Monday, March 18, 2013

Euskaltel miss the train in Catalunya opener

Euskaltel were caught off guard as a bunch of overall favourites slipped away on the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Monday. Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve et al. now face a major task in rescuing their race.

The race took a surprising turn when a Bradley Wiggins-inspired burst of acceleration on a descent with some 10 kilometres left to ride saw 13 riders slip off the front and open up a dangerous gap back to the pack. Inside that 13-man group was a host of overall contenders, among them Alejandro Valverde, Robert Gesink, Daniel Martin, Wiggins, Joaquim Rodríguez, David López and Michele Scarponi.

The elite group managed to hold off the peloton and well, Gianni Meersman leading them across the line in Calella 28 seconds ahead of the bunch. Inside that bunch was Euskaltel's GC aspirants Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve and Mikel Landa, but they're now already, only a day in, left with a mountain or two to climb to make it back into the general classification frame.

A rider in orange who experienced an even tougher day in the saddle was Tarik Chaoufi, the Moroccan, making history in his first ever WorldTour race, struggling with cramps en route to a lowly 165th place finish.

"I was struggling more on the descents than on the ascents", he revealed on the team's website. "There were a lot of curves, the speed was high and I was cramping up, so I went out the back. Riders were passing me all the way to the line. Right now I'm only thinking about recovering - tomorrow represents a new day, and to ride in the WorldTour is very motivating. Taking part in races like this is a big thing for me, and I'm looking to continue to improve".

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 3:55:56)
  • 50, Juan José Oroz, 0:18
  • 58, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
  • 77, Mikel Landa, s.t.
  • 85, Igor Antón, s.t.
  • 88, Ricardo Mestre, s.t.
  • 105, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 165, Tarik Chaoufi, 5:53
  • 167, Jon Aberasturi, s.t.
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi


azanca02 said...

I repeat it over and over. If they stay towards the back of the pack they will get caught off guard. These are rookie mistakes.

gasherbrum3 said...


Remo said...

I'm angry with the team ! i can't understand why people of the experience of Astarloza, Nieve or Anton get caught by surprise like this. Our chance of a top 5 place in the General are almost gone. I think that sometimes we need a stronger hands on thing like this.

Magnus said...

Couldn't agree more. If you make the race a goal of your season (Antón), one would think you'd want to stay near the front.

azanca02 said...

Basically if Valverde is in the race... stick on his wheel. He never misses a beat.

gasherbrum3 said...

After a disapointing season in 2012, it starts in 2013 as it has ended in 2012.
Sorry, riders, this is not "1st Ligue"!


web site counter
ISP Internet Providers