Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sánchez pleads for calm as Vuelta goals unravel

Samuel Sánchez's ambitions in Euskaltel's last ever Grand Tour took a major hit on the race's first summit finish on stage two.

The stage from Pontevedra to Alto de Monte da Groba should on paper have suited 'Samu' and his fellow orange climbers to a tee, but instead Sánchez and his team-mates inexplicably failed to come even close to living up to expectations.

The team leader had to let go of the sizeable lead group with a full seven clicks to go and looked every bit the worried team leader he must surely be in these troubled times for his team. Despite the best efforts of several of his domestiques, by the top he'd ceded a massive 2:41 to stage winner Nicolas Roche and more than two minutes to the majority of his general classification rivals.

It was a sad view to see the team's hopes evaporate in their final appearance in the Vuelta on only the second day, but 'Samu' characteristically refused to push the panic button upon completing the stage.

"This is cycling, this is sport, and sometimes these things happen", he said philosophically. "There's no need to make a big drama out of it - we have to stay calm and keep working.

"It was a bad day. Now we have to look forward; there's still a lot of racing to be done in this race".

The only bright spot of a disheartening day was the performance of Mikel Nieve. The ever-reliable climber didn't look weary from his Tour de France exhaustions and stayed with the main group of leaders that came in 14 seconds down.

Heading into stage three, Nieve is a healthy 30th overall at 1:14.

  • (1, Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), 4:37:09)
  • 19, Mikel Nieve, 0:14
  • 62, Gorka Verdugo, 2:41
  • 63, Igor Antón, s.t.
  • 64, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
  • 65, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.
  • 79, Mikel Landa, 4:05
  • 102, Juan José Oroz, 7:47
  • 149, Jorge Azanza, 9:53
  • 152, Pablo Urtasun, s.t.
Photo: Orbea


Anonymous said...

Mikel did a good job today, as did the domestiques who tried hard to ralay Samu back to the front.

Aupa Euskadi!

Stephen said...

Do you think Samu could decide to retire at the end of the year? Hard to see him going to another team after all this time, and he is 35....

Anonymous said...

Very interesting question! I think the problem is not from the point if he can physically, but if he has the motivation.

Anonymous said...

However, this year strange things happened with cycling in the Basque Country. Foundation Euskadi argues with company Euskaltel and withdraw from Team Euskaltel Euskadi. Team Euskaltel Euskadi should be further supported by the company Euskaltel and local authorities. Surprise, the authorities do not give any money. Instead, Team Orbea has changed its name to Team Euskadi. The Basque bike brand continue to supply the team with bikes and material, but the foundation Euskadi pays Orbea in order to race their bikes. While there are more and more World Tour teams supported by bicycle manufacturers (Cannondale, BMC, Trek) Orbea and "Mondragon" take a step back.
I do not believe that Mondragon with Euscaltel would not be able to support the team without help from local authorities. I think the goal was actually, dissolution of Euskaltel Euskadi and formation of a new team, representative for the Basque Country. I do not believe that, in the soul of fans, another team can replace the carrots.
P.S. Sorry for my bad English

Stephen said...

Mondragon and Orbea must have been approached and have it that they don't agree with the dilution of the team to ensure word tour status?

Anonymous said...

I wonder: If Euskaltel is dissolved, what will be the exposure of Orbea. What other important team will run on Orbea bike?


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