Pasqualon sprints to 3rd in Andalucia
After five days of high-intensity racing, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS capped off the Ruta Ciclista del Sol in Southern Spain with a 2nd place on GC for Mikel Landa, a 3rd place for Santiago Buitrago and a 2nd place in the team classification. As for the final stage, Andrea Pasqualon sprinted to a 3rd place as well.
At the end of the first two stages of the Ruta Ciclista del Sol, both Mikel Landa and Santiago Buitrago scored one podium result each. Due to the weather stage 3 got harder as strong gusts of wind demanded full focus and bike control from all athletes. Early on, a large breakaway counting 21 riders got away, with young Italian Edoardo Zambanini flying the colours of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS. This breakaway got to contest for the stage win in what was a demanding finale. Zambanini could not keep up with the most explosive climbers and crossed the finish line in 7th place. As for top positions in the overall standings, this stage did not bring any changes.
On the next day Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS went into the finale of the stage with a lot of riders and tried its best to use this strength in numbers to push Tadej Pogacar into making a mistake with a series of attacks. But neither Jack Haig nor Mikel Landa managed to shake the overall leader and keep him from winning yet another stage. After the last steep climb with cobblestone sections, Mikel Landa and Santiago Buitrago crossed the finish line in 4th and 5th place, respectively. With Damiano Caruso in 9th place, a third rider in orange, red and black finished the stage within the top10.
Despite featuring an ascending finale, the final stage of the Ruta Ciclista del Sol looked to offer the only real opportunity for sprinters. Early on, seven riders had gone up the road, but the breakaway splintered in the final hour of racing and thus made it easier for the peloton to catch up. Due to the very high speed in the finale, Matej Mohoric could not get Andrea Pasqualon to the front of the pack as planned. Still, the Italian worked his way up to cross the finish line in 3rd, scoring yet another podium result. With Mikel Landa in 2nd and Santiago Buitrago in 3rd of the overall standings, and Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS in 2nd in the team classification, the race in Andalucia was a success despite missing out on a stage win.
The racing continues on Monday for Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS as seven riders line up for the UAE Tour. The seven stages of this Worldtour race make for a total distance of 1028 kilometers. Apart from four flat sprint stages, the race features two mountaintop finishes at Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet, respectively and a team time trial over 17.2 kilometers. As the team's GC captain Pello Bilbao can rely on the support of Wout Poels and Matevz Govekar on the climbs. Nikias Arndt is the lead-out man for his compatriot Phil Bauhaus, and Johan Price-Pejtersen and Fran Miholjevic are supposed to add their power to the team time trial and when echelons threaten to form in strong winds.
69TH VUELTA A ANDALUCIA RUTA CICLISTA DEL SOL
STAGE 5: OTURA - ALHAURIN DE LA TORRE, 184.3KM
1. Omar Fraile, ESP, in 4:27.59 hours
2. Alessandro Covi, ITA, st
3. Andrea Pasqualon, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Tadej Pogacar, SVN, in 21:05.02 hours
2. Mikel Landa, ESP/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 1.18
3. Santiago Buitrago, COL/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 1.23
1. Ineos Grenadiers, GBR, in 63:15.54 hours
2. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, BHR, + 0.43
3. UAE Team Emirates, UAE, + 9.57
Fotos: Sprint Cycling Agency