Just after three months of competition, Movistar Team have conquered their tenth victory in their debut season. The telephoen squad notched another success on Spanish soil thanks to Imanol Erviti, who crowned the domination by his squad in the 51th Vuelta a la Rioja, a traditional tour becoming one-day race in 2009 whose 198km route saw great moves by the pro riders on Sunday.
Erviti outsprinted Colombians Giovanny Báez and Juan Pablo Suáre from EPM, the trio breaking apart with 10 kilometers from the finish and holding a slight gap over a first pursuit group, where Andrey Amador (4th) and Iván Gutiérrez (7th) completed the exhibition from the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta, which sum the teams’ overall victory and the Rushes competition triumph by Enrique Sanz to the individual success from the Spaniard. Sanz was another from the day’s leading figures with his break in the ending zone -Oyarzun also made an attempt after the youngster was caught-, following the long try by Javier Iriarte during the opening 135k, which meant that the Riojan classic was led by a Movistar Team right from start to the finish.
Erviti, aged 27, claimed his fourth victory as pro (a stage success in the Vuelta a Navarra, still riding as amateur, and two wins in the Vuelta a España made his palmarès up to date) and showed elated after claiming his first one-day event: “I am extremely happy, I had felt a little bit sad after Llodio because I lost the decisive cut while having some food before the finale, and I confirmed today that my legs were good. The team was sensational and most of the victory was thanks to them, because being always into the splits allowed the rest to ride calm. At the climb, the two Colombians attacked, but I chose to wait until the final 300 meters before the climb to attack and reach them into the descent. They were really honest on the cooperation and had no problems to take the turns. We had a really short gap, but I knew we had chances by the route we had to do to the finish. I saw they were lacking energy and I knew the finish from other editions, so that’s why I was confident I could beat them. Now I’ll be racing Asturias; even though the route is way more mountainous, I’ll try and take profit from my fitness. After that, if everything runs good, I’m within the list of those which might ride the Tour, and I’d love doing it again.”
Young promise Herrada brilliant in Liège
Another roster from Movistar Team was taking part today in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the oldest of the UCI World Tour races on Belgian soil, where local hero Philippe Gilbert completed his triple success in the Ardennes classics with yet another exhibition. David López and Vasil Kiryienka -along with Beñat Intxausti, who got dropped from the favourites’ group in the last two climbs- put the telephone squad into the top places, although the best performer of the day for the Blues was Jesús Herrada. The Spanish rider, the youngest within all 199 participants, led the way home for almost 200 kilometers thanks to a long break that showed again why he is one of the biggest hopefuls in Spanish cycling.