Tour du Poitou-Charentes (st. 5)
Spanish road champion repeats Ventoso’s first ‘rojigualda’ success in 2012 after 180km breakaway, finishes 2nd overall in Poitou-Charentes
(Brief) Just as it happened with Fran Ventoso in 2012 after the Cantabrian grabbed the Spanish champion’s jersey in Salamanca, Jesús Herrada claimed his first victory in the ‘rojigualda’ bands after a great exhibition of Poitiers, finish of stage five in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes. The Cuenca-based rider from the Movistar Team, who started today’s ride 53 seconds behind GC leader Thomas Voeckler (EUC), jumped away with twelve others riders at 7km, causing insistence from Europcar to keep the break under control: the group didn’t ever get past 2.30 gap, reduced to barely 55 seconds as they entered into a technical final circuit around the Côte de la Rue du Roitelet, with slopes up to 16%.
Into the second passage through the climb, Herrada launched a strong attack only sustained by Vichot (FDJ) and Vorganov (KAT), the duo barely able to keep the Spaniard’s wheel as he powered to a sprint win in front of the French champion. The nine seconds amassed by Herrada as winner of all three intermediate sprints, summed to the sixteen over the first group across the finish, allowed the telephone squad’s rider jumping into the 2nd place of the overall podium, an excellent result for the riders directed by José Luis Jaimerena as the Movistar Team equals the 29 victories achieved in their already brilliant 2012 season.
REACTION / Jesús Herrada: “After my good TT yesterday, I knew the overall was a bit out of reach but not impossible at all. We tried to make things hard from the very beginning, going after all splits before I could make it into thirteen-man group where we found good cooperation. They never let us get more than two-and-a-half minutes over the bunch, but we distributed our energy well throughout the course and I jumped with 8k remaining into a zone of gusty winds – only Vichot and Vorganov could follow me. Since I was the best-placed rider in the GC, they let me full responsibility, and I spent the last 3k pushing alone. I came in first place into the final turn, but they launched the sprint from too far and I could overtake them. I had good legs all day, but didn’t really believe on my chances as I thought I’d be too tired for the sprint.
“The Spanish champion jersey gave me much confidence, and just like Fran last season, I took my first victory with it here. I was really close to getting into the Vuelta selection, but this is a strong squad and it’s hard to ride GT’s – I’ll have plenty of time to know them in the future. Fortunately, we don’t lack races to chase and we’ll try and keep this form up. I’ll be racing in Plouay on Sunday, and Brussels and Fourmies next week before heading into Canada.”