Volta a Catalunya (st. 2)
A puncture by Quintana and a crash by Valverde, almost consecutive, delay both Blue riders into the GC, with a brilliant Pardilla approaching the top-ten after taking 6th today
Misfortune stroke Movistar Team hard on stage two of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya held on Wednesday. The decisive part of the stage, with a hard finishing 50k including the ascents of La Ganga (Cat. 3) and the Alt dels Àngels (Cat. 1) because a carousel of incidents for the telephone squad, which saw their best two chances, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, losing most of their chances to do a good race. A puncture by the Colombian when entering the feed zone and a crash by the Spaniard just few seconds later got them out of the main group, flying towards the finish line. Despite all the attempts by his teammates -only Pardilla and Arroyo did not drop from the first group to help them- and the pursuit by Valverde and Quintana themselves in Els Àngels, the junction was impossible and the Murcian lost 2.09 at the finish in Girona.
Still slightly dizzy and with a strong blow in his right side -especially with contusions in his leg and shoulder-, the Spaniard will check out how his injuries evolve before tomorrow’s Queen stage in the Catalonian race: 210 kilometers from La Vall d’En Bas to the ski resort of Port-Ainé (HC), including the climbs of the Alt de Coubet (Cat. 1), the Collada de Toses (Cat. 1) and the Port del Cantó (HC) as a really tough approach. After bad luck from Valverde and Quintana, the main chances in the overall -still led by Albasini (GEC) after his sectonr victory today- for Movistar Team come from Sergio Pardilla. The Spaniard took a brilliant 6th today and is on the same time of all top-ten contenders as he tries tomorrow to get a good position in a finale suiting him.
Alejandro Valverde: “Just as we were heading out of the feedzone, there was a bottle on the road, the front wheel got over it and I crashed on my right side against a kerb. It was practically an inevitable crash. I got on my feet again but I was feeling mostly dizzy after the crash, and I lost some time to depart again. I was a bit out of consciousness, it was hard to get back on racing pace and that’s why if was difficult to bridge. I want to thank all my team-mates; it’s a pity, because we could have done really well here. These things happen: sometimes everything’s good, sometimes everything goes wrong. The route was really good for me, but this is a rider’s life. Leaving the bad side apart, we have to be happy. I have much pain, especially in the right side, in my shoulder. Let’s see how we rest and wake up to value tomorrow what we can do.”
José Luis Arrieta (DS): “We were stopped at the side of the road with Nairo, who had had a flat tire, and at the feeding zone the route was casually narrowing to a single-way road, which made things more complicated together with the fact that the feedzones are always chaotic. Just after the zone, Alejandro went down after slipping with a bottle. When we realized he had crashed and the race jury also got noticed about that and said it to us, we lost contact with the main group. With so many riders pushing ahead, it was so difficult to bridge the gaps; there was much interest so the group couldn’t get reached by any means and, against a peloton of almost hundred eighty riders, it was impossible to get the gap down. Despite all of that, the team was really good and I personally congratulated them after the stage, because they had to work alone, with no help from others. Even though the stages coming ahead are hard, this gap is difficult to close, but the guys behind have a chance to fight for a stage in the upcoming days. Besides, Sergio defended the team, did a fine stage and has a mountainous route tomorrow that suits him well. Should stages go just like you want everyday, we would be winning everyday and the rest would take none. We went down today, but there’s another stage tomorrow and we might as well be up by then.”