Older of the Izagirre brothers takes 2nd in Amorebieta against Bilbao (CJR), closes in on perfect finish for Movistar Team's strategy; Visconti completes return to competition
Movistar Team finished today again on the verge of success to conclude the biggest week in Basque cycling with revenge in the 60th Klasika Primavera. The Amorebieta classic, held over 171km with three climbs towards Muniketa/Montecalvo, the day’s only climb after the traditional Autzagane was scrapped due to roadworks, saw Gorka Izagirre taking 2nd place. A tight sprint against Pello Bilbao (CJR) took him close to crown a consistent race by the riders directed by Chente García Acosta, who enjoyed the return into racing by Giovanni Visconti.
The Italian worked notably for the telephone squad in the first ascent, pursuing an escape that broke away with 23 riders -including two Blues, Javi Moreno and Enrique Sanz- and later shrunk to nine, with Sanz reaching the summit along with Torres (BUR) in Montecalvo. Through the second one, Gorka Izagirre and Beñat Intxausti tried several attacks which led to a break by the older of the Basque saga, joined by Bilbao (CJR) and Belda (BUR), eventually his rivals. Despite an attack by Alejandro Valverde in the final climb, Gorka and Bilbao ultimately played their cards for victory as Belda was left behind in the descent.
Izagirre tried to anticipate his sprint with a move at 1.5km from the finish, quickly responded by Bilbao. He also launched the sprint at front, but was beaten by a small in the final meters. Behind, brother Ion, Intxausti, José Herrada and Valverde made part of the front group.
REACTION / Gorka Izagirre: “I’m really sad I couldn’t win. I wanted to dedicate it to my friend Urtzi [Gurrutxaga, Tolosa CF player,] who passed away two months back, and had a photo of him on the back of my jersey in case I won, but it wasn’t to be. In the second passage through Muniketa, we three broke away, and at the final climb I tried to push so I could leave them behind, but when I looked back and saw they were still there, I knew they were really strong. Pello and I escaped in the descent and there ws no trouble to cooperate.
I wasn’t really strong in the finale – I know Pello well and knew he was fast. That’s why I tried to attack with 1km remaining, but I saw I couldn’t go by. I launched my sprint maybe a bit too early, it was close, but he won. It was a hard week, and even though I had the racing pace from all these days, I lacked the point where I could make attacks stick. We leave empty-handed after so much work this week, but when you want to win, you have to work, and sometimes you win even when not working, but that’s cycling.”