Critérium du Dauphiné (st. 2)
Brilliant breakaway by the Spaniard -2nd, just behind Voeckler (EUC)- at fast stage six in Dauphiné, prelude of two-day mountainous showdown in the weekend
More than two months with an extraordinary fitness level that came close to a deserved prized on Friday. José Herrada was only one step short to a big joy for the Movistar Team on stage six of the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné, a 143-kilometer course from La Léchère to Grenoble expected to be calm, but ultimately turning into a flurry of attacks as the fast pace from the start -50.4km in the first hour of racing- made the bunch break into pieces in the four categorized climbs of the day.
One of the moves, started at the Cat-1 Col du Barioz, the day’s hardest, features the Spaniard along with seven other riders. The attempt reached almost three minutes of advantage over the bunch, led by OPQS and Sky and menacing the escape’s chances to succeed. It would be Herrada himself who splitted the group with 30k to go, bringing Thomas Voeckler (EUC) and Astana’s Egor Silin and Kevin Seeldraeyers with him. Despite their slender margin, always around one minute, the force from the four attackers allowed them reaching the long finishing straight with time enough to contest their chances. Herrada kept his mind cold in the finale and waited for the sprint, with only Voeckler able to beat him to end up in 2nd place.
5th in Amorebieta after one of the most combative performances in the Vuelta al País Vasco and 24th overall in the recent Giro d’Italia, the man hailing from Mota del Cuervo near Cuenca will most likely be one of Alejandro Valverde’s best helpers in the two mountain stages still left in this year’s Dauphiné. The first one comes tomorrow, with 187km including the mythical Alpe d’Huez (HC), Sarenne (Cat-2), Omon (Cat-1), Noyer (Cat-2) and the hilltop finish in Superdévoluy (Cat-3).