Three races for Movistar Team on Saturday
Movistar Team duo take 8th, 9th respectively in Andalucía TT; Van Garderen (BMC) seizes GC lead. Jesús Herrada (4th) leads courageous group in Haut Var; Rojas, 5th into Algarve's stage four sprint
Movistar Team fought relentlessly against the best teams in the world in all three fronts they tackled on Saturday. At the Vuelta a Andalucía, Alejandro Valverde and Javi Moreno stayed into the first sheet of the GC following a demanding TT – 21km in Alhaurín, with lots of climbing including the 15% Camino del Comendador, plus changing wind conditions – that saw them riding onto 8th and 9th for both the stage and overall, 22” and 24” behind Tejay Van Garderen, new leader as BMC took three of the top seven places. The squad directed by Arrieta and Laguía will have a chance to prove their strong legs and get some places back into the Alto de Peñas Blancas (Cat-1), to be climbed twice after another three gruelling ascents in the 171km route from San Roque.
Tumble for unhurt Dowsett in Algarve
Not far away from their team-mates over at the Ruta del Sol, the Volta ao Algarve roster led by José Luis Jaimerena took all precautions to preserve Ion Izagirre’s third place overall, behind Tony Martin (EQS, -20”) and Geraint Thomas (SKY, -17”), before Sunday’s Alto do Malhao showdown. The bunch sprint in Tavira witnessed José Joaquín Rojas’ best result so far in 2016 with a 5th place behind winner Marcel Kittel (EQS), as calmness for the whole Movistar Team was only briefly disturbed by a crash from Alex Dowsett, who suffered only minor bruises into a pile-up also affecting André Greipel (LTS).
Valiant Visconti in Haut Var; good hopes for tomorrow
In turn, the block directed by Chente García Acosta at the Tour du Haut Var preserved their leader’s positioning and also showed courage in the lumpy run-in towards the finish in Bagnols en Forêt. Giovanni Visconti jumped after the descent of Blavet, the day’s final climb, and went just 1km short to taking the day’s win, chased down by local Anthony Turgis (COF). It was Tom-Jelte Slagter (CPT) who preceeded the fast men to don the first leader’s jersey, while Jesús Herrada crossed the line in a fine 4th as Gorka Izagirre and ‘Visco’ himself took 11th and 12th. Action in southeastern France will come to a close tomorrow with a tough 206km around Draguignan, including five rated climbs and the ascent of Tuillières (15%) just 16 kilometers away from the finish.