Monday, March 11, 2013

Ion Izagirre shows form as Paris-Nice concludes

It was always going to be a tall order for Euskaltel to reach their pre-race goal of winning a stage once the they got to the final-day hill time trial to the top of the Col d'Èze, but Ion Izagirre gave it a good go to conclude the French WorldTour race on a high for his team.

The 23-year-old grabbed an impressive tenth at the end of the demanding 9,7km climb, crossing the line ahead of the likes of Klöden, Jeannesson, Coppel, Menchov and Westra. While the result did nothing to correct his lowly GC position, DS Álvaro González de Galdeano was happy with his young charge - and thinks the younger of the Izagirres could have done so much better but for bad luck throughout the week.

"Ion showed in the time trial that he's going really well", he told the team's website. "I'm convinced that he could have been in the fight for the stage win and help Gorka cede less time on the stage to the Montagne de Lure, but luck was not on our side. It's a shame him and most of the team got caught up in that big crash before that climb. The day before that he punctured at the worst time as well and lost two minutes. Incidents like that didn't help us. But he's still a young rider and will continue to develop in the future".

Ion's brother, Gorka, ended up as the team's highest-placed rider overall in 18th after placing 34th on the final day, almost two minutes down on stage and overall victor, Sky's Richie Porte.

While Gorka's final position was perhaps not what he had been looking for going into the race, his DS was full of praise.

"The level of racing here has been really high", Galdeano said, adding "Sky were really strong and dominated proceedings. We wanted to win a stage and Gorka came close on the third stage to do just that, but it wasn't to be. He performed well throughout the race, though, was very attentive and has completed a good race."

While only placing one rider inside the top 20 overall hardly lived up to expectations, Galdeano was relatively content with the week's work.

"The team was strong and we finished tenth in the team rankings", he concluded.

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Richie Porte (Sky), 19:16)
  • 10, Ion Izagirre, 1:06
  • 34, Gorka Izagirre, 1:55
  • 50, Romain Sicard, 2:14
  • 52, Mikel Astarloza, 2:20
  • 80, Mikel Nieve, 2:51
  • 97, Rubén Pérez, 3:10
Final general classification:
  • (1, Richie Porte (Sky), 29:59:47)
  • 18, Gorka Izagirre, 3:29
  • 49, Mikel Astarloza, 19:31
  • 55, Ion Izagirre, 23:36
  • 85, Mikel Nieve, 41:11
  • 94, Rubén Pérez, 47:41
  • 133, Romain Sicard, 1:09:44
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi


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Anonymous said...

Well done Gorka. A top 20 finish is a good result so early on. A good foundation to build on... Top 10 next!

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