Double day for Luis León Sánchez in Castilla y León stage two
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Double day for Luis León Sánchez in Castilla y León stage two

by Ben Atkins at 11:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Snow in the mountains for hilly Spanish race as a late breakaway gets a long way clear

luis leon sanchezLuis León Sánchez (Rabobank) rode himself into the lead of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, with victory in the second stage in Ávila. The punchy Spanish rider was fastest of an eleven man group that escaped on the final climb of the day and built a huge lead over the rest of the the peloton.

Sánchez’ final sprint saw him finish two seconds clear of Guillaume Levarlet (Saur-Sojasun), with Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) in third. With the peloton losing 9’38” to the breakaway, a ten-second time bonus on the line meant that Sánchez was the new race leader.

The 158.7km was run under extremely cold and wet conditions, with snow falling at the top of the four 2nd category climbs.

The peloton was all together over the top of the Puerto la Crus de Hierro after 21.2km, where Walter Pedraza (EPM-UNE) took the points, ahead of teammate Robigzon Oyola, Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) and Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan). On the following climb to the Puerto de la Lancha however, those four riders escaped, along with David Arroyo (Movistar), Mikel Landa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Brice Feillu (Saur-Sojasun).

After 32km, the seven-rider group was 1’22” ahead, which was static as Pedraza lead Oyola again over the top of the climb, with Landa and Arroyo taking third and fourth this time. Once over the climb, the lead began to grow once more, up to two minutes at the 42km point, and rising to a maximum of 2’48” after 49km.

The Caja Rural team of stage one winner Manuel Cardoso was leading the peloton in pursuit, although with two more 2nd category climbs on the horizon, the sprinter would have a tough job to hold on to the race lead.

As the septet’s lead began to come down on the long descent, it was reduced to a sextet as Klöden climbed off his bike in the feedzone after 74km.

As the climb to the Puerto de Arrebatacapas approached, the gap was coming down rapidly and they were caught as the peloton hit the early slopes, but a counter attacking group of Feillu and Pedraza again, with Sergio Carasco (Andalucía), and Rémy Di Gregorio (Cofidis) immediately emerged.

This group was quickly followed by Arroyo, Landa and Euskaltel-Euskadi teammate Amets Txurruka, Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack-Nissan), Jose Vicente Toribio (Andalucía), Giovanny Baez (EPM-UNE) David De La Cruz (Caja Rural), Levarlet and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), and the twelve-man group was away as Pedraza led Arroyo, Txurruka and Baez over the top after 104.2km.

The field began to split as it pursued the breakaway group, and the final escape began to emerge as the final climb to the Puerto de la Paramera began.

The new lead group now consisted of: Urtasun and Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jonathan Castroviejo and Javier Moreno (both Movistar), Tom Jelte Slagter (Rabobank), Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Nissan), Toribio, De La Cruz, Levarlet, David Blanco (Efapel-Glassdrive), Zak Dempster (Endura Racing) and Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis).

Baez was having trouble holding on, but Sánchez was fighting his way across to the lead with Linus Gerdemann (RadioShack-Nissan).

Blanco, Dempster and Maté were also dropped by the lead group as they approached the top of the climb - after 140km, with just 19km to go - as Machado led Sánchez, Moreno and Gerdemann over the top.

With five kilometres to go the peloton - which had sat up with the majority of teams represented up front - was five minutes behind and, as the finish line approached it was falling further behind.

Into the final kilometres Urtasun, Gerdemann and De La Cruz all tried to escape the rest of the lead group, but they were all pulled back. In the uphill sprint Sánchez proved to be the fastest, with his jump pulling him two seconds clear of the rest.

Result stage 2
1. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Rabobank
2. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun @ 2s
3. Pablo Urtasun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan @ 5s
5. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
6. David De La Cruz (Spa) Caja Rural
7. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
8. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank @ 9s
9. Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 12s
10. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan @ 14s

Standings after stage 2
1. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Rabobank
2. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun @ 6s
3. Pablo Urtasun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 8s
4. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team @ 15s
5. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
6. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
7. David De La Cruz (Spa) Caja Rural
8. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank @ 19s
9. Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 22s
10. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan @ 24s


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