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Having put 3 riders in the 4-rider break in the finale, Movistar made it a 1-2-4 with Visconti, Gorka Izagirre and Valverde at the Klasika Primavera; Pardilla was the best of the rest in third

Photo: Movistar










10.04.2016 @ 18:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Movistar lived up to their status as the overwhelming favourites for the Klasika Primavera when they made it a 1-2-4 in a dominant show of force for the Spanish team. With Giovanni Visconti, Gorka Izagirre and Alejandro Valverde making up 75% up the decisive four-rider group, they delivered Visconti to victory, with Izagirre taking second and Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural) slightly breaking the dominance in third.


Klasika Primavera was once a major event on the Spanish calendar and in recent years it has been won by most of the biggest Spanish stars. Alejandro Valverde, Samuel Sanchez, Joaquim Rodriguez, Roberto Heras and Carlos Sastre have all come out on top in the Basque race but in recent years it has lost its prestige.


For the second year in a row, Movistar was the only WorldTour team in attendance and as they lined up with almost their entire A team of climbers, they were expected to completely dominate the race. That’s exactly what they did as they created the decisive group on the Montecalvo climb and ended the race with a 1-2-4.


Pushing the pace hard on the climb, Alejandro Valverde, Giovanni Visconti and Gorka Izagirre got clear and it was only Sergio Pardilla who could match their speed. In the end, the team decided to work for loyal domestique Visconti who had played a key role for Nairo Quintana in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and with Valverde doing the lead-out, the Italian claimed his first win since 2013 by holding off his teammate Izagirre in the final dash to the line.


The 62nd edition of Klasika Primavera was held on a 171.5km course around Amorebieta. The first of the race was made up of a number of flat circuits that were a warm-up for the final 60km. At this point, the riders headed to the Montecalvo climb which they first tackled from its steep side before doing two laps of a 16.6km circuit that included the climb from the other side where it averaged 5.35% over 5.1%. After cresting the summit for the final time, the final 14.2km consisted of a descent and a flat run back to Amorebieta.


The bad weather that had marred the Vuelta al Pais Vasco was replaced by beautiful sunshine and lots of wind when the riders gathered for the start in Amorebieta. They got the race off to a fast start with numerous attacks and it took a long time for the break to be formed.


When the elastic snapped after more than an hour of riding at an average speed of 46km/h, it was Dmitrii Strakhov (Lokosphinx), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), James Oram (ONE), Jose Antonio De Segovia (Louletano) and another two riders that escaped and they quickly managed to get a solid advantage as the peloton took a small breather.


With 74km to go, the break had been whittled down to just Aramendia, Strakhov and De Segovia and they were still 1.50 ahead. However, as Oram was no longer in the break, the ONE team had plans to set up Karol Domagalski for the finale and started to chase hard, bringing things back together before they hit the Montecalvo climb for the first time.


Rory Sutherland upped the pace for Movistar before he launched his teammates off in an attack. At first 8 riders got clear but a further selection whittled it down to just Pardilla and the Movistar trio of Valverde, Izagirre and Visconti.


With 38km to go, the gap had gone out to one minute and they had pushed it out to 1.35 as they crested the summit of the climb for the second time. The group worked well together and even though ONE were chasing in the peloton, they managed to increase the advantage even more, pushing it out to 2 minutes with 10km to go.


Being up against three fast Movistar climbers, the tiny climber Pardilla didn’t have much of a chance and when it came down to a four-rider sprint, the outcome was never in doubt. Movistar decided to work for Visconti who took the win in a 1-2 for the team as Izagirre crossed the line in second. Pardilla managed to take third while Valverde crossed the line in fourth.


The team was even close to making it four riders in the top 5 as Sutherland attacked in the finale but he was brought back and instead Sergey Shilov (Lokosphinx) won the reduced bunch sprint for fifth.


With Klasika Primavera done and dusted, 10 days of consecutive racing in Northern Spain has come to an end. The next major event in the country is the three-day Vuelta a Castilla y Leon which starts on Friday.


Top 10 for ONE in Klasika Primavera

A fast start from the gun, teams fought for position as a number of attempts were made to form the first breakaway of the day but nothing was allowed to stick. ONE Pro Cycling covered each attack and every move that was attempted at the front of the peloton but the break was simply not allowed to go. Reaching the 40km mark Head DS Matt Winston spoke to the squad and asked them to allow the break to go as long as Movistar and Caja Rural weren’t represented. Several more attacks unfolded but each time the combinations were deemed dangerous by the different teams and were quickly ridden down. The break of the day didn’t materialise until reaching kilometer 88, when a group of 3 were finally allowed to slip away with a gap extending to a maximum of 1 minute 20 seconds. With the break finally allowed to go Tom Baylis the youngest rider on the team, moved to the front of the peloton and rode tempo alongside Movistar, having Baylis in the chase kept the options open for the other members of the team on the crucial climbs of the day. 


As soon as the group hit the first of three 2nd Category climbs Movistar increased the pace in a tactical move, causing the peloton to split, this also forced a break away at the front including four riders from Movistar and one lone representative from Caja Rural. The non climbers found themselves in difficulty when over two thirds of the field were dropped due to the sudden increase in speed. Meanwhile Karol Domagalski, John Ebsen, Richard Handley and James Oram fought hard to remain with the what was left of the peloton going over the climb. In the chaos, Kiwi James Oram and Danish rider John Ebsen got split from the peloton group and found themselves in a chase group. This however had four riders from Caja Rural in and they quickly went to the front and brought the chasers back to the peloton by the time they hit the second climb of the day.


On the final climb Caja Rural controlled the peloton ensuring no other riders were allowed to go escaping and to try and set themselves up for the bunch sprint, the break that was forced however on the first climb had established itself and had gained over a minute on the peloton. One rider from the break away was dropped and was caught by the peloton in the closing stages. .


Closing in on the finish ONE Pro Cycling made the decision to set Karol Domagalski up for the final sprint for the line, with the peloton racing for 5th position Oram, Ebsen and Handley put in some big turns on the front of the peloton as speeds touched 70km/h. Domagalski’s sprint unfolded in a frantic battle for the line and a photo finished his final result was confirmed as 9th place after re-analysis by the finish judges.


Following the race, Head DS Matt Winston spoke about how well the team rode together commenting, “All in all feel like the team rode really well as a unit the break took a long time to establish but the boys stayed on their toes and covered everything. When the break went they were alert and positioned well heading on to the climbs. It was pretty much full gas all day, each rider had their own plan and I feel they all executed that really well. Its pleasing to come away with a top 10 result.“



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