Colombian takes well-timed attack to fruition against Fabricio Ferrari (CJR) in Pola de Lena's slightly uphill finish, brings Movistar Team back to fore after Acebo misfortune. Soler shines into early breaks as Dani Moreno takes 4th; crash for José Herrada, no major injuries
The Movistar Team bounced back from their lack of fortune yesterday in the Vuelta a Asturias' queen stage, and it did in the best of possible ways: winning. The telephone squad wasn't the strongest in numbers in the finale of day two towards Pola de Lena, but they had a strong weapon: the intelligence and strategic nose of Carlos Betancur, who day by day looks closer to become the biggest revelation for the Blues in 2016. Present, together with Dani Moreno (4th), into the 20-man split formed up after the decisive climb of Carabanzo (Cat-3), the man from Ciudad Bolívar in Antioquia attacked with few kilometers to go, together with Ferrari (CJR) and Vdovin (LOK), and bested the Uruguayan into the uphill sprint. All of that, after a show of courage from the whole squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena.
Numerous attacks in the early phase included ever-valiant Marc Soler -winner of the Combativity prize today- and Imanol Erviti in a fast, opening two hours of racing. Caja Rural went on to control the situation for their GC leader, Hugh Carthy, who chased down himself a move from Dani Moreno in the last ascent. Well before, at the descent of the Cat-3 Alto de Fuejo, José Herrada sustained a crash that forced him to abandon and be transferred to a hospital nearby. Checkups on the Cuenca-based rider ruled out any fractures or muscular injuries, though a wound in his eyebrow required three stitches and the blows all over his left-hand side were considerable.
The 'Vueltina' will come to a close tomorrow in Oviedo, after a short (121.5km), nervous ride from Bueño that will include the narrow, steep, twisty Alto del Violeo (Cat-2), just 7k from the end.
Carlos Betancur: “It's a really important victory, as well for me as for the whole team. Finding myself so well again today and confirming that neither Castilla y León nor the Ardennes were a one-off is a clear sign that we're on the right path. I think we did a great race today, from the very start; many circumstances made us perform not to well on Saturday, but even though we were conscious that we had lost a big chance, we also knew that there were two left – the race wasn't over, nor it is right know.
"When that escape was built into the last climb, 'Jaime' (DS) told me that the Caja Rural guy was a big stronger for the finish than the others, a fast finisher. I decided to anticipate his move into a short slope just before the finish, and jumped away with all that I had got; fortunately, it went well. This victory is dedicated to all mums on Mother's Day, and also to my team. This is a group that has trusted in me and supports me all the way – I feel so happy here. Being part of the best squad in the world means you've got to do things right, and that's what I'm trying to do right now.
"All decided before tomorrow? I don't think so. Surely Hugh Carthy and Caja Rural will be strong again tomorrow, but the Movistar Team will try to shake things up on that final stage."
Picture ©: Photo Gomez Sport / Luis Ángel Gómez