Saturday, March 23, 2013

Astarloza of old goes close in Catalonia

Mikel Astarloza put on a performance reminiscent of the good old days when he went within a few clicks of triumph on day six of the Volta a Catalunya.

The sixth and penultimate stage, taking the riders 178,7 kilometres from Almacelles to Valls, eventually ended in a medium-sized bunch sprint from which Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans proved to be the fastest. The versatile antipodean just about pipped Gianni Meersman of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, already a two-time stage winner in this race, and Ag2r's wily Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin to the line at the end of a hilly day of racing.

Just prior to that, though, Astarloza, who'd formed part of the day's main break that formed over halfway through the stage, had attacked his breakaway companions inside the last four kilometres. With the group just about to be reeled in by a hard-chasing peloton, the Euskaltel veteran gave it one last go with a burst of acceleration that briefly took him clear of the pack. It wasn't to be, though, and he eventually had to settle for a mid-pack finish.

The team's climbing trio, consisting of Igor Antón, Mikel Landa and Mikel Nieve, all finished inside the top 35 and maintained their overall placings going into Sunday's concluding stage.

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), 3:55:46)
  • 31, Igor Antón, 0:05
  • 34, Mikel Landa, s.t.
  • 35, Mikel Nieve, 0:10
  • 65, Mikel Astarloza, 0:56
  • 76, Juan José Oroz, 1:28
  • 112, Ricardo Mestre, 6:15
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi


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