A huge pace of almost 50 kilometers per hour was the speed for the riders of Movistar Team into the lead group that contested the victory in the Cancer Council Classic, a 51km criterium hold in a urban course in Adelaide’s Rymill Park that served as preface for the 2011 World Tour’s opening race, the Tour Down Under starting on Tuesday.
At full speed, Iván Gutiérrez, Rojas, Ventoso, Chente, Pasamontes, Madrazo and David López made the first chapter of the recently opened Movistar Team history, as the very first ones wearing its innovating kit into a race. The roster led on Australian soil by José Luis Arrieta searched for a winning opportunity with their sprinter José Joaquín Rojas, who went perfectly covered by all the squad in the second half of the race while Fran Ventoso, the man in charge of a perfect leadout in the final lap, rode him right after the wheel of top favourite Mark Cavendish. However, a crash into the penultimate corner ruined Rojas’s options and left only the four riders on top into the day’s real contention. Rojas eventually crossed the line in 8th, while Ventoso took 16th at the finish of the South Australian capital, where Matthew Goss claimed the victory.
It wasn’t either another day in the office for José Luis Arrieta. After a 16-year professional career, the Spaniard started today with his first ever race as a sports director: “It was a special day for all of us, really exciting. In my case, I felt a bit strange because you’re always used to be at the other side; that said, my real début will be on Tuesday. We were really curious today to see how the jerseys would look into the peloton, and the truth is that they get perfectly spotted, in conjunction with the new helmet. People like them. We lacked a bit of fortune because we got right into the crash, but the feeling is good right now. Both Rojas and Ventoso feel really strong and we’ll look for opportunities with them. The rest of the team is made out of veterans we’re confident that won’t be dissappointing us, and Madrazo, despite his flu over recent days, also feels secure. I think we can bring some joy to all our supporters. All their messages through Facebook are reaching us and we’d like to thank them from here for that.”