Friday, April 05, 2013

Brave Sánchez goes close to famous win

Samuel Sánchez went close to taking Euskaltel Euskadi's first victory of 2013 when he put in one of his trademark daredevil attacks on the descent off of the last climb in Friday's penultimate stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Eventually the Euskaltel team-leader was forced to settle for second as Sky's Richie Porte succeeded in holding off a select group with a last-ditch attack to the line in Beasain.

Though the longed-for win might have eluded the team, it was the response team management and supporters had been hoping for after a somewhat subdued performance on the previous four stages from the orange team at their local WorldTour race.

Ion Izagirre formed part of the break of the day to set the tone for an aggressive performance from Euskaltel over the 166,1km-long stage from Eibar to Beasain. With an impressive ten categorized climbs on the menu, it was no surprise this fifth stage was dubbed the race's 'queen-stage'.

The youngest of the Izagirre's move looked dangerous but was never given much leeway, paving the way for brother Gorka Izagirre to attack once the day's main break had been caught. He didn't get far, though, and from then on in he channelled all his energies in setting up his team captain for a tilt at the stage win.

Sánchez duly attacked going over the day's last climb, and quickly built up a decent lead along with Sky's Henao. The duo looked to be in with a chance for a long time, but Henao's lack of cooperation resulted in the duo being reeled in by a select group featuring the likes of Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana.

Henao's team-mate Richie Porte tried his luck inside the last clicks and ended up soloing to the line. Sánchez led a seven-man strong chase group across the line four seconds down.

Heading into Saturday's finale, Samu is ranked eighth overall, still 47 seconds down on Henao.

On a bitterly cold and wet day in the Basque Country, almost half the peloton pulled out. That included Euskaltel trio Igor Antón, Mikel Landa and Rubén Pérez.

Video recap of the finale:

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Richie Porte (Sky), 4:40:43)
  • 2, Samuel Sánchez, 0:04
  • 42, Gorka Izagirre, 3:02
  • 57, Egoi Martínez, 14:24
  • 63, Romain Sicard, 15:39
  • 65, Ion Izagirre, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, Segio Henao (Sky), 21:04:07)
  • 8, Samuel Sánchez, 0:47
  • 48, Ion Izagirre, 24:34
  • 50, Gorka Izagirre, 25:18
  • 53, Egoi Martínez, 25:42
  • 66, Romain Sicard, 46:11
Photo: Iñaki Azanza


Remo said...

The question is: what future for this team when Samu will retire ? I've got big hopes on the two Izagirre and Nieve will always do well in Grand Tour...but we haven't got a Winner !
Looking to the bright side ... well, if this is Samu at 80% what to expect from him when he'll be at his peak ???!!!!

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Magnus said...

Yeah, he'll be unbeatable in the Giro if he keep improving. Another month of training should set him up nicely

Remo said...

Yeah Magnus !!! we all hope so !!!!!!


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