Active riding in Spain
Active riding in Spain
At the Vuelta a España, TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA lost its designated captain for the overall standings due to a big pile-up in the 2nd stage. But the riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green showed a courageous reaction. Throughout the first ten days they made it into escape group again and again, and they also racked up three top5 results.
TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA came to the Vuelta a España with Przemyslaw Niemiec as the team’s designated leader, Rubén Plaze, Nelson Oliveira and Kristijan Durasek as his key lieutenants and young riders such as Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Tsgabu Grmay and Ilia Koshevoy. With Max Richeze the team decided to field only one sprint specialist. But a huge pile-up in the second stage forced the team to change its plans radically: Przemyslaw Niemiec could not avoid the carnage and was forced to abandon the race due to a concussion. Luckily the Polish rider did not suffer any severe injuries however.
Still the first ten days offered a number of highlights from a sporting perspective. In the short team time trial that served as the opening event TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA managed to reduce the deficit to the fastest teams to 27 seconds. One day later Nelson Oliveira was part of the day’s escape group, and Max Richeze sprinted to a 5th place in the finale of the third stage in the Southern Spanish city of Malaga - the team’s first top5 result of the stage race. For most of that stage Ilia Koshevoy had been part of a breakaway. In the 4th stage it was Kristijan Durasek who held up the blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green colours in the group of the day.
But things got even better, as TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA managed to get another rider in the day’s breakaway in stage 5. But just like the days before, Tsgabu Grmay and his two escape companions did not manage to stay away from the peloton. At the end of the 6th stage Rubén Plaza showed a strong performance on the final ascent up to Sierra de Cazorla: The Spaniard crossed the finish line in 4th after Kristijan Durasek had spent most of the stage in the day’s breakaway. But things were to get even better in stage 7 as the attackers managed to stay ahead of the chasing bunch all the way to the finish line for the first time. Ilia Koshevoy showed an impressive performance on the long ascent to the finish line in La Alpujarra and only got beaten by Dutchman Bert-Jan Lindemann by a scant nine seconds, crossing the finish line in 2nd.
For stage 8 TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA took a day off from attacking duties, but the next day Mattia Cattaneo made it into the breakaway of the day. But this group got caught well before the finale and as a result the team missed out on a top result. At the end of the 10th stage a thinned-out bunch sprinted for the stage victory, and Valerio Conti performed fine: The young Italian crossed the finish line in 10th. After today’s rest stage the riders will face what is likely the hardest stage of this year’s Vuelta a España on Wednesday. Of course we hope that the riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA can continue to race as aggressively as they did during the first ten stages and to colour the race.