First pro win for Matevz Govekar in Spain
For the 4th stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, Team Bahrain Victorious granted its young new signing Matevz Govekar full freedom. The Slovenian made the best possible use of this opportunity, joined the right attack to get into the breakaway and then beat a handful of opponents in the sprint for the stage win.
In the finale of the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, the riders of Team Bahrain Victorious were lucky to escape an ugly crash of the peloton on the last kilometre without serious damage. But at the end of the third stage, Santiago Buitrago had to concede the leader’s jersey to Pavel Sivakov. Since Buitrago fought hard to defend that jersey, he’s only 23 seconds behind in the general classification now. On the next day, a large group of 14 riders went up the road early on, and as hoped and planned beforehand, Team Bahrain Victorious had Matevz Govekar in that group. For a long time, the gap between the breakaway and the peloton hovered between two and three minutes, and with 40 kilometres to go, the attacks from within the breakaway started, and as a consequence, the breakaway split into two groups with seven riders each.
Matevz Govekar survived this selection, and on paper, he was the best sprinter of the remaining riders in the race lead. But the last two kilometres of the stage were ascending, leading into the old centre of Ciudad Romana de Clunia. The young Slovenian rider who had only joined Team Bahrain Victorious on June 1st was unimpressed by this challenge and kept himself in front of the leading group, countering accelerations and keeping his rivals in check. On the final 200 meters, Govekar made good use of his sprinting capabilities to score his first victory in cycling’s professional ranks. The general classification remained largely unchanged, so before tomorrow’s hard mountain top finish at Lagunas de Neila the gap between the GC leader and Santiago Buitrago remains at a scant 23 seconds.
At the topographically demanding individual time trial at the Tour de Pologne, Pello Bilbao was the best-placed rider of Team Bahrain Victorious in 9th place. As a consequence, the Basque rider slipped from 2nd to 3rd in the overall standings. While the gap to the new GC leader Ethan Hayter stood at a mere 18 seconds, the final stage to Krakow, ridden in simmering Summer heat, offered hardly any opportunities for attacks. Thus Team Bahrain Victorious focussed on securing the 3rd place in the overall standings and on the likely bunch sprint for the last stage win where Phil Bauhaus was a candidate for yet another stage success. While the latter timed his acceleration a bit late, he still managed to score yet another podium result by crossing the finish line in 3rd.
44TH VUELTA A BURGOS, STAGE 4: TORRESANDINO - CIUDAD ROMANA DE CLUNIA, 169KM
1. Matevz Govekar, SVN/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:36.18 hours
2. Valentin Retailleau, FRA, st
3. Omer Goldstein, ISR, st
79TH TOUR DE POLOGNE, STAGE 7: VALSIR - KRAKOW, 177.8KM
1. Arnaud Démare, FRA, in 3:59.20 hours
2. Olav Kooij, NED, st
3. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Ethan Hayter, GBR, in 28:26.23 hours
2. Thymen Arensman, NED, + 0.11
3. Pello Bilbao, ESP/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.18
Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency