Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Euskaltel avoid hiccups on Volta day two

Euskaltel followed up Monday's sub-par opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya with a low-profile performance on day two.

The 160km leg from Girona to Banyole saw little in the way of Euskaltel-related action, Álvaro González de Galdeano's boys preferring to play it safe and easy ahead of tomorrow's first foray into the mountains.

The stage was won by on-fire Belgian Gianni Meersman, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider prevailing for the second day in a row. Euskaltel's new recruit Jon Aberasturi was seen jostling for position at the pointy end of the pack inside the last few clicks, but struggled to catch the right wheel all on his own and eventually would only finish 17th - the speedy finisher's wait for a top level result in 2013 thus continues.

Wednesday's stage will take the riders to the top of the strangely-named Vallter 2000 climb at the end of a 180km leg starting in Vidreres, and the team's DS stressed that he expects his charges to be at their game on the 12km climb.

"We'll have to play our cards intelligently and fight to win a stage", the youngest of the Galdeanos told the team's website. "We've now got two summit finishes in a row coming up, and we're looking forward to them. We have to be in the running on those", he concluded.

One of the team's go-to guys will undoubtedly be the mercurial Igor Antón. The diminutive climber is fresh off a ten-day stint at altitude, though, and admits his form is somewhat of an unknown.

"I've been to Sierra Nevada to prepare, and now we'll get to see the fruit of that work in competition", he stated. "I've gone almost a month without competing, and that always leaves its mark, but I aim to be among the best. I haven't set myself any concrete objectives, though. First off I'd like to see how I'm feeling, and from there on we'll see how far we can go".

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 3:48:10)
  • 17, Jon Aberasturi, s.t.
  • 45, Igor Antón, s.t.
  • 46, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 54, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 83, Ricardo Mestre, s.t.
  • 97, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
  • 108, Mikel Landa, s.t.
  • 117, Tarik Chaoufi, s.t.
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi

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