Vuelta a Asturias (finale)
Ecuadorian climber – supported solidly by his four Movistar team-mates – secures second consecutive overall victory in Spain before heading to the Giro d’Italia.
Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) secured on Sunday his victory in the 62nd edition of the Vuelta a Asturias, which finished, just like in past years, with a fast-paced, hilly 119km stage three from Cangas del Narcea to Oviedo, climbing the tough Alto del Violeo (Cat-2) a dozen kilometers from the end.
The Telefónica-backed squad –down to five today with a minor injury for Mikel Landa– defended the Ecuadorian’s coveted position with great order all stage long. Héctor Carretero and Lluís Mas led, together with MZN, the bunch in pursuit of the initial break of six riders, while Antonio Pedrero, author of a great final climb to the Violeo, kept all moves under control and led Carapaz out towards the summit. Richard’s two-minute gap on his nearest GC rivals helped the two Blues face the final descent less stressfully, with José Joaquín Rojas able to bridge back to the peloton and contest the group’s sprint -4th, four seconds behind stage winner Edgar Pinto (W52)-.
Carapaz, 12th over the line, thus had no troubles to defend his second consecutive overall victory in Spain, confirming his great legs before the Giro d’Italia (May 11th – June 2nd), the Movistar Team to be confirmed in the upcoming days.
REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“I’m so happy with this second overall victory in Asturias. Here’s where I notched up my first overall success in a pro stagerace last year, so claiming back-to-back victories makes me proud and, above all, confident for what’s to come this May in the Giro. It was quite a fast stage today, where the key was keeping the breaks under control, not having too many riders or too big of a gap ahead, remain focused and just reach the Violeo climb in a comfortable situation.
“It was a very, very strong three days’ work from my team-mates, the whole squad really. Ever since Friday’s stage, with Lluís and Héctor keeping the bunch together, and the three of us getting through the climb before I took third place; then on Saturday, we always set the pace we wanted up until the foot of the Acebo, where ‘Rojillas’, Antonio and finally Mikel tore the bunch apart. Without them, it wouldn’t have seemed so easy – it really wasn’t – nor we would have got victories like yesterday’s double, with such a beautiful picture for Mikel and myself. It was great to dedicate that to the team and also celebrate in Oviedo today.
“Regarding the Giro – well’, we’re in the position we wanted, with good confidence, good legs, willing to do our best, work hard for the team, make my countrymen happy, make our fans proud. For the time being, let’s enjoy this victory for a bit before moving on and heading to Italy.”
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport