Monday, April 01, 2013

Euskaltel caught out in País Vasco opener

Samuel Sánchez and Euskaltel Euskadi got their defence of the Vuelta al País Vasco crown off to a troubled start. The guys in orange missed the first group of favourites as a crash split the peloton on the last climb.

The first stage of the WorldTour race took the riders 156 kilometres from and to Elgoibar. On paper it appeared the stage would be one for the sprinters and not one for the general classification contenders, but it turned out to anything but.

After the day's two breakaway artists, local rider Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) and Laurent Didier (RadioShack), had been reeled in with approximately 18 clicks to go, the pack started the day's final climb, the Alto de San Miguel, gruppo compatto.

At the summit, less than eight kilometres from the goal line, a crash took place, taking out, but more importantly hindering, a whole host of riders. Among those missing the split was the entire Euskaltel team, while GC favourites like Richie Porte, Alberto Contador, Jakob Fuglsang, Nairo Quintana, Sergio Henao, Tejay Van Garderen and Roman Kreuziger made the 17-man strong front group.

Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans eventually led the select group across the line to take the stage win, with Euskaltel trio Samuel Sánchez, Ion and Gorka Izagirre coming in five seconds down.

While the five seconds lost on day one might prove decisive come the end of the race, team captain Sánchez didn't seem too keen to dwell on it when talking to the media post-stage.

"Crashes and splits are part of this sport. We didn't have luck on our side this time, but there's no use thinking about it. We've got another stage coming up tomorrow and we have to keep working", the 34-year-old, calm as ever, said.

"In a race as hard as this one, five seconds won't be decisive, but of course you don't want to start the race by losing time. There's still a lot to ride for, and our goals are still intact. We have to stay focussed every single day".

Results (full results here):
  • (1, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), 4:06:33)
  • 18, Samuel Sánchez, 0:05
  • 24, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
  • 27, Ion Izagirre, s.t.
  • 40, Igor Antón, 0:12
  • 66, Egoi Martínez, 0:21
  • 129, Rubén Pérez, 6:07
  • 130, Romain Sicard, s.t.
  • 132, Mikel Landa, 7:21
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi


gasherbrum3 said...

Of course: who missed the 1st group? Right, Euskaltel...

Remo said...

That's frustrating to say the least ! every time and again the same error. When we'll LEARN ???

azanca02 said...

I agree, With the pedigree of riders that Euskaltel has brought to the race they should have been right on Movistar and Skys wheels. But in their often is there a crash going up a mountian?

On another cool note. Aupa to Txurruka! He looked good in the break away.

racejunkie said...

Euskaltel is too experienced to be making such amateur mistakes. In the Classics, where they are new, I'd get a tactical screw-up, but in their home race? They're breaking my heart!

Stephen said...

Chapeau Amets!How ironic if he has a good, injury free, year? Still sublime to watch on a bike whatever jersey he wears.

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