Leigh Howard takes second Mallorca Challenge victory in Trofeo Alcúdia
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Leigh Howard takes second Mallorca Challenge victory in Trofeo Alcúdia

by Ben Atkins at 2:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Mallorca Challenge
 
Race of attrition sees much-reduced peloton contest seaside sprint finish

leigh howardLeigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) won his second race in the four-race 2013 Challenge Mallorca, as he outsprinted a much-reduced peloton at the end of the Trofeo Alcúdia-Can Picafort-Playa de Muro. The 170km race, in the northern part of the Balearic Island, saw a breakaway of ten riders escape over its hilly parcours, but the powerful teams of the sprinters closed them down within a few kilometres of the finish.

Howard was quickest to the line at the seaside finish, outsprinting Belgian Maarten Wynants (Blanco) and Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) to take his second victory in three days.

After a series of early attacks, the ten rider group managed to escape after 33km, on the approach to the first classified climb of the day to the Coll de Sa Batalla. Over the top of the top, the group - which was splitting and reforming on the climb - as 3’20” ahead of the peloton, which was also breaking into pieces in pursuit.

In the group were Xabier Zandio (Team Sky), Angel Madrazo (Movistar), Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jos van Emden and Robert Gesink (both Blanco), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) and Christoph Pfingsten (De Rijke-Shanks); on the approach to the Puig Major - which was to be climbed from the short side - the group’s lead increased to 4’20”, but was down to just 3’30” as they began the descent.

The group continued to split as the peloton got closer but, with 50km to go they were down to Gesink and Madrazo led Zandio, Astarloza, Thurau and David Belda (Burgos BH-Castilla y León), who had joined as the others were dropped.

With the final climb over, however, the peloton continued to close, and - despite Gesink’s determination in the closing kilometres - the race was all together with just three kilometres to go.

The peloton was down to less than 40 riders now, led by Omega Pharma-Quick Step, but it was Howard that proved fastest once again.

Result Trofeo Alcúdia-Can Picafort-Playa de Muro
1. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling
3. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Egoitz Garcia (Spa) Cofidis
5. José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
6. Angelo Tulikl (Fra) Europcar
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Sharp
9. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
10. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky

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