Exhibition, victory and provisional leadership for Álex Martín in the Volta a Valencia
X Volta a la Provincia de Valencia
Stage 1: Valencia – Yátova (129,3 km)
The Catalan Álex Martín took over the provisional leadership of the Volta a la Provincia de Valencia after winning, on his own, in a first stage of great difficulty due to the demands and difficulties of a circuit in which, with the rise and descent of Río Juanes in between, the riders had to complete five laps. Martín took 40 kilometres to the finish. An ambitious, distant bet, on the line he tried out a few days ago in the second stage of the Vuelta a Cantabria. If then it was on the climb to La Bien Aparecida, this time he went downhill, on a technical descent.
Martín’s definitive move came from the group of ten riders who had been at the forefront of the race during the third of the five laps of the circuit around Yátova. A group which also included his team-mate Mario Vilches, who had taken over the lead in the race after the adventure led by Colombia’s Kevin Brito (Colnago-CM) and France’s Clement Delcros (Aix en Provence).
Martin, in his offensive bet, managed to get a mattress close to the minute on a first platoon from which, once the nine remaining cyclists were caught, some units would jump periodically. Confusing moments, even as far as references are concerned. At some point, interspersed between Martin and the group, a quintet rolled in, including the Italian Alessio Acco.
The Catalan defended himself well against the reaction of the main group and faced the last five kilometres with about 40 seconds advantage over a very small group from which several cyclists started. Martín finally won with a 9 second margin over the Uruguayan Mauricio Moreira (Rías Baixas), 17 over Josué Gómez and 22 over that first chasing pack which included Fernando Tercero, Alessio Acco, Mario Vilches, Yago Segovia. Martín also leads the regularity classification and the best U23 classification, while the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team provisionally leads by team.
Álex Martín, on his first victory of the season: “A group of ten riders had just left with Mario, just as he passed the finish line and with three laps to go. We weren’t keeping a very good pace and at one point they were singing fourteen seconds ahead of us with the pack. So I started off by going down and fortunately I was able to get there alone. I was feeling very good on the way up and on the way down I was going flat out. Nor was it a circuit to cut out many differences. In the descent, you could even take some time off. I was also very concentrated to give 100% trying to think that I could make it. If not, I could always have taken a group with the race very selected”.
Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team: “A very fast race with a final circuit with a world championship format. The climb was hard, but the descent was probably even harder. Alex and Mario fed a quintet that would reach the head of the race, then two riders. In a descent Alex pulled down. He took a little bit of a gap and so on to the finish line. The group has been catching everyone from behind, except him. Now it’s time to save the lead in this Friday’s time trial. It’s going to be difficult, because it’s too long a time trial for a climber. But we’ll try to do our best and see what happens”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)