Portuguese takes 2nd in uphill finish in Moutier behind Hivert (SAU), comes close to an eleventh Movistar Team success this season as the Blues keep trying in the next three stages
Following a few weeks of bad luck after a crushing start to the month of April, Movistar Team keeps hitting the wall of their ten victories in the 2012 account at the 66th Tour de Romandie, with its second stage held today over a hilly 149-kilometer route from Montbéliard to Moutier. Portuguese Rui Costa finished in 2nd place at the uphill sprint finish to Jonathan Hivert (SAU), after a day where the telephone squad was really active for the last 50k with the attacks from Branislau Samoilau and Ángel Madrazo. In really good position for the twisty finale, Costa lost strength in the last meters and came again close to a maiden victory in 2012 he also missed out by a short margin in the Queen stages of Mallorca and Algarve.
With his 6-second bonus at the finish, the Iberian is now just behind the overall top-ten, 11th after his teammate Rubén Plaza who sits as the best performer from the telephone squad, with six riders -Castroviejo (14th), Kiryienka (18th), Samoilau and Karpets are also at the top-30- within 20 seconds of the yellow jersey by Bradley Wiggins (SKY), to be decided into a long weekend with two mountain stages and a hard final ITT. The first of those will be ridden on Friday: 157km from La Neuveville to Charmey, with 5k of final uphill preceeded by the climb of La Châtelard (Cat. 2), 55 kilometers from the finish.
QUOTES / Rui Costa: “Any time you take 2nd, that sour flavor is there. It’s important to be up-front, but I like to win and I came really close today. I didn’t expect such a hard finish, but I came into good position at the roundabout with 700m to go, and with 100m to go I saw it was my moment. I thought I could win, but Hivert was really much stronger than me and I couldn’t do anything. At the Ardennes, with a really strong field, I was already on front, and I’m keeping this form alive here. There are still three important stages ahead and we’ll keep trying to the end. The team is doing phenomenally and all my team-mates are riding at the fore. Let’s see if we can turn that into victories. There’s a mountain-top finish tomorrow and it’ll be a crucial day for all of us.”