Javier Moreno takes Castilla y León in memory of Xavier Tondo
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Javier Moreno takes Castilla y León in memory of Xavier Tondo

by Ben Atkins at 2:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Movistar rider is second on third and final stage to dedicate overall victory to the team’s late rider

javier morenoSecond place on the third and final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, in Sergovia, was enough to secure overall victory in the truncated stage race for Movistar’s Javier Moreno. The stage was won by Yelko Marino Gomez (Caja Rural), who outsprinted the rest of a highly select group at the end of the 173.5km stage, to take the Spanish Professional Continental team’s second victory in the race. French climber Brice Feillu (Saur-Sojasun) beat US champion Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan) to the line to take third place.

With stage two winner, and race leader, Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) dropped on the final climb of a tough, cold day, the time bonus and small time gap to second and third placed Guillaume Levalet (Saur-Sojasun) Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) meant that Moreno took the race by the narrowest of margins - a single second - over Levarlet.

“It was a tremendous joy, because I didn't even know I had won when I crossed the finish line,” said Moreno. “They told me a couple of minutes later and it was a true emotion.

“I wasn't really concerned about Levarlet and Urtasun at the finish,” he explained. “Instead I was looking for the win, because I knew the bonus seconds could bring me the overall. It wasn't a finish for me, but I had to finish off all work done by my teammates.

“The bad thing is that, with 500 meters to go, I had to go after two riders jumping before the sprint, and I lacked that bit of energy to win the stage.”

Moreno is in his first year with World Tour team Movistar, having spent the previous four years at Professional Continental level, but he - like the rest of the Spanish team - dedicated the victory to the late Xavier Tondo, who won the race for Movistar last year shortly before he was tragically killed.

“This is my most important victory,” said Moreno. “I won in Asturias last year, but the field was stronger here, plus it has a special meaning thanks to Xavi Tondo.

“We came here with the intention to dedicate him a victory, and we did it.”

With snow in the hills, and reported temperatures of -2 degrees centigrade (~28F) at the top of some of the climbs, the race almost didn’t go ahead at all. Many riders in the peloton were threatening to strike, including Linus Gerdermann (RadioShack-Nissan), Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis) and Stefan Schumacher (Cristina Watches); when race leader Sánchez rolled out to take the start however, things were ready to continue according to plan.

A group of eleven riders got clear almost immediately, and was joined by a further eight on the opening climb to the 1st category Puerto de Navafría after 36.7km, to make a breakaway of nineteen. Present in the group were Moreno’s Movistar teammates Vladimir Karpets and Ruben Plaza, as well as Busche,

Over the top of the 1st category Puerto de la Morcuera, after 72.7km, the group was 3’55” ahead, but this began to come down on the approach to the next, and final climb of the 1st category Puerto de Navacerrada. The peloton caught the break shortly before the summit, and on the way down a group of 25 got clear; Moreno, Levalet and Urtasun were present, but Sánchez was not, and they began to pull away from the rest of the peloton.

In the final, cobbled two kilometres Marino Gomez, Moreno, Feillu and Busche managed to pull away, with the two Spanish riders contesting the sprint. The next riders crossed the line four seconds behind the first four, meaning that Moreno had taken back ten seconds from his overall rivals, which was just good enough for victory.

“It was a really hard day due to the weather, but everything went really great,’ he said. “The plan was to get riders into the break and for me to bridge at the climb of Navacerrada.

“Luis León kept my wheel for 500m when I attacked, but then I saw him dropping and went on full steam to catch [David] Arroyo, so he could bring me into the group,” Moreno explained. “After that, my teammates gave everything they had so they couldn't catch us.

“I have no words to thank my mates for their help,’ he added. “I have spent the start of the season helping and Alejandro [Valverde] and my team-mates, something I'm really happy to do, but we were a bit more free here and I profited from that.

“Now I hope to keep this form alive in Rioja and Asturias, my next races.”

Result stage 3
1. Yelko Marino Gomez (Pan) Caja Rural
2. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
3. Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
4. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
5. Adrian Palomares (Spa) Andalucía
6. Ivan Parra (Col) EPM-UNE @ 4s
7. Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis
8. David De La Cruz (Spa) Caja Rural
9. Pablo Urtasun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Guillaume Levalet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun

Final overall standings
1. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
2. Guillaume Levalet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun @ 1s
3. Pablo Urtasun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 3s
4. David De La Cruz (Spa) Caja Rural @ 10s
5. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan @ 19s
6. Jose Vicente Toribio (Spa) Andalucía @ 30s
7. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team @ 1’36”
8. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan @ 1’41”
9. Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 1’50”
10. David Blanco (Spa) Efapel-Glassdrive @ 3’13”


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