Thursday, March 21, 2013

Euskaltel off pace in Dan Martin masterclass

Euskaltel Euskadi's subdued Volta a Catalunya continued apace on Thursday's summit finish at Port Ainé as the guys in orange went missing as Daniel Martin stole the limelight with a breathtaking solo win.

The team's leader in Catalonia, Igor Antón, spoke yesterday evening of how disappointed he was with losing half a minute at Vallter 2000, expressing a desire to right the wrongs on today's leg. It wasn't to be, though, as the ace climber (and his team-mates at that) were quickly distanced once the main overall contenders upped the pace in the finale.

Click here to see how it all unfolded! 

Martin had formed part of a large, 25-man strong group that got clear of the pack early on, and contained Euskaltel veteran Mikel Astarloza. The Irishman was to be the break's only survivor, holding off nearest challengers Joaquim Rodríguez and Nairo Quintana by an impressive 36 seconds.

Speaking post-stage, Astarloza likened Thursday's effort to those of the Tour de France.

"I've been on my bike for more than six hours and twenty minutes, I've consumed more than 6300 calories, and in total we climbed more than 4000 vertical metres", he told the team's website. "Those numbers are Tour de France-like. The course was a tough one and, to top it off, we went full gas, really intensive and without a break. Without a doubt, it was much like a stage of the Tour de France".

Mikel Landa tried to surprise the favourites with a bold attack with some 18 clicks to go but, despite momentary assistance from a fading Astarloza, he was comfortably brought to a halt by the peloton.

Mikel Nieve eventually finished as the team's top man, coming in 1:51 down in 16th place. Antón was in close attendance, though, crossing the line 20 seconds later in 20th.

Facing the last weekend of racing, Nieve is now the team's top rider in 15th overall.

Tarik Chaoufi and Jon Aberasturi both found the going exceedingly tough, deciding to throw in the towel and post DNFs.

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), 6:02:40)
  • 16, Mikel Nieve, 1:51
  • 20, Igor Antón, 2:11
  • 37, Mikel Landa, 4:56
  • 77, Mikel Astarloza, 19:38
  • 110, Ricardo Mestre, 28:13
  • 140, Juan José Oroz, 34:13
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi


Franck said...

what a let-down Igor Anton.

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