Thursday, March 07, 2013

Gorka Izagirre stays in the hunt

Gorka Izagirre is on course for a top general classification result in Paris-Nice after retaining his fifth place in Thursday's demanding fourth leg of the race.

Izagirre finished inside the first group of 37 riders to cross the line at the end of 199,5km in Saint-Vallier, taking 21st on the day after figuring in the late-race action prior to the run-in. The 25-year-old was seen close to the front on numerous occasions in the closing clicks, but dropped back inside the last two and didn't contest the field sprint won by Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Albasini.

Prior to that, the orange jersey had been visible on numerous occasions.

Romain Sicard once again showed his fighting spirit by getting into the break of the day, but, yet again, his legs failed him when he needed them the most once fellow escape artist Thomas Voeckler upped the pace on the Col de Talencieux. Sicard went out the back and was quickly caught by the pack from which Ion Izagirre made a brief sojourn off the front.

Izagirre junior's burst of speed didn't get him far, though, as the favourites were keen to keep things under control all the way to the line.

Coming off the last two climbs on the menu, the 37 strongest riders separated themselves from the pack and held off the next group by a whopping two minutes. Gorka Izagirre was his team's sole representative, as Ion suffered an ill-timed puncture at 15 to go and Mikel Nieve and Mikel Astarloza didn't have the legs to go the distance.

Equally unlucky was Sky's David López García. The former Euskaltel rider did like Ion and had to watch his GC aspirations go out the window.

Heading into Friday's fifth stage, Izagirre is still fifth overall.

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), 4:55:41)
  • 21, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
  • 52, Mikel Astarloza, 2:00
  • 56, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 61, Ion Izagirre, s.t.
  • 95, Rubén Pérez, 8:26
  • 106, Romain Sicard, s.t.
  • 142, Gorka Verdugo, 12:36
General classification:
  • (1, Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), 19:35:17)
  • 5, Gorka Izagirre, 0:05
  • 45, Ion Izagirre, 3:19
  • 50, Mikel Nieve, 3:44
  • 60, Mikel Astarloza, 7:05
  • 74, Rubén Pérez, 9:55
  • 123, Gorka Verdugo, 18:18
  • 133, Romain Sicard, 20:00

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