Pardilla, Bruseghin stay within overall top-20 in Vuelta after hard finish atop La Covatilla, preceeding an individual time trial to sort GC out. Rojas on edge of victory in Plouay
The two top guns from Movistar Team for the overall classification of the 2011 Vuelta a España are still alive after the second high-mountain stage of the event, a 183k parcours from Villacastín to the ski station of La Covatilla, where Dutchman Bauke Mollema (RAB) took over the race’s leadership again after claiming 2nd in the stage, won by Irishman Daniel Martin (GRM). Sergio Pardilla was the most remarkable rider from the telephone squad in the day after countering and leading some of the biggest moves within the GC riders in the finale. On top of the race until the final 3k, the Spaniard could not follow afterwards and ended up losing just over half a minute across the finish, while his teammate Marzio Bruseghin entered with previous leader Rodríguez (KAT), 50 seconds off the winner’s pace. With Bruseghin (16th) and Pardilla (17th) just over a minute after the leader, the race will tackle another determining stage on Monday before the first rest day: a 46k ITT around Salamanca to put an end into the first half of the route at the Spanish grandtour.
Pardilla, really supported by his fans club throughout the climb from Bejar, described his feelings after the end of the stage: “At the beginning of the climb many favourites attacked: Nibali, Scarponi, Van den Broeck. I jumped across all cuts because I was having good legs. I was ambitious but at the last minute, when I had to stay with them, I paid from my efforts and couldn’t follow them. This time, being brave did not make any good for me. I knew the climb very well because I use to train here and I knew that the steepest ramps were at the beginning and at the finale, but the real thing making the ascent was the wind. It was really gusty sidewind that broke the group, especially in the latter part. I didn’t lost much time, but this is my terrain and it’s a gap you count on your GC position day by day. I can’t be satisfied today because I didn’t manage my forces well, and it was a pity for all the fans supporting me all over the climb.”
Rojas gets force underwarded in Plouay
On the other hand, Spanish road champion José Joaquín Rojas could not cope with the tremendous work by Movistar Team in the 75th GP Ouest-France, a UCI World Tour race on Bretagne over 248 kilometers around the World-Championship course in Plouay. The Blue fastman only could snatch 7th place behind Slovenian Grega Bole (LAM), the smartest into a 5-rider leading group which the sprinter from Cieza was making part of after sticking to the strongest riders on course during the decisive climb to Ty-Marrec, 3 kilometers from the finish line. The race came into the final ascent grouped after sacrifice by Ventoso, Gutiérrez, Herrada, Rui Costa or Plaza in the relays, as well as the final attacks by Luis Pasamontes and Enrique Sanz in search for the day’s breakaway to keep Rojas in good place, the Spaniard eventually having to sprint from the bunch after not being able to counter Bole’s move before the flamme rouge.