TdF (st. 2) / Austria (st. 2)
Rojas 11th at Tournai’s finish after an easy day for Movistar Team in the eve of action-packed Tuesday finish at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Pardilla at the fore through hellish Kitzbüheler Horn, first summit finish in the Tour of Austria
Contrary to what happened at an eventful first road stage on Sunday, Movistar Team suffered no incidents during the first sprint day of the 2012 Tour de France, over 207k from Visé to Tournai which saw Mark Cavendish (SKY) taking the victory after the long break by Morkov (STB), Kern (EUC) and Roux (FDJ), reeled back in at the final 15 kilometers. The telephone squad protected Alejandro Valverde and their main references without a single problem and searched for their sprinting chances with one of the riders falling on Sunday, José Joaquín Rojas, really boxed in, who had to change his trajectory several times to end up in 11th spot. Tuesday will bring another day of full attention for the GC riders in the 197k from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer, with four categorized climbs in the final 40k and a demanding final sprint (700m, 7% avg).
QUOTES / José Joaquín Rojas: “To be honest, it was a complicated day for me today as my body was full of pain after yesterday’s crash. Fortunately, the start was calm and the hurt zones warmed up bit by bit, especially the hit in my coccyx, which is the biggest pain right now. I couldn’t make a full effort when jumping off the saddle and I saw that getting into the sprint was going to be impossible. The good thing is that my legs, apart from those pains, are doing well, and I hope to get back into normal feeling in two or three days. I made the front more to study my rivals than any other thing. I could see that Cavendish is not having the same help from the previous years and that makes things more equal, so others can find a good spot and bring a surprise. This year, I’ll be focusing on helping Alejandro, so that’s why I have forgotten about contesting the green jersey. We’ll try and profit from chances in the sprint finishes or rather calling for some breaks and trying to stay at front and win the sprint. Last year, the fact that I was competing for green made any breakaways impossible to stay away, so I hope to be luckier this year.”
Top climbing by Pardilla in Austria
In turn, the Movistar Team riders in the 64th Tour of Austria made a fine performance in the terrific summit finish of Kitzbüheler Horn (7.7km on a 12’1% avg. gradient), after a 158-kilometer trek started under the rain and finished under the sun, where the Blues got to shine. With three riders -David Arroyo, José Herrada and Sergio Pardilla- in the first selection of 25 men after the first kilometer of the climb, Pardilla was the one able to resist the first move by Rohregger (RNT) and always keep the front at the 7-man favourites’ group before the final kilometer, when he suffered after a notable effort to claim the 7th place of the day and an identical position in the overall, 50 seconds behind new leader Danilo Di Luca (ASA) -Herrada and Arroyo came two minutes behind the winner, with Jonathan Castroviejo just after them-. The high Alpine mountains will be again present in the Austrian race on Tuesday during stage three, with 142k to Lienz featuring two Cat. 1 passes: Felbertauern (15km, 5’5%) and Pustertaler (11km, 5%).