The misfortunes prior to passing through Elgeta sever the options in the hardness of Ixua
48th Valenciaga Memorial
Eibar-Eibar (167.5 km)
A puncture at the worst moment and a double change of bike linked to the cast began to disrupt the plans of the Kometa Cycling Team in the long-awaited Memorial Valenciaga. The Colombian Jhon Stiven Ramírez had a puncture in the ascent of Elgeta, with more than 60 kilometres to cover, and the mechanical incident ended up conditioning the decisive phase of the race for the interests of the Madrid formation. Ramírez, one of the mainstays of the climb, took a long time to re-enter the pack of chosen riders and in order to make this return the team had to take down two riders, Arturo Grávalos and Alessandro Fancellu, who worked hard to make the reintroduction a reality.
As predicted in Ixua, five kilometers of great demand with three of them with average slopes close to 10% and ramps of 13%, the race was broken. Ramírez paid for the efforts of the previous kilometres and neither Alejandro Ropero nor Carlos García were able to cover the gaps in a head of the race that was dynamited between the Lizarte and Caja Rural teams. Nine riders would end up standing out in the following kilometres, with a few tens of seconds over another group in which the Granadino Ropero was riding.
After an attack two kilometres from the end, the txapela of Valenciaga went to the head of Lizarte´s Íñigo Elósegui, Spanish champion of the category and winner in Éibar alone. Ropero would end up entering the finish line in sixteenth position, 1:27 from the winner. And to a minute of Roger Adria, third this Sunday and more leader of the Cup of Spain. “It has been a very hard race and also rare. We were unlucky with Jhon’s puncture and the climb to Ixua really choked me. It’s time to go on,” says Ropero.
Until that puncture, the team’s performance was interesting and hopeful, with a lot of presence on the road until then. The Galician Alejandro Regueiro and the Riojan Arturo Grávalos were responsible for giving presence to the team in the different movements that were providing the mountain passes. In this sense Grávalos would crown second Meagas and Azkarate, while Regueiro would be one of the eight riders who, starting from a group of twenty units, stood out in the climb to Elgeta, before the decisive moment.
“Yes, we’ve been very active first, looking for the good cuts that were made and scoring for the mountain,” explains Arturo Grávalos. “Then Fancellu and I waited for Jhon Stiven, who had a puncture right at the start of Elgeta. We managed to put him in front again, not without effort. When I passed through Bergara I started to feel sick to my stomach and I was able to go on ahead”.
Rafa Diaz Justo, director: “We have been very involved in the race all day. Jhon’s mechanical problem turned out to be quite serious and we were weighed down for the rest of the race. In Ixua he paid for the efforts of that hunt and we lost two riders who had been working for him. Carlos didn’t find the point and Alejandro fought as far as he could in a very hard climb, which has done a lot of sifting”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)