Closer to top after nervous day
10 February 2014

Trofeo Ses Salines

8th place for Fran Ventoso at uphill finish in Santanyí after keeping the front into echelons halfway through the stage. Valverde ruled out for Challenge due to mild flu

Contrary to what occurred yesterday in Palma, where he got boxed in and couldn’t even test his legs into the sprint, Fran Ventoso got back into contention on Monday in the Trofeo Ses Salines, second trophy of the 2014 Challenge Ciclista Mallorca over 182km conditioned by intermittent rain -plus the subsequent loss of grip on the roads- and, above all, crosswinds that increased the day’s average speed (above 44 kph) and caused several splits in the field.

A strong pull from OPQS halfway through the day’s course left only thirteen riders in pursuit of the day’s five-man early break, a group that, as well as eight members from the Belgian squad, contained Debusschere (LTB), Albasini (OGE) and three Movistar Team riders: Ventoso himself, Gorka Izagirre and Andrey Amador. The work from numerous squads behind allowed the junction, with Dayer Quintana as the only Blue affected -with no physical injuries- by numerous crashes within mayhem at the bunch.

At the final sprint, Modolo (LAM) beat their rivals as he did yesterday, with Ventoso in an 8th place he’ll try to improve on Wednesday in Port d’Alcúdia. Before that, the most demanding trophy in this year’s Challenge will be held: the Serra de Tramuntana, 153km between Deià and the Monasterio de Lluc, with five categorized climbs. Alejandro Valverde will not be part of the Movistar Team roster for tomorrow, ruled out for any Challenge appearance due to mild flu.

Picture (c): Ciclismo a Fondo