2020 Spanish Championships
Albert Torres into early, solo break for Movistar Team as Sergio Samitier (16th), Jorge Arcas join moves prior to final lap; Luis León Sánchez (AST) claims well-deserved first title at tough Úbeda / Baeza course.
/ Today’s route
A day for the most resilient in the bunch, with no respite. The 185km course of the men’s Spanish road race championships in Úbeda / Baeza contained more than 3,100 meters of vertical gain plus five demanding climbs in its final circuit. A dangerous finish, with a cobbled descent and some tight turns, would dictate the heir to Alejandro Valverde’s throne.
/ Weather report
A bit warmer than on Saturday, with 24ºC at the start in Úbeda and around 33ºC at the finish, always with clear skies and no perceptible wind. An even more demanding effort for all riders.
/ Keys to the race
- After 25km, Albert Torres joined the morning break, a nine-man attempt with Madrazo (BBH), Cañellas (CJR) or López (EUS) amongst many others and kept under tight control by Kern Pharma, which did not feature in the group. As he saw that attempt wasn’t let go too far, Torres split the group and went solo, a courageous move which gave him a two-minute advantage and was caught with less than 60km remaining.
- Torres’s baton was taken by two young Aragón riders: Jorge Arcas and Sergio Samitier, quite active into the moves of a race with no big teams keeping it under control. It was a remarkable effort from Samitier, who was back to racing today after six months from his last appearance at the UAE Tour, a crash before the restart of the season and a subsequent skin infection preventing him from debuting until the Nationals. The Barbastro native even created the final selection at the last climb of Mazuecos, as a dangerous duo with Vicente García de Mateos (AVL) and Fernando Barceló (COF) held a 20″ gap with 4km to go.
- Samitier’s final move took Jesús Herrada (COF) to the front, with a gap only bridged back by an impressive Luis León Sánchez (AST). The Murcian caught the leader to claim his long-awaited first national road title, while Herrada, who suffered a mechanical as he left the cobbled section prior to the finish, was left out of a top-ten result which Samitier, 16th, sought for until the end. The podium was completed by Astana’s Gorka Izagirre (2nd) and García de Mateos (3rd).
/ Upcoming goals
The seven Movistar Team riders present at today’s Nationals will be covering the alternate calendar to the Tour de France, which starts with Tuesday’s Bretagne Classic in Plouay. Some of them, such as Samitier, will also feature at the European Championships’ road race, also held in Brittany, on Thursday 26th.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport