David Martín and Vicente Hernaiz defend their options in a Valenciaga for climbers
49º Memorial Valenciaga
October 11th: Eibar-Santuario de Arrate (153 km)
The 2020 season will be difficult to forget because of the influence of the coronavirus pandemic on its normal development. A campaign marked by the three-month technical stoppage resulting from the confinement and by the slow return of the competitions from July, with a more optimistic forecast of tests, also cut short from the original, which in the end could not be carried out in full. The Spanish Cup has not been able to remain on the sidelines in this situation and finally, after the recent suspension of the Gran Premio Macario, it will close this Sunday in an atypical Memorial Valenciaga where David Martín arrives as leader and Vicente Hernaiz as second place in the provisional general classification.
The iconic race in Eibar, an absolute reference point within the amateur scene, a traditional meeting point for technicians and scouts, will radically change the end of its course to move the finish line from the streets of the ‘Ciudad Armera’, a mecca of the peninsular cycling industry, to the surroundings of the Sanctuary of Arrate. That is, a Memorial Valenciaga with a practically high finish. The ascent to the Alto de Usartza, which is demanding with its six kilometres at almost 7% and three kilometres above 9%, is followed by a two kilometre stretch in favour. Initially, the Valenciaga was the second event in an intense weekend in the Basque Country, but finally the Aitzondo Klasika, scheduled for Saturday, was also cancelled.
The Andalusian David Martín, leader of the competition with 215 points, and the Pucelan Vicente Hernaiz, second with 214, will lead a Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team U23 in Eibar. However, he will not go with the priority objective of defending the red and yellow jersey given the demand and the hardness of this edition, previously hardened by the Altos de Itziar, Aia, Ixua and San Miguel, much more focused on riders of another profile. The objective of fighting for the victory in the fifth and last appointment of this Cup of Spain. Arturo Grávalos from La Rioja, Álex Martín from Catalonia, Mario Vilches from Andalusia and Yago Segovia and Edu Pérez-Landaluce from Asturias complete the ‘seven’ in which the Contador Foundation’s under 23 team is competing.
Mathematically, from an aseptic perspective and counting different race situations, up to fifteen riders still have a chance of winning the overall Spanish Cup if they manage to win in Arrate. It is true that in many cases it depends on certain race situations and the points scored by other better classified cyclists, but this is how this atypical edition of the tournament comes to its final date. For the Kometa-Xstra, in addition to the privileged positions of Martín and Hernaiz, Álex Martín is in seventh place provisionally with 127 points. In terms of teams, the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team remains in the lead with a six-point margin, 171 compared to 165, over the Lizarte and eight over the Caja Rural.
“In Torredonjimeno I would have liked to be ahead and score some points, but we were also aware that there were several teams with many interests to harden and select the race in the hardest area. The fact that I saved this jersey and had the opportunity to wear it in the final race is a source of pride that gives me extra motivation for the Valenciaga. It is not the race that best suits my characteristics, but I will give everything until I can not more. And if things don’t go well, then I’ll give my colleagues a hand. Just because I’m wearing this jersey doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t help my team-mates to do well in this very important race”, says David Martín.
“Everything can happen, nothing is decided until the last finish line, but we also have to be realistic and take into account the performance of some of the rivals in a field like the one proposed this year by Valenciaga. We are not going to give up fighting for the final victory in the Cup, of course, but without losing sight of the situation the main objective is going to be to start fighting for victory in an event of such prestige as the Valenciaga Memorial,” said the director Rafa Díaz Justo.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)