Lizarte might have been upstaged by Naturgas Energía earlier this week, but the black and pink team responded like only they know how by dominating Friday's race in Aretxabaleta.
Lizarte staged a mass offensive on Wednesday but came up short as Loïc Chetout showed who's the boss by securing Naturgas' second consecutive win in the prestigious Klasika Lemoiz. Then, Rafael Márquez was the team's top finisher in ninth.
On Friday, the team from Navarra hit back.
In the 115km Torneo Euskaldun race, the team took first, third, sixth and eighth - as well as the team rankings, naturally. The aforementioned Márquez (pictured above upon crossing the line) came out tops in the dash for the line after the pack had splintered on the race's last climb, the Gaztaga, coming 15 clicks from the line.
Márquez, a speedy 22-year-old from Córdoba, was actually off-hooked on that last climb as a small select group darted clear. On the run-in to the finish a sizeable group, of which he was a part, managed to catch back on, though, and Márquez had enough left in the tank to take his first victory of the season.
Gipuzkoa-Eki Sport's ever-consistent Júlen Mitxelena opened the sprint but had to settle for second in the race that is formally known as the Leintz Bailarari Itzulia. Third was for Márquez's team-mate Higinio Fernández, who through his podium placing edged ahead of Borja Abásolo in the overall series lead.
Naturgas Energía attempted to set up the explosive Imanol Estévez in the finale, but their challenge unravelled 500 metres from the line when the youngster from Vitoria accidentally unclicked.
- Rafael Márquez (Lizarte), 2:39:23
- Júlen Mitxelena (Gipuzkoa-Eki Sport), s.t.
- Higinio Fernández (Lizarte), s.t.
- Antonio Ángulo (Cafés Baqué-Conservas Campos), s.t.
- Pedro García (Mutua Levante-Delikia), s.t.
- Urtzi Murgia (Lizarte), s.t.
- David Civera (Koplad-Uni2), s.t.
- Antonio Pedrero (Lizarte), s.t.
- Egoitz Murgoitio (Hirumet Taldea), s.t.
- Eric Altura (Telco'm), s.t.