Leigh Howard sprints to victory in Trofeo Campos-Santanyí-Ses Salines
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Monday, February 04, 2013

Leigh Howard sprints to victory in Trofeo Campos-Santanyí-Ses Salines

by Ben Atkins at 1:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Mallorca Challenge
 
Australian wins on day two of Challenge Mallorca as the peloton pulls back a break again

leigh howardLeigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) sprinted to victory in the Trofeo Campos-Santanyí-ses Salines, the second race in the four-day Challeng Mallorca, as the race finished in a bunch sprint. The Australian beat Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) by less than the width of his wheel at the end of the hilly 167.1km race in the Balearic Island’s southern region, condemning the American to a second straight second place. Both riders crossed the line clear of José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar),

“Neil Stephens, Julian Dean, Marc Quod [Orica-GReenEdge directeurs sportif and staff - ed] and I looked at the finish this morning in the car,” said Howard after the race. “We knew it would be a crazy, hectic and potentially dangerous sprint. I’m glad we had the preview. It allowed us to formulate a plan that we stuck to almost to a T.

“I come out on top because everyone did their jobs,” he added. “The team has given me a great opportunity here and put a lot of faith in me. It’s nice to repay them.”

The race was dominated by a seven-man breakaway, which escaped after just eight kilometres, and managed to build a maximum lead of 7’10” after 45km. In the group were Howard’s Orica-GreenEdge teammate Christian Meier , Natnael Berhane (Europcar), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Fabio Calabria (Novo Nordisk), Roman van Zandbeek (De Rijke-Shanks), Jon Larrinaga (Euskadi) and Luis Mas (Burgos BH-Castilla y León).

Garmin-Sharp, Lotto-Belisol and Team Sky led the peloton as it began to close in on the breakaway and, over the top of the Sa Rapita climb for the first time after 49.6km, its lead had already been cut to 6’21”.

At the 100km mark, with Blanco, Lotto-Belisol and Lampre-Merida also working on the front of the peloton, the gap was down to 2’50” and, when its capture became inevitable, Orica-GreenEdge also joined in the chase.

“When it was obvious the break was going to get caught, I asked the guys to chase,” Stephens explained. “The boys questioned this call, which was respectful of them on Christian’s behalf. I explained that it was inevitable that the break would get caught, and then they were happy to do as they were asked.”

With 27km to go the break was finally caught and, with Orica-GreenEdge and Team Sky setting a fierce tempo on the front, the peloton began to split on the uphill approach to the finish in Ses Salines. Inside the final three kilometres the lead group was down to just 50 riders, as Orica-GreenEdge and Garmin-Sharp began to position Howard and Farrar for the sprint.

We wanted to be right at the front with two kilometres to go,” Howard explained. “There were some really nasty corners, and we needed to be at the front when we went around them. Mitch and I were fifth and sixth wheel when we hit these corners. It was perfect.”

“Then, there were two tight corners with 300 metres to go,” he added. “I came out third wheel behind Tyler Farrar.”

Howard managed to come around Farrar, and beat him to the line by less than a wheel.

Result Trofeo Campos-Santanyí-Ses Salines
1. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
3. José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
4. Egiotz Garcia (Spa) Cofidis
5. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team
6. Francsico Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
9. Yoeri Havik (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke-Shanks
10. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky

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