5th place for Ion Izaguirre and best Andalusian rider Javier Moreno
Granada, February 15th – Ion Izaguirre took 5th place, Javier Moreno was awarded as the best Andalusian rider; Ondrej Cink and Ivan Garcia showed great mountain performance and the whole team was working together like one.
The race started with optimal weather conditions, with a N/NW wind of 15 km/h, flat first 20 km by the coast with lots of roundabouts. Immediately after achieving the mountains and mountain ranges at 35th km, a group of 6 and soon 7 riders went for a breakaway up to 4,5 minutes, which was also today’s biggest gap.
After the first climb at El Navazo (56,5 km, 1.088 m/asl, Cat-3), the gap started to get smaller and smaller, up to the highest peak of the stage Monachil El Purché (136.1 km, 1.410 m/asl, Cat-1). This climb was decisive for the upfront riders – the peloton caught them. At the same time Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador broke away from the group, just a few seconds before Ion Izaguirre with a great support of his team-mate Javier Moreno. Just before the last climb Mikel Landa took the leading position. This Spanish quartet gave us a great performance right to the peak of the climb, at 1.4010 m/asl.
In a breakeven fight Valverde, Contador and Izaguirre passed the highest peak, followed by a really interesting and fast downhill of 18 km, heading to Granada for the last 18 km.
Valverde took the lead on the downhill, before Alberto Contador, Ion Izaguirre and Diego Rosa. Wout Poels and Sebastien Reichenbach joined the upfront riders just by the entrance of the City of Granada, one kilometer before the finish.
Ion Izaguirre, expressed his happiness with a big smile: “It was an extraordinary and great race all the way to the finish, with Valverde, who took the best position for the sprint, a little ahead of us. I would really like to thank everyone on my team who helped me and Javier throughout the whole race and worked really, really hard for us and our team. I am glad that we are runner-ups in the team classification and it definitely gives us strong motivation for tomorrow and for all the stages of Ruta de Andalusia.”
Javier Moreno said that he is happy with the outcome of the race and that he feels that he is getting better with each race. He is also very thankful for the team effort and is very glad that the younger team-mates were so mature and excellent in all the responsibilities they got before the race.
Team director Harald Morscher said after the race that he is proud and happy that the team has three highly classified riders and is 2nd in the teams classification. “Let me congratulate Ion and Javier, but also Ondrej Cink, who proved how good he is and how fast he adapted from the MTB to the road cycling. This gives us prove that we can trust in him even more. Ivan Garcia was really fighting today for the whole team, Yukiya, Antonio, Domen too. I would like to congratulate everyone for the great teamwork and for carrying out our strategy exactly as we agreed before the race. That is how we see Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team.”
Vladimir Miholjević, team director expressed that this mix of experience and youth gives us a right to believe in a successful future of this team: “They all contributed to today’s success and great performance. It was a beautiful and exciting race. Now we are even more motivated for the other stages of Ruta da Sol 2017.”
(All pictures attached can be used for editorial and non commercial usages only and are copyright protected – © Team Bahrain-Merida/ @BettiniPhoto)
Results of the 1st stage:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 4:02:28
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
3. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
4. Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
5. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
13. Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
14. Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida
74. Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
89. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
90. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida
102. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida