Monday, September 30, 2013

Iparragirre makes a name for himself in China

The Equipo Euskadi sprinter grabbed his best result of the year in what is possibly his last race as a professional at the Tour of China II on Monday.

The likely collapse of the Basque Continental team may leave a lot of the team's riders on the metaphorical street come 2014. Iparragirre, having signed a one-year deal prior to this year, has steadily built up a reputation as a sprinter to be reckoned with in his first year among the pros, but the 25-year-old track specialist told Basque Cycling News only last month that no teams had enquired about his services for 2014 and beyond.

The native of Azpeitia, Gipuzkoa, did his chances of landing a ride for next year no harm in China, though, finishing the race in third overall. What's more, he grabbed second, third and fourth on stages.

The team, having taken out the team classification at the Tour of China I, emerged victorious in the combined team rankings to close out their first race in Asia on a high.

Final general classification:
  • (1, Alois Kankovsky (ASC Dukla Praha), 18:17:58)
  • 3, Unai Iparragirre, 0:20
  • 15, Aritz Bagües, 0:33
  • 32, Mikel Bizkarra, 3:42
  • 55, Illart Zuazubiskar, 3:44
  • 75, Mikel Aristi, s.t.
  • 86, Jon Larrinaga, s.t.
While a bunch of riders competed in China, an Euskadi contingent also took part in the Tour du Gévaudan - the race, as usual, being the team's last competitive outing of the year.

Naturgas Energía duo Loïc Chetout and Víctor Etxberría were supposed to be given their first chance with the team, but in the end only the latter joined up. Chetout, the team's standout rider this season, crashed last week and didn't recover in time to line up for his first pro race.

In his place, Haritz Orbe stole the headlines for the team with his fourth place finish on the second and last stage.

"We weren't on our guard on day one, but we were active and present in the breaks the following day", team DS Aritz Arberas told the team's website. "We were strong - Orbe came in fourth. With this race and the Tour of China done and dusted with, Equipo Euskadi have finished its season".

Final general classification:
  • (1, Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), 8:24:41)
  • 20, Igor Merino, 5:34
  • 53, Víctor Etxeberría, 19:37
  • 56, Carlos Barbero, 21:48
  • 69, Haritz Orbe, 35:37
Photo: Fundación Ciclista Euskadi


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