Vicente Hernaiz, from Valladolid, third place in the overall final of the Spanish Cup
Memorial Valenciaga 2020
Eibar / Plaza Unzaga – Santuario de Arrate (153 km)
The Valladolid rider Vicente Hernaiz finally finished third overall in the 2020 Spanish Cup after finishing in tenth position this Sunday in an atypical edition of the Memorial Valenciaga which ended next to the Arrate Sanctuary and closed the competition with five races held. Hernaiz, who started the day as second overall, one point behind his teammate David Martín, ended up one point behind the final leader in the under 23 category, where he finished second behind the Catalan Jordi López (Lizarte).
The great race of the amateur scene, with a different route in order to manage the threat of COVID-19 infections, a route with fewer kilometres than usual but also greater harshness, ended up crowning Jon Barrenetxea (Baqué). The Biscayan had formed a trio with Xabier Mikel Azparren (Laboral Kutxa) and Xabier Isasa (Tenerife-Bike Point) as they passed through San Miguel, a trio that gained a minute’s lead over a group with few riders after a first pass through Ixua that left four riders from the Contador Foundation’s under 23 team in the lead. Among them, hampered by an untimely breakdown, was not Álex Martín. The leader David Martín, after a day emptying himself for his teammates as has happened so many times this season, assisted the Catalan to try and get him back in the lead.
The work of the Gomur team brought the group closer together long before the start of the final climb. On the ascent to Arrate, Barrenetxea and Pelayo Sánchez (Gomur), who came from behind, would end up leading the race, while Miguel Ángel Ballesteros (Caja Rural) from Murcia and Abner González (Telco’m) from Puerto Rico would catch up with them in the final stages, where the Basque rider stood out to win by a second margin. Vicente Hernaiz, for his part, came in at 35 seconds. Edu Pérez-Landaluce, 14th, finished at 38 seconds. Arturo Grávalos, 22nd, at 1:15.
Vicente Hernaiz finished the tournament with 259 points, compared to 260 for López: “I have had good sensations in the two climbs prior to Arrate, the first one through Ixua and the climb to San Miguel. Already in the final climb, with the race very much underway, the Caja Rural has set the pace. Initially I was able to follow Miguel Ángel, but they ended up letting me go. I kept up with my pace, because Jordi was not coming at the time, trying to keep the gap. He ended up catching us about 500 metres from the top. I tried to launch myself as we crowned and also in the last curve, always complicated, but I caught the wheel well, and already in the final straight I threw myself with what I had left”.
David Martín finished fourth overall in the Cup, with 215 points, while Álex Martín was in ninth place, with 127. By teams, the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team under 23 finished second, with 207 points; six points behind Caja Rural.
For the second consecutive year the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team is represented on the final podium of the Cup. Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the U23 team, pointed out: “We were aware of the difficulty of retaining the lead with David, because this route was not adapted to his characteristics as a rider, and we knew how complicated it was going to be for Vicente, who is a good climber but one point behind other riders who were aspiring to the title. The team, beyond occasional breakdowns at important moments which have reduced our potential as a block for the last climb, has once again been exceptional, protecting Vicente at all times. In the end the Cup has been decided in the last climb. And even the hardest part of the team has been in the fight”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)