He came a bit short for the stage victory and the GC command yesterday, but today Vasil Kiryienka gave Movistar Team another leader jersey at the end of the third stage, the consecutive second into the mountains, in the 35th Route du Sud, which will conclude tomorrow at Pau with a flat 143k ride containing no major difficulties.
Kiryienka took to fruition at Bagnères-de-Luchon what his teammates did during the race with a tremendous work on front. The early attempt by Spaniard Luis Pasamontes led to a 15-rider attempt that opened the way for most of the stage and forced the leader’s team to work all day, plus allowed Belgian Jurgen van Goolen to take the stage honours. In the finale, the decisive Port de Balès climb (Cat. 1, just 18k from the finish) saw a strong performance from David Arroyo and Sergio Pardilla in support of their leader. Kiryienka gave it a try in the final 5 kilometers with a strong attack that forced race leader Anthony Charteau to make an extra effort and chase him down into the final slopes, taking the responsibility until the summit after 3k of furious chase. The Frenchman would pay the pace changes after the Pirenaic colossus and Kiryienka again launched into the descent to strengthen the gaps, with the unpayable help by Pardilla and Arroyo -who also attacked from the favourites’ group-, and cross the finish line with a minute’s gap over the previous leader.
Kiryienka is the new holder of the red jersey, with 43 seconds over Davide Rebellin (MIE) in the eve of the race’s final ride, where Movistar Team will count again on the help by all Movistar Team riders, recognised as the best squad in the overall classification. “The race will be won tomorrow,” appoints sports director Yvon Ledanois from France, “but Vasil is riding strong and has an important gap. Besides, the team have shown again their level and that will keep him calm. We’ll have to manage the race well tomorrow, because this will be a short stage and everything can become hard.”
Rojas 6th at Tour de Suisse
The telephone squad also had protagonism in the seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse with their two sprinters, Fran Ventoso and José Joaquín Rojas. The first one left his rush abilities apart today and entered a long break that kept him on front for 130 kilometers, just before Movistar Team chose to break the peloton into the first of the two short climbs in the final 20k. The strong impulse from the riders in Blue left a 35-rider group on front with Lastras and Rojas, who unfortunately couldn’t get into position at the final straight and had to stick to the sixth place of the day behind day’s winner Sagan (LIQ), Goss, Swift, Fernández de Larrea and World champion Thor Hushovd. The Swiss stagerace ends tomorrow with a 32km individual time trial in and around Schaffhausen.