Scant consolation

On today’s stage, another hot one, 157.3km from Marbella to Malaga, I was willing one of the original 7-man breakaway to the finish line. But sometimes even our combined wills just aren’t enough.

Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia) having accelerated away from his breakaway companions on the big climb of the day, the Puerto del Leon, looked to have enough in hand over the peloton to win the stage, the leader’s jersey and the mountain’s classification. A holy trinity which would surely have ignited his career. Unfortunately, the peloton had other ideas and he was caught just under the flamme rouge.

The final ascent was reminiscent of the Cauberg and sure enough here was the winner of this year’s Amstel Gold, Philippe Gilbert, accelerating away from Vicenzo Nibali and Joaquin Rodriguez to cross the line in an imperious fashion. The stage and the leader’s jersey for Philippe and precious GC seconds for Rodriguez who finished ahead of Igor Anton. Serafin hung onto the mountain’s classification jersey.

Philippe looked mighty powerful today. He will be one to watch in Geelong where he now won’t have to share leadership of the Belgian team with Tom Boonen who, thanks to slower than anticipated recovery from knee surgery, will be watching events unfold from his armchair in Monaco. 

So how did my “men to watch” do today? Sadly, Ben Swift, and team mate John-Lee Augustyn, have gone down and out with a stomach bug. However Arthur Vichot, a viral superstar with a huge fan base in Australia, finished 10th on the stage.

3 thoughts on “Scant consolation

  1. Heart-breaking for Martinez, who would have recorded a glorious maiden pro win if he had been able to hang on, but he cracked at the end and the pace at which Gilbert et al shot past him was very impressive.

    With hindsight, I should have had a crafty bet on Gilbert. He’s been in great form this year, and the similarity to the Cauberg would have been obvious if I’d bothered to check the stage profile more carefully. Oh well. If wishes were horses etc.

    Today’s stage looks quite similar – another nasty kick-up at the end for the riders to contend with. It’s already shaping up to be a fascinating race, isn’t it?

    My stage report is finally up – too tired to type anything last night after a big day out!

    Like

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