Carlos Barbero gave Orbea a decent start to the Ronde de l'Isard today with a sixth-place finish in stage one.
The 154,3km stage from Saint-Girons to Carla-Bayale was taken out by Entente Sud Gascogne's Alexis Guerin, the 19-year-old soloing to win four seconds ahead of countryman Pierre-Roger Latour of Chambéry CF. Quentin Bernier of powerhouse outfit CR4C Roanne closed out the podium a further four seconds adrift after the trio, along with Russian duo Pomoshnikov and Ptashkin (so strong recently in the Vuelta al Bidasoa), distanced the peloton in the finale. Barbero, who's quickly found his feet at this level after joining from Naturgas Energía in the winter, took out the bunch sprint 25 seconds down on the winner. The peloton also included team-mates Fraile and Merino.
21-year-old Barbero described the stage as a "missed opportunity" and the result as "unsatisfactory" on his Twitter account, while Fraile took to the same medium to express his contentment after coming down with fever yesterday.
Tomorrow's stage takes in the testing climb of Montségur some 30 kilometres from the line, meaning it's anyone's guess who'll sneak away with it.
Stage 1 results:
- (1, Alexis Guerin (Entente Sud Gascogne), 3:45:17
- 6, Carlos Barbero, 0:25
- 24, Omar Fraile, s.t.
- 40, Igor Merino, s.t.
- 74, Haritz Orbe, 14:52
- 75, Illart Zuazubiskar, 17:01