Cycling: Youthful Basque breakaway claims maiden win
Tuesday 22 May 2012
Little-known rider Jon Izagirre escaped under the radar this afternoon as he shot away to claim stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia.
Following a ten-man breakaway, the 23-year-old of Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi made his move as he negotiated a steep hairpin bend. Pulling out a 14 second lead, he proved to be an unstoppable force.
With four kilometres to go, Izagirre opened a sizeable gap, dancing on his pedals to power up the hillside. Alessandro De Marchi of team Androni Giocattoli accelerated in an attempt to close the distance, only to fade fast – the average 9 per cent incline stopped him in his path.
As the bright orange jersey of Euskaltel-Euskadi drove on, a group of three riders formed the chase. They exchanged short leads, which soon became erratic and ineffectual - swerving left then right, their efforts served only to draw circles around one another.
As he realised his first Grand Tour stage win, Izagirre lifted his loose arms with an air of disbelief. Cupping his face in his hands, he rode in not with a powerful celebration but with an overwhelming sense of astonishment.
De Marchi, who gave up the chase in the final kilometres, settled for second and was visibly disgruntled as he cursed and slammed a fist on his handlebars at the finish line.
Following a series of recent breakaway attempts, stage 12 winner Lars Bak once again rode in the lead group for much of the race to affirm himself as one of the most gutsy men on the Giro. The Lotto-Belisol rider has generated interest from both Team Sky and Saxo Bank in recent days.
“The young riders in the field can really learn something from a guy like Lars Bak,” said Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis. “He continues to push himself – and if you have the will, the results will come sooner or later. That's how you should ride a race.”
Carsten Jeppesen, Team Sky's director of Operations, has expressed similar admiration for the Dane, saying that he was “a little put out” for failing to recruit Bak to the British team this year.
Overall leader Joaquim Rodriguez looked comfortable at the front of the main group today and will go into the final five stages with just half a minute over Ryder Hesjedal and 1minute 22seconds over Grand Tour great Ivan Basso. The race is likely to be decided in the steep climbs of the Dolomites.
Latest in Sport
Sheffield United vs Tottenham match report: Christian Eriksen breaks hearts after Che Adams had brought Blades back from the brink
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Australian Open 2015: Serena Williams vs Madison Keys match preview
Tottenham player ratings: Christian Eriksen? Harry Kane? Who was the star man at Bramall Lane?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Financial Analyst is required to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This major European Intellectual Propert...