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07 Jun 2019

Champion strengthens his lead and Galicia makes an advance

Rain and mud play a decisive role at the stage’s midpoint

June 7, 2019 Tineo. It was a fast second stage in which Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon) tightened his lead followed by Victor Fernandez (Wolfbike Team) and Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda), who suffered a flat in the last meters, which prevented him from fighting for first place after a great comeback. In the elite women’s category, Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) started strong, but Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) wanted to neutralize the Málagan’s lead before the stage’s halfway point. The Catalan suffered another crash, but recovered without any problem and crossed the finish line first followed by Fischer with Ana Antunes (MMR) closing out the podium.

 

The second stage fulfilled race predictions and did not disappoint. It was a fast, 57-kilometer stage with 1,971 meters of elevation gain in which a lead group that included Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon), Víctor Fernández (Wolfbike Team), and Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling) formed quickly. The three racers rode a fierce pace during the first few  kilometers but the chase group, which included Ismael Esteban (Aldro-Arrueda), didn’t give up too much time.

 

At the  stage’s  midpoint, the route turned skyward with a 20 percent climb  and the three escaped  racers who were still in the lead were put to the test.

 

In the elite women’s category, Málaga’s Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) came to defend the lead, but the Catalan, Clàudia Galicia, (Megamo UCI Team), who suffered a crash yesterday, wasn’t going to make it easy. Fischer managed to distance herself from Galicia in the first kilometers by riding strong after a fast start. The Catalan, who took to the start line almost without warming up, found herself feeling good and free of any physical aftermath from the previous day’s crash. After warming up for a few kilometers, she decided  to attack.

 

Galicia launched an attack and began to subtract seconds from Fischer, until she managed to neutralize Fischer before the first feed zone at kilometer 23. Galicia’s bad luck from yesterday’s crash paid another visit and she suffered another one  in the feed zone but this  time she didn’t give up any time. Emotionally affected by the crash, the Catalan recovered. Fischer was still chasing so Galicia attacked again. The Megamo racer regained confidence thanks to the attack and she continued at an unstoppable pace until Tineo. 

 

Throughout the whole stage, Ana Antunes (MMR) rode in third position far behind Fischer and Galicia. The Portuguese racer ramped  up to a comfortable rhythm that allowed her to maintain that position until the stage’s end.

 

The fight among the elite men waged on. Esteban, who at no time let  down his guard despite trailing the lead group, caught up to the leaders after a mighty effort. Esteban found himself feeling strong; he put himself first and set the pace. The provisional leader, Champion, closely followed everything that was happening and tried to make a break followed by Fernández and Gómez.

 

With 10 kilometers to go, the podium was all but decided. Esteban was on  fire and started to pull harder. The Bolivian, Gómez, who couldn't match the pace, dropped out of the group, and the finish line looked like it would be down to three. With Tineo on the horizon and Esteban, Champion and Fernández in the lead, everything seemed like it would be decided with a sprint. But the stage had an unfortunate end for Esteban, who flatted after his mighty comeback, which prevented him from fighting for first place. Instead Esteban  crossed the finish in third with a  flat tire. The first to finish was Champion, followed by the Cordoban Fernández, who scored the same time.

 

In the women's elite category, Galicia crossed the finish line first, followed by Fischer and Antunes. The Catalan athlete lowered her time in the general classification, but she couldn’t seize the lead from the Andalusian athlete, who suffered from cold and rain in today's stage. Antunes is still in third place.

 

 

Stage Classification ELITE MEN

1. Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon) 02:29:44

2. Víctor M. Fernández (Wolfbike Team) 02:29:45

3. Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda) 02:30:01

4. Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling) 02:31:12

5. Kevin Suárez  (Nesta CS Team)   02:34:12

Thomas Champion: "It's unbelievable! It was a great second stage victory wearing the leader's jersey. Tomorrow is the queen stage – there's a lot of climbing. There’s also 10km more than in today’s stage. Racers like Ismael (Esteban) can make the difference so we will have to give it our all".

Victor Manuel Fernández: "Ismael set a very high pace and made it possible for us three rider to escape. The three of us arrived with almost the same time to contest the stage, and I’m very happy with the result." "Yes, the truth is that the race has extraordinary landscapes and views. All the riders who are racing are enjoying themselves and will remember these beautiful landscapes a lot."

Ismael Esteban:  "The truth is that I feel very good. Every day I'm getting more used to marathon and stage racing formats, and every day gets a little better. Above all I'm waiting for Sunday's stage because I think it's a stage that suits me well – one that features technical areas. We're waiting to see if we can hold out and see what happens on Sunday."

Stage Classification ELITE WOMEN

1. Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) 03:03:27

2. Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 03:04:19

3. Ana Antunes (MMR) 03:26:31

4. Silvia Roura  (Bikezona.com Bilbao  C.D.C)    03:27:27

5. Helena Isanta (Esierribikes)   03:29:46

Clàudia Galicia: “Everyone saw it. At the feed zone a guy unintentionally crossed in front of me and I went over the bars. It was a curious landing, I broke my glasses, I started to cry but there was a group of guys who encouraged me and so I went on until I reached the finish line. I'm happy to be in the mix and I hope to arrive in one piece throughout the remaining stages."

Natalia Fischer: "I started hard and paid a price. I lost the group and faced a headwind; it was a bit of a struggle against myself. "I felt better during the stage, I was able to cut some time and, in the end, I think I finished a minute ahead of Clàudia."

Ana Antunes: "It's the first time I've participated in the Asturias Bike Race and for me, it's been a spectacular race because of the spectacular landscapes and the magnificent trails. I've also enjoyed being with the MMR team; it's been a pleasure."

Overall Standings ELITE MEN

1.       Thomas Champion   (Team XC Radon)       03:28:23

2.       Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda) 03:29:03 

3.       Víctor Manuel Fernández (Wolfbike Team) 03:29:49 

4.       Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling)03:31:18 

5.       Kevin Suárez (Nesta CS team)  03:34:38             

 

Overall Standings Elite Women

1.       Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 04:14:52

2.       Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) 04:18:26 

3.       Ana Antunes  (MMR) 04:44:46 

4.       Silvia Roura (Bikezona.com Bilbao  C.D.C)  04:49:36 

5.       Helena Isanta (Esierribikes) 04:52:14 

 

 

 

 

 

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