Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tuesday round-up

  • Samu and Gorka Izagirre were both in the mix on today's fourth stage to the top of the Mûr de Bretagne to give Euskaltel some much needed presence in the race after a truncated start. The latter, in his debut Tour, joined four others to make up the break of the day early on. The Gipuzkoan looked strong all day and was, in my eyes anyway, the strongest of the five. He twice tried to go it alone inside the last ten kilometres but didn't succeed and was reeled in at the base of the climb. Once the climbing started, Samu was always there or thereabouts, finishing in eighth on the same time as winner Evans. He thus finished ahead of GC rivals A Schleck, Basso, Gesink and Wiggins to name but a few, and showed that he'll still have a major role to play in this race. The team leader deemed himself "satisfied" with his performance, telling the team's website that he was happy to have gotten through such a difficult stage (with the weather and all) unscathed. In the company of explosive riders like Contador, Hushovd, Gilberto, Urán et al. he looked quite comfortable, so I reckon he'll thrive big time once the race hits the mountains in a week or so. Stage results: 8) Samuel Sánchez, 0:00. 45) Amets Txurruka, 0:23. 50) Gorka Verdugo, 0:25. 92) Egoi Martínez, 1:47. 100) Iván Velasco, 2:05. 110) Rubén Pérez, 2:22. 127) Alan Pérez, 3:21. 157) Gorka Izagirre, 4:17. 185) Pablo Urtasun, 8:13.
  • While the Tour is unravelling just across the border, Antón, Nieve, Isasi and Oroz are gearing up for next month's Vuelta. The quartet are currently scouting out some of the key stages and climbs, reports El Correo, to make sure they're as prepared as can be for the big race at home. The spent yesterday checking out stage 11 ending atop the Manzaneda, while they took in some parts of the 13th stage to Ponferrada earlier on today. In the upcoming days they'll aim to check out the climbs of stages 14 and 15.
  • Orbea will on Thursday take to the start in four-day Portuguese event GP Joaquín Agostinho. A youthful team consisting of Cabedo, Blázquez, Sáez, Zabalo, Bagües, Bizkarra and García will don the blue of Orbea for the race.
  • Naturgas Energía will dispute the Vuelta a Madrid over the exact same days as the guys at Orbea will compete across the border. DS Aritz Arberas has chosen to go with the following riders: Igor Merino, Fernando Grijalba, Alain González, Loïc Chetout, Damien García, Carlos Barbero and Efrén Carazo. While the guys in red will no doubt find it difficult to repeat last year's third place courtesy of Pello Bilbao, look to Merino and Grijalba in particular to finish reasonably high up on GC.


Kristof said...

Very strong Izagirre, strong guys like Hoogerland and Erviti had difficult moments when he attacked. Obviously he's after Samu the biggest talnt in the Tour selection. He deserves a couple of days of rest now and maybe he can try again this weekend, as we've seen in the Tour De Suisse he's also a good climber. His capacity in the mountains surely is better then this from Egoi Martinez/Alan Perz/Ruben Perez/Urtasun and even Velasco/Verdugo. Velasco does not give a good impression to me, he was the weakest in the TT and on a finish like yesterday I expect better from him. Allthough he was very good in the Dauphiné, maybe he still suffers from his crash the first day.

Kristof said...

Ouch, that doesn't look good. Thought it was velasco (again) on the ground?


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