A stage victory, a second place and the 5th position overall for Luis Pasamontes were the positive outcome for Movistar Team in the Vuelta a Andalucía, which concluded in Antequera on Thursday with the second stage triumph by Óscar Freire (RAB) and the GC success for Markel Irizar (RSH).
The Southern course was the fourth stagerace -leaving the two-day Tour du Haut Var in France aside- raced by Movistar Team this season, and the streak of stage wins by the Spanish squad was kept as all of them -Down Under, San Luis and Mallorca included- saw a blue rider raising arms on top. The telephone team searched today for their second victory in Andalusia with Fran Ventoso, who couldn’t eventually get over the hard finishing ascent of the final kilometer in the stage, bruises in his crash yesterday hurting him. Ventoso’s absence was covered by the effort by his teammates Luis Pasamontes and Jesús Herrada -the latter one showing great manners at 20 years of age-, who gained some meters into the demanding slopes alongside Freire and Jürgen van den Broeck (OLO) before being caught by the bunch in the final turn.
Movistar Team’s sports director on Andalusian turf, José Luis Jaimerena, brought a positive overview of the team’s performance in the 57th Ruta del Sol: “The outcome must be evidently positive, because we claimed one more victory. But I’m not sticking to just that, because we were fighting for it everyday. At the opening ITT, which we know was going to decide the GC, we were fine and, after that, the route almost forced us to focus on the chances by Ventoso. We had to profit from his speed and I think we’ve done that. He won a stage, placed 2nd in another one… it was a pity he crashed yesterday because, apart from leaving him with no option to contest, such a blow always makes you lose force for a finish like today’s. I’m happy because everyone did well. Pasamontes and Intxausti came on front overall, the kid Herrada has been formidable today and the rest were on place all over the race.”