Spaniard leads breathtaking escape in last Challenge trophy; Rojas takes 5th at decimated sprint in Playa de Muro
Ángel Madrazo did not want to lose the chance to show himself strong in his return into competition. The ‘Sparrow’ was one of the biggest protagonists in the Trofeo Alcúdia-Can Picafort-Playa de Muro, the final race of the 2013 Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca over 170km and four categorized climbs in the middle part of the course. After a really fast first hour of racing, with lots of different attacks, the Spaniard went apart with nine other riders into an attempt that reached a 4-minute advantage at the top of the Puigmajor, around 90k from the finish.
The work from the strongest teams into the race ruined the hopes of that group, but Madrazo, accompanied by Dutchman Robert Gesink (BLA), fought his way to the finish with another attack from the foot of the Coll d’Honor, the last climb of the day, which, after being chased down by four members of the original break, was repeated with just over 15k to go, eventually finding no success. The riders from Movistar Team went afterwards for the sprint, pulling at the front and profiting from sidewinds to take only 25 riders into the final sprint.
The big work by Dowsett, Valverde and Amador for José Joaquín Rojas -who suffered a crash with no consequences during the downhill of the Coll d’Honor- found no chance at the final sprint, with the Murcian taking 5th behind winner Leigh Howard (OGE). Still, the excellent performances by the telephone squad in the four days of racing in Majorca -with exhibitions in the mountain trophies, the 3rd place by Rojas at Ses Salines and the brilliant victory by Valverde at Lluc on Tuesday- gives moral to the Spanish roster en route to their next competitions: the Volta ao Algarve (14-17), the Tour du Haut Var (16-17) and the Vuelta a Andalucía (17-20).