Sensational Vicente Hernaiz in a demanding stage queen at Zamora, from which he leaves leading the mountain
37ª Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora
Stage 3: Mombuey-Aciberos (140 km)
The mountain of Sanabria offered this Thursday a very demanding day of cycling after which the Vuelta a Zamora changed its tenant in the first place. The Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team U23 was one of the great animators of the day through, especially, Vicente Hernaiz. The pucelanian and his companion David Martin were integrated in the early and numerous breakaway, eighteen units, which led the development of the race with an income of up to ten minutes of margin; an escape from which the great protagonists of the stage started. The Navarrese Josu Etxeberria (Caja Rural) attacked in the last pass by the Marabón, left behind Hernaiz and Eugenio Sánchez (Lizarte), left alone, scored the victory and reached the leadership of the race.
The chained Ladiairo-Marabón, uncomfortable roads of rough asphalt, many areas of great slope and areas of double digits through which they had to pass twice, was the hot zone of this stage queen. Vicente Hernaiz, Eugenio Sánchez, Josu Etxeberria and Edwin Torres left on the first ascent to Ladiario while a series of accelerations, regroupings and selections followed in different groups. The head of the race, reduced to a trio due to a fault of Torres, headed the stage with several minutes of margin on a main group in which Edu Pérez-Landaluce passed to the attack at 50 km from the end or Arturo Grávalos passed some difficulty, lame after suffering a fall. At that moment the main group was still more than six minutes away from the head of the race.
Hernaiz, Etxeberria and Sánchez, with a good collaboration and a lot of strength on the slopes, consolidated their advantage. The Pucelanian crowned in first place both Ladiairo, twice, and Marabón, adding some points that catapulted him to the leadership of the general of the mountain. It was the second ascent to Marabón that definitely broke the race also in its vanguard. There he attacked Etxeberria and left alone, while Hernaiz suffered and the development of the race left a very reduced peloton, barely a dozen members, less than four minutes away and with several runners interspersed. A race, in short, totally broken. Mario Vilches was one of the protagonists in selecting the rear group.
Facing the last climb, Etxeberria was running with a minute and a half over its most immediate pursuers and more than three and a half minutes over a pack where Mario Vilches and Vicente Hernaiz were. The final ascent to Aciberos brought about a small revolution with numerous attacks with the arrival of a small group of eight cyclists, well classified in the general classification, at the back of the pack, with about two kilometres to go. At the finish line Mario Vilches would be the first classified among the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team riders, 14th at 1:55 from the winner. The rider from Jaén is in eleventh place in the provisional general classification, 1:39 from the leader. “It was a pretty tough stage. Maybe at the beginning it was a bit harder, but as I got to the end I felt better and better. At the last hard pass I attacked and went off alone, but I stayed in no-man’s land and was caught from behind. Only Moreira and I were shooting and in the end we managed to catch part of the break”.
Vicente Hernaiz, one of the main character of the day: “The original idea we had was to try and catch the break in order to be able to help Mario later on or even wait for him to arrive, which we did. Little by little, people were staying and on the first demanding climb Josu, Eugenio and I were left in the lead. The general of the mountain was something that I found without wanting to, I was not going for it, rather it was a coincidence. The idea was to fight for the stage and that work was intended to release the escapees, because some seemed to be able to go more fairly. I had a great time on the first lap of the hard section, as well as on the second, but the final part of the stage was a bit too much for me. With 3 kilometres to go, I exploded. The last pass through Marabón was made by Mario and me very close and from then on I gave what I had left to get closer to him and Edu Pérez-Landaluce, who arrived later”.
“At the beginning of the race, there was a breakaway that took more than ten minutes. From behind it was not until the hard circuit where it started to put the thing would be. In the main group we were Mario and me. I tried to help out with everything the legs were leaving. For tomorrow we will try as always to play our tricks and give everything, because today this lap was not finished”, analyses the stage Edu Pérez-Landaluce, the second Kometa-Xstra in the finish line (21st, 2:25).
The Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora concludes this Friday with a not very easy stage with a slope finish and several mountain passes between Mahide and Viñas. A route that will take advantage of the geography of the region of Tierras de Aliste and in which to the orographic difficulty they add so much the quality of some asphalts of which they take a lot as the real possibility that the wind also can do of his in some moment of the competition. A stage, in short, nothing simple.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
📸 Álvaro García / El Pelotón