mates, though, he felt he could have done better.

"It's my best result at a Worlds, but I'm feeling a bit bittersweet about it", he said. "I reached the goal I set, but it makes my angry knowing I could have done better".

Photo: Iñaki Azanza

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