Amador, Intxausti overcome difficult test after seeming destined to leave the Tour. Movistar Team, only a minute behind winners despite all troubles
Andrey Amador and Beñat Intxausti went through a most difficult test on stage 2 of the 2011 Tour de France, a 23k team time trial around Les Essarts where Movistar Team finished in 19th place, just a minute behind the winners Garmin-Cervélo, an extraordinary performance taking into account the bad conditions by the starters, with Amador and Intxausti looking set to stop with their début in the Grande Boucle.
“I didn’t want to think of it in the hours prior to the start, but I couldn’t even walk on my own feet,” conceeded Andrey Amador-. You start thinking about the issue and see that you can’t leave the Tour on the first day, you have to keep trying for all the people that supported you on the way up here. Sometimes, moral and willingness to do well overcome everything. Cycling is already difficult, but when you have such a problem, it is way harder. We made it through the day and that helps me to think the ankle can do a bit better day by day, but tomorrow’s will be a long stage, with nervousness, we’ll see how my body responds.” Beñat Intxausti showed also relieved after saving a stage that looked well into the dark: “I had good rest during the night, but we went on the TT bikes in the morning and I couldn’t even follow my teammates. I couldn’t stand my arm on the handlebars and I thought it would be difficult. At the race, fortunately, I got into the heat of the action, felt better and took over this difficult day.”
Movistar Team came over the finish line with their nine riders together in a true show of comradeship, with a calm start through the nasty start in order to keep Intxausti and Amador into the block, and a second part of the race where even the Costa Rican -Intxausti could not take efforts due to his unability to take a correct position over the bars- went into some turns with his other seven teammates at the telephone squad. With the first match ball saved, those injured from Movistar Team will have another test in the Tour’s third day, with 198 kilometers from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon, presumably coming into a sprint as Rojas and Ventoso, the sprinters of Eusebio Unzuè’s group in the Tour, will give it a try against new leader Thor Hushovd (GRM).
“We did not race for the classification today,” explained general manager Eusebio Unzué. “We did not want to get two riders out of the row in the opening stage. The goal was saving the day with Amador and Intxausti. Sincerely, we were very doubtful of marking it, because Andrey could barely walk and Beñat could not stand pain in his arm this morning at the training. It was a good surprise to see both sticking, and even making some turns up front. The minute we lost and the 19th place must be valued really positively this time. We didn’t know how to do this TT, because it was likely that both got dropped right from the starting ramp and we started cautiously not to get them out of time. We’ll see how their injuries evolve tomorrow. Surely we will do some more checks on Intxausti to rule out any fractures, because he’s still feeling too much pain. We hope them to get over this and we’re pointing out for the chances by Ventoso and Rojas in the sprint that’s expected for tomorrow.”