Spanish ITT Championships
Clean sweep for Movistar Team with all six top performers in Ponferrada’s national TT: Valverde -first gold medal-, Izagirre (silver), Castroviejo (bronze), Herrada (4th), Erviti (5th) and Intxausti (6th)
PICTURES | Spanish TT Championship gallery
Even the most optimistic predictions couldn’t forecast Movistar Team’s impressive performance on the Spanish Time Trial Championships held this evening in Ponferrada, over 47 kilometers full of long straights, small climbs and changing winds in and around the capital of the Bierzo in León.
The six riders the telephone squad brought to the Northern province took the six top places in the race, led by a surprising Alejandro Valverde, who claimed his first TT national championship by stopping the clock in 58 minutes straight, 56″ behind silver medalist Ion Izagirre and 1’04” quicker than Jonathan Castroviejo (bronze).
Jesús Herrada (4th), just 2″ behind the former champion; Imanol Erviti, 5th across the line after leading the standings in the first intermediate point; and Beñat Intxausti (6th) completed a day for the particular history of Eusebio Unzué’s teams.
Alejandro Valverde (1st): “I’m surprised by this victory. We can’t forget that Ion does really well on time trials, Castro is a huge specialist and shows it every day, and there were other riders, such as Eloy Teruel, Luis León Sánchez… who had prepared this TT well. I felt really strong at the Route du Sud after two months without racing, and I think those days gave me an extra level of fitness in view of July.
“I found this TT route demanding. All time references I had were pointing out gaps were really short, and when I reached the final climb I was equal to Castro and Izagirre – I knew I could make big gaps in the end and had to keep my best to win, and that’s what I did. At the end of the day, it was a victory for myself, but the most important thing and the one I’m happy about is that we got all six top positions.
“Sunday? We will see. For the time being we’ve got one victory, and the important thing here and there is seeing a Movistar Team rider winning. We’re doing really well, taking victories wherever we go: overall classifications, stage wins… This is just another confirmation of a good streak we’re through.”
Ion Izagirre (2nd): “Things didn’t go well for me in the Tour de Suisse and that always makes you doubtful, but I felt really well today and I’m willing to fight on Sunday. Valverde was unstoppable today – I can only be happy about second place. This year I’m feeling really comfortable on time trials – I feel like I’m taking steps forward, and that makes me confident. For Sunday, the point Valverde suggested is more than true: we saw today that the squad is really strong and we’ll try to keep the jersey on the shoulders of any of us, but let’s not forget that there are other riders, other teams who will make things hard for us, and we must keep focused.”
Jonathan Castroviejo (3rd): “I’m happy with Alejandro’s win – it’s a sign of his good form before the Tour. I started off well, with the aim of contesting the win, but I went through a little down halfway into the course, and later suffered from a stomach cramp in the finale – but we must not think too much about this. We accomplished our goal and now it’s all about Sunday.”