Valiant Moreno gives all until the end
26 January 2013

Tour Down Under (st. 5)

The Spaniard secures a second-place podium finish in the Tour Down Under overall after making his best through the Old Willunga Hill for 3rd place, well backed by the attitude from his team

Movistar Team used all weapons at its reach to fight for the 2013 Tour Down Under overall victory. The squad directed by José Luis Arrieta on Australian soil was again the most offensive block into the race’s hardest stage, the fifth, penultimate one over 152km between McLaren Vale and a final circuit with two passages over the Old Willunga Hill, the place where Alejandro Valverde completed his brilliant return into competition last year.

After trying to make the break into a ten-man attempt featuring José Herrada and Giovanni Visconti, the telephone squad went into the shelter of the bunch until the final 25k, when they got back into action with Herrada himself and Eros Capecchi, who took his heart out into a 4-man group along with Bonnafond (ALM) and Roelandts (LTB). The duo attack, with had 45 seconds of advantage with just 5k remaining, made a significant impact on the resistance of race leader Geraint Thomas (SKY), who would end up dropping halfway into the final ascent.

It was in that climb when, after his teammates were caught, Javi Morneo launched his attack for the victory with less than 2k to go. Reached by some of the favourites, the Andalusian would try again, this time solo, just before the flamme rouge. However, the bigger explosivity by Simon Gerrans (OGE), the day’s winner, and Tom-Jelte Slagter (BLA), new ochre jersey, overcame the pure climbing efforts by Moreno, whose brilliant 3rd place today equalled Valverde’s overall result from twelve months ago to lead him into 2nd GC tomorrow -as well as KOM jersey winner- should he complete the final 90km criterium in Adelaide’s East End on Sunday.

Javi Moreno: In the last climb, I got a good lead with 1km to go. I was at the front but I got passed by two riders [Simon Gerrans and Tom-Jelte Slagter] who were stronger than me. I didn’t look for the jersey of king of the mountain but this is the kind of classification that I like! Then being second on GC is probably the best ranking I could hope for. Slagter was absolutely superior. My performance shows the hard work I’ve done this winter. It gives me good hopes for the future.” 

Herrada, Teruel survive to Cerro el Amago
There was also big exigence at the fifth stage of the Tour de San Luis, held over 170k from Juana Koslay to La Carolina with the climbs of El Embalse (Cat. 3) and the infamous Cerro el Amago (Cat. 1). Local hero Emmanuel Guevara (SLS) crowned a breakaway that started right at the opening flag with a handful of seconds over team-mate Daniel Díaz, the new race leader, and the rest of the favourites in a GC where youngster Jesús Herrada lost a bit of terrain after his good progression on Thursday’s time trial.

Together with his companion Eloy Teruel -once again the biggest surprise from the men directed by José Luis Jaimerena on Argentinian soil-, the Spaniard finished the stage in the first big pursuit group, just over three minutes behind the leaders. Saturday will bring the mountain showdown with the 157 kilometers between Quines and el Mirador del Sol (Cat. 1) in Merlo, the riders having tackled the Alto de Cantana (Cat. 2) in the first half of the race.