Víctor Etxeberria showed he's growing in stature with a creditable ninth place finish in today's second stage of the Vuelta al Bidasoa. There was no stopping top favourite Alexey Rybalkin, though, who looks to have the overall win tied up already after a storming performance to take out the stage two-win.
20-year-old Beñat Txoperena of Bidelan spent the day up ahead alone after dropping his breakaway companions about halfway through the 128,8km ride to and from Hondarribia. The former Caja Rural rider held a small advantage approaching the Jaizkíbel, the decisive point of the race, but Rybalkin, initially in the company of fellow Lokosphinx team-mate Pavel Ptashkin, showed his strength on the climb and easily crossed the line solo in nearby Hondarribia, 46 seconds ahead of Ptashkin and Víctor Martín of Diputación Avila-Smilekers in third. Former Naturgas prodigy and now Caja Rural powerhouse, Fernando Grijalva, brought a small group home for fourth place 1:30 in arrears. Exteberria crossed the line a further four seconds back, while Jon Larrinaga came in 1:58 back in 15th place.
The Naturgas Energía riders occupy the same places on GC as they placed on the stage.
- 1, Alexey Rybalkin (Lokosphinx), 3:09:34
- 2, Pavel Ptashkin (Lokosphinx), 0:46
- 3, Víctor Martín (Diputación Avila), s.t.
- 4, Fernando Grijalba (Caja Rural), 1:30
- 5, Ariel Sívori (Azysa), s.t.
- 9, Víctor Etxeberria, 1:34
- 15, Jon Larrinaga, 1:58
- 92, Mikel Iturria, 11:39
- 102, Damien Garcia, 14:10
- 116, Alain González, 14:56
- 118, Imanol Estévez, s.t.
- DNF: Karl Baudron