Monday, April 08, 2013

Airan Fernández conquers Valenciaga

Airan Fernández romped to a commanding win at the Memorial Valenciaga on Sunday to put the professional teams on alert.

The race in Eibar, Gipuzkoa, has for years been one of the most prestigious events on the calendar with a sizeable amount of the victors going on to forge careers at the top level of the sport.

Only time will tell if Fernández becomes the next to make it as a pro, but he certainly didn't do his chances any harm by soloing to the line to better his second place of 2012.

The day's racing had been animated by, first, Lokomotiv's precocious young Russian Vadim Zhuralev, before the younger brother of recent Vuelta al País Vasco winner Nairo Quintana, Dayer, went on the attack on one of the race's decisive climbs, Ixua.

The Lizarte rider didn't have the legs to open up a threatening gap, though, prompting team-mate Antonio Pedrero to go on the offensive on the last climb, the San Miguel, some 15 clicks from the line. Eventual winner Fernández and Telco'm's José Manuel Gutiérrez reacted and caught him on the descent, before the former took off three kilometres from the line and held off fellow Catalan Pedrero by nine seconds.

New overall leader is Naturgas Energía's stand-out Frenchman Loïc Chetout, who now holds the lead in the overall Copa de España rankings with 318 points - Fernández is 12 points back. Naturally, Chetout also heads up the sub-23 rankings.

Results (full results here):
  • 1, Airán Fernández (Coluer), 4:13:03
  • 2, Antonio Pedrero (Lizarte), 0:09
  • 3, José Manuel Gutiérrez (Telco'm), 0:22
  • 4, Júlen Mitxelena (Gipuzkoa-Eki Sport), 0:39
  • 5, Ibai Salas (Caja Rural Seguros), s.t.
  • 6, Adrián Alvaredo (Extremadura), s.t.
  • 7, Loïc Chetout (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 8, Dayer Quintana (Lizarte), s.t.
  • 9, Iván Rodríguez (Gomur - Cantabria Deporte), s.t.
  • 10, Antton Ibarguren (Telco'm Conor Unsain), s.t.
  • 18, Álvaro Treuba (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 30, Víctor Etxeberría (Naturgas Energía), s.t.
  • 51, Alain González (Naturgas Energía), 6:28
  • 77, Karl Baudron (Naturgas Energía), 9:25
Photo: Bikezona

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