Circuito de Getxo / Pologne (st. 3)
Top Movistar teamwork helps young Spaniard take his fourth 2017 win; Blues up to 30 in the season for the fifth consecutive year
Under insistent rain which made the race even harder, Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team) got back to winning ways and improved his already solid 2017 palmarès with a second career victory in the Circuito de Getxo, whose 72nd edition covered the classic, 10-lap, 170km circuit around the 'wall' of Arkotxa, next to the coast of Biscay in the Basque Country.
The Blues' work over the whole morning was flawless. Carretero, Arcas and Carapaz made it into an original, 13-man breakaway which ended up becoming the decisive group, the wear and tear of the race and the huge pace behind creating a group of 40 riders with all eight Movistar Team members. From that moment on, the squad directed by Pablo Lastras set its sights on protecting their leader.
Despite a strong attempt in the finale by Lluis Mas (CJR) and Daniel Díaz (DMP), the Movistar Team drove the selected bunch at high speed through the final lap and led Barbero out for the win, two seconds ahead of Ángel Madrazo (DMP, 2nd) and four over José Herrada, who took 3rd and repeated his result from 2016. This win also means that Eusebio Unzué's team has got 30+ wins for five years on a row, their current streak from 2013 being 32-34-32-36.
Carlos Barbero: "There was a break in the beginning, which we kept under control with Héctor, Arcas and Carapaz, and then the bunch split into one of the early laps. We were lucky enough to be all of us inside that pursuit group, so we chose to keep pushing, catch the break and carry on until the finish. My team-mates kept everything under control to avoid the race becoming as crazy as it was last season. Our main goal was reaching the sprint together. Everyone did a phenomenal job and I want to thank them for that. The team had a very clear idea in mind about racing for me, they relied on what I could do and fortunately I could deliver. At the finish Madrazo launched an early acceleration, I just followed his wheel and sought for my sprinting distance to finish things off.
"I've spent the whole month of July in Sierra Nevada, training in altitude to reach my late-season goals in good shape, especially the Vuelta a Burgos from tomorrow. It's my home race, one that I really like, and riding on known roads and with your close ones near you is a huge boost. Let's see what the team chooses for me up next – whatever it is, I'll do my best.
"I want to dedicate this victory to Alejandro Valverde. We really miss him a lot. Let's hope he's back soon. He's a reference for the whole team and his absence is a huge blow for all of us."
Pologne: Izagirre 13th at uphill finish in Szczyrk
Over at their second competition of the day, on the first mountainous stage of the Tour de Pologne, Gorka Izagirre took 13th place at the grueling finishing climb -900m at 13% average gradient- in Szczyrk. The Basque allrounder came 15" after Dylan Teuns (BMC), who timed his efforts to perfection to beat World champion Peter Sagan (BOH) as the Slovak returned to the GC lead.
The Movistar Team, which kept four riders -including Colombians Winner Anacona and Dayer Quintana- into the favourites' group until the penultimate climb to Salmopol, ended up bringing Gorka and Nelson Oliveira (20th today, 38" down) into the foot of the last ascent as part of the 30-man GC group. Both Izagirre and Nelson remain within the top-10 overall, a place they should be able to conserve at Tuesday's marathon, flat stage (231km) from Zawiercie to Zabrze. It will be the last day for the sprinters, before Lany's climb near Rzeszów (Wed) and the Tatr mountains (Thu, Fri) decide the final outcome.
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport / Luis Ángel Gómez