Lobato 2nd behind Kittel (GIA) at hardest stage in Dubai Tour after Movistar Team attacking carousel, launchpad for Spaniard's chances
Loyal to their commitment of not going through any race unnoticed, the Movistar Team fought hard to make things right during the lumpiest stage of the 2014 Dubai Tour, 162km from the Emirati capital to Hatta with several hard slopes in the finale, which tested the legs and consistency of the squad directed by Chente García Acosta.
The protecting work by Sanz, Castroviejo and Dowsett all day long emerged with a strong push by the whole team during the approach to a double ascent -with short stretches over 10% gradient- where the last survivor of the day’s early break, Moldova’s Alexandr Pliuschin (SKD) was caught. A later attack by Adriano Malori, followed by a move from Alejandro Valverde, stroung out the group and left only thirty units at the front, with six members of the telephone squad inside.
While Ion Izagirre made another move through the final descent to keep the pace high and cause havoc into the group, his team-mates focused on keeping Juanjo Lobato calm. The Andalusian progressed easily through the field into the final kilometer and sprinted with the top guns side by side, ultimately surrendering to the bigger strength of German Marcel Kittel (GIA).
Valverde, 7th at the finish, and Jesús Herrada, who closed the day’s top ten, completed the Movistar Team’s notable performance, the Blues still with Adriano Malori in eighth overall behind Taylor Phinney (BMC) in the eve of the race’s sprinting showdown on Saturday, on the foot of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, after 122 kilometers entirely ridden on urban roads.