Weekend Round-up: Navarro wins Vuelta a Murcia for Cofidis
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Round-up: Navarro wins Vuelta a Murcia for Cofidis

by Kyle Moore at 1:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Spaniard off to a good start in first season with French squad

Daniel NavarroIt was just the rain in Spain that fell mainly on the riders in the Vuelta a Murcia on Saturday, and it was Dani Navarro (Cofidis) who continued a strong opening month in his first season with the French team. Navarro broke away on the final climb of the now one-day race, finishing ahead of Bauke Mollema (Blanco), who was second, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who took third in the 180km race.

Navarro attacked with a small group at approximately 20 kilometres from the finish, quickly catching several earlier breakaway men. Movistar was policing the peloton in favor of former race winner Alejandro Valverde and returning champion Nairo Quintana, but the Spanish team could not reel in Navarro after he later attacked on his own on the uphill finish.

Navarro was already a solid tenth in the Vuelta a Andalucia-Ruta del Sol, which he followed up with the Murcia win in its new single-day format. The finish took riders to the Alto del Castillo de Lorca, and Navarro said he was surprised to go so well to the top.

“The final climb was very hard,” he stated according to Biciclismo. “[The climb eventually flattens out toward the finish] and the group of favourites was back to full speed toward the end, but I still managed to win in front of Mollema and Valverde, which is very good. I have to thank the entire team for the support it has provided, whether at the Vuelta a Murcia or in Andalucia. I did not expect to win, so I am very happy.”

Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura), Lukasz Owsian (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural) and Jon Larrinaga (Euskadi) were the early protagonists, and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) spent time trying to latch on, though he was not successful. During early, flat kilometres, the quartet took out nearly four minutes on the peloton, which was being controlled by Team Movistar.

With 50km left to race, the penultimate climb of Alto del Collado Bermejo imposed its will on the initial breakaway, and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) jumped ahead, taking a half-minute advantage. Seven riders set off after him, including Jose Rojas (Movistar), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Egor Silin and Janez Brajkovic (Astana), and Enzo Moyano (Caja Rural). Though Seeldraeyers held a minute advantage with 25km left.

Navarro helped spring another breakaway as the final climb hit, drawing out Blanco’s Juan Manuel Garate and Wilco Kelderman, Andrey Zeits (Astana), Iker Camano (NetApp-Endura) and Karol Dmagalski (Caja Rural), who were all still pursuing Seeldraeyers.

Navarro’s group had bridged to Seeldraeyers with still ten kilometres to race, and the Movistar-led peloton was just behind. But they never closed all the way down on Navarro, who eventually rode away and finished just ahead of a flying Mollema and Valverde.

Vuelta a Murcia (182.5km) Brief Results:

1 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Cofidis)
2 Bauke Mollema (Blanco)
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
4 Robert Gesink (Blanco)
5 Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
6 Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
7 Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
9 Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun)
10 Enzo Moyano (Caja Rural)


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