Vuelta a Asturias (st. 1) / Romandie (st. 3)
Ecuadorian from Movistar Team takes 5th place in Pola de Lena; stays with GC contenders at decisive Carabanzo climb, along with Rubén Fernández (+9″).
Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) started to show his good fitness level leading up to the Giro d’Italia with a very decent performance within the GC contenders on stage one of the Vuelta a Asturias -177km from Oviedo to Pola de Lena, featuring six Cat-3 climbs-.
The Ecuadorian, well supported by the rest of the Blues before the foot of the last of three climbs to the Alto de Carabanzo (Cat-3), was able to follow, together with Rubén Fernández, the numerous moves into a short (2km), steep (9%) climb where only twenty riders coped with the pace. Richard even dared to launch the final sprint, later being relegated by the fastest guys to 5th into a tight finish, where Russian Dmitrii Strakhov (LOK) pipped Jonathan Caicedo (MED), who was already rising his arms victorious.
The close gaps -Rubén barely conceded 9” into a second echelon, with Antonio Pedrero just 15″ behind- at the finish should make for a very exciting Queen stage on Saturday, finishing atop the Alto del Acebo (Cat-1) after four other categorized ascents in 166km, rain likely to become another protagonist of the race.
Romandía: Sepúlveda building up form before Giro
In turn, the demanding, crucial mountain TT in the Tour de Romandie -10km of really steady slopes from Ollon to Villars- saw Eduardo Sepúlveda finishing as top Movistar Team performer in the day, 2’24” behind day’s winner Egan Bernal (SKY), as Primoz Roglic (TLJ) consolidated his GC lead with a strong 2nd place. ‘Edu’ showed again at the Swiss race he’s on the right track before the 2018 Giro d’Italia, a race he was confirmed for -just like Carapaz and Fernández- as one of eight Movistar Team participants. Saturday will see riders take on the decisive stage of this year’s race, with 149km and five rated ascents in and around Sion.
Picture 1-2 (c): Photo Gomez Sport