País Vasco (s3) - Sarthe (s2)
Herrada leads Queen breakaway in País Vasco as Kiryienka jumps into 7th overall, with Blues in 2nd at teams’ overall. Castroviejo 4th at La Sarthe’s ITT, Movistar Team on tied lead
Movistar Team brought again its best image to the spotlight in the most important stage in the 2012 Vuelta al País Vasco, the third day in the Basque event over 165 kilometers from Eibar to the Santuario de Arrate after seven categorized climbs, the latter of those, Usartza (Cat. 1), shaking up the GC with Spaniard Samuel Sánchez (EUS) now on top after notching up the day’s win. José Herrada was the main protagonist in the break of the day, formed up by five riders from km 32 on course and breaking up into the climb of San Asentzio (Cat. 2), the man in Blue attacking alongside Dane Mads Christensen (SAX). With just over two and a half minutes of advantage on the bunch, Herrada increased his gamble for the stage with a solo attack through the uphill to Ixua (Cat. 1), which he summited alone as well as the Alto de San Miguel (Cat. 2) before being reeled back by the counter group of Katusha’s Ángel Vicioso and Giampaolo Caruso, and later reached by a peloton which could only overcome him already into the Usartza climb.
“There wasn’t the needed cooperation on the break, which made the stage even harder,” admitted an exhausted Herrada just after crossing the finish line, in which the Movistar Team riders again showed solidness. With José Joaquín Rojas’s yellow jersey stripped off his hands, the Spaniard still on top of the points ranking, the Blues kept a strong pace and took three of their riders -Vasil Kiryienka, now 7th in the GC, Rui Costa and David López- into the 16-man group that came 12 seconds behind Sánchez, Rodríguez (KAT) and Horner (RNT), allowing them rank in 2nd at the teams’ classification. With David Arroyo and Ángel Madrazo also within a minute of the race lead, the telephone squad has a strong chance to score a win tomorrow in the slopes of Ibardin, at Bera de Bidasoa, where stage four will end after 151k and four other categorized ascents: Itziar (Cat. 3), Aritxulegi (Cat. 2), Agiña (Cat. 2) and the shortened, previous pass through the finishing climb.
Castroviejo, Movistar Team on the fight in France
On the other hand, Jonathan Castroviejo came again a few seconds short to his maiden victory in Movistar Team colours during a long day two in the 60th Circuit de la Sarthe, composed by a road stage of 88 kilometers with a finishing circuit in Angers and a 6.8km individual time trial in the city of the Pays du Loire region, in which the Basque rider finished in 4th, just eight seconds behind winner Luke Durbridge (GEC). Despite his two crashes in the morning section, the rain avoiding the riders directed by Yvon Ledanois making the top spots -Ventoso was 13th at the concluding sprint-, the full Blue block made a good time trial as Rubén Plaza took 10th place and Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas came in 11th position, taking the telephone squad in a tied lead with RNT on top of the teams’ classification. The race will tackle tomorrow its most difficult route, with 181 kilometers en route to Pré-en-Pail and another circuit finish over the Montée des Avaloirs, to be climbed five times.
Pic (c): Juan Mari Tolín