Lobato edged out in Almería
02 March 2014

Clásica de Almería

2nd place for Andalusian sprint in Roquetas after courageous gamble from Blues, controlling the pack and breaking it up into final sidewinds. Ventoso (4th), Rojas (6th) round up team's presence

He already took 2nd in one of the mass sprints in the Dubai Tour, and unfortunately he couldn’t take that thorn off his side today. Juanjo Lobato came close again to a first win in Movistar Team colours in the 29th Clásica de Almería, controlled entirely by the telephone squad over the 178km course between the province’s capital and Roquetas de Mar. Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana were luxury, key domestiques for the three Blue fast men -Lobato himself, as well as Fran Ventoso and José Joaquín Rojas- through the first climbs, against a break that was caught halfway through the race with just two minutes’ maximum advantage.

Movistar Team rode on full steam through the final ascents and later broke the bunch into pieces thanks to sidewinds across the greenhouses in El Ejido. The first echelon of 19 riders included up to five of the squad’s riders -all three sprinters, plus Valverde and Pablo Lastras-, yet they were beaten into the bunch kick by a strong NetApp-Endura, with four units including young Irish specialist Sam Bennett, who grabbed the day’s honours over Lobato (2nd), Ventoso (4th) and Rojas (6th). A close call for most of the block who triumphed yesterday in Murcia.