Movistar Team reduces, puts pressure into bunch at Madrid's Queen stage, sees chances hampered in chaotic finish. Barbero (5th), Prades (9th) into overall podium fight at Sunday's Castellana frantic finale.
Despite their impetus, the Movistar Team wasn’t able to a claim a victory for its sports director Pablo Lastras at Saturday’s race crossing his hometown, San Martín de Valdeiglesias. The 163km stage two of the 2019 Vuelta a Madrid saw a big effort from the Blues, together with MZN, to create a selection inside a field where most sprinters were dropped at the climbs into the first half of the race.
Barely 40 riders got through that test -including six from the Telefónica-backed squad, all bar Jaime Castrillo, who suffered a costly puncture between climbs-, the Movistar Team trying to keep under control a group where attacks rained during the last 15km. The counter-moves from Arcas -strong at the front before the finale, alongside Rafa Valls-, Sepúlveda and Betancur weren’t able to keep the bunch together before a disorganized sprint, where Alex Aranburu (CJR) took victory as Barbero -supported by Prades- had to stay content with 13th place.
The position countback will decide the overall result at Sunday’s Paseo de la Castellana circuit (99km, 19 laps), a clash in which Aranburu (CJR, 1st, 9pt), Romain Hardy (PCB, 2nd, 9pt) and Clément Russo (PCB, 3rd, 9pt) have a strong edge over Jonathan Cañaveral (CBS, 4th, 17pt) and Carlos Barbero, nine places off the podium in 5th spot. Prades, now 9th, has 31 positions as the sum of the two stages ridden so far.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport