08 Jun 2019
June 8, 2019 Tineo. The Super Stage lived up to its name by leaving all the mountain bike racers who took the start in Tineo breathless. It was a stage in which once again a small lead group was formed from the start by men’s elite racers Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon), Víctor Fernández (Team Wolfbike), Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda), and Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling). In the end, Cordoba’s Fernández couldn’t match the race pace and dropped out of the group. The stage winner was Esteban, followed by Thomas and Gómez. Elite racer Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) started strong and finished in the same way, distancing herself with every kilometer from her pursuer Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team), and entering Tineo alone. The Portuguese, Ana Antunes (MMR), was in charge of closing out the podium.
The stage quickly sorted the racers as the first climb was encountered just after Tineo. It was a day marked by hard climbs because, in addition to the 66-kilometer racecourse, there were more than 2,900 meters of accumulated elevation gain. The first 20 kilometers were continuously up and down, which allowed a lead group to be formed by Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon), Víctor Fernández (Team Wolfbike), Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda), Raúl Castrillo (Bargosa Silverback), Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling), and Kevin Suárez (Nesta CS Team). As the stage progressed, the route took charge of filtering the group before the race’s midpoint.
In the women’s elite category, Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) raced a stage that was made for her. After suffering greatly yesterday, today she started together with Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) in the Super Stage. At the tenth kilometer, the racer from Málaga was feeling good and decided to push a little harder. The Megamo racer decided to continue at her own pace and, when she wanted to react, Fischer was long gone.
In the elite men’s category everything was wide open. The group of four racers that formed after Suárez and Castrillo dropped out at kilometer 30, continued to forge a fierce pace. Esteban, after experiencing a few minutes of crisis, recovered and managed to continue with the rhythm set by the general classification leader, French rider Champion. The Cantabrian, feeling strong, decided to ramp up the pace, which the Bolivian Gómez couldn’t maintain and he fell off the back.
As they checked off kilometer 52, Champion and Fernández kept up with the rhythm that Esteban had assigned to the race, but they suffered. Fernández, who at all times tried to stay with the leaders, had to let the group go and leave the finish to Esteban and Champion. The last few kilometers were hard for the Cantabrian who kept watch over Champion. But Esteban, who had a desire to prevail, summoned the strength to continue racing hard and keep the pressure on Champion until the end to reach the finish line and take the stage. Champion was second was and in third was Gómez, who, after losing contact with the lead group, overtook Fernández, who fell victim to the stage’s brutality in the final kilometers, and ceded third place.
In the elite women’s category, despite the stage’s difficulty, Fischer felt good. Seeing that Galicia didn’t follow her when she attacked from the gun, Fischer set a very serious pace that allowed her to distance herself considerably with respect to the Megamo racer. The Málagan recovered from yesterday's effort in the best way, because after today's stage – where she put time into Galicia – tomorrow's stage will be a little more comfortable for Fischer.
After completing the 66 kilometers, Fischer was first, followed by Galicia, more than 15 minutes back, with Ana Antunes (MMR) closing out the podium but without many options to fight for second place and upset the GC tomorrow.
Stage Classification MEN’S ELITE
1. Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda) 03:09:52
2. Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon) 03:09:55
3. Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling) 03:10:15
Ismael Esteban: "It's been a stage to remember. For me the route was perfect. It had technical descents, very fast, technical climbs, single track, and muddy sections; it was a very complete stage."
Thomas Champion: “Today's stage was very challenging. It was a long, leg-busing stage with lots of ups and downs. I think tomorrow's stage is a good one for me because there are long climbs and descents – something I like. Above all, the climbs because, depending on the descents, I can afford to suffer a little more. So I hope to crowned the victor."
Ever Alejandro Gómez: "The truth is that I'm very happy with this third place. We've been looking for it since the beginning of the stage, but the truth is that the riders here are very strong and have made it hard for us."
Stage Classification WOMEN’S ELITE
1. Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 03:47:15
2. Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) 04:03:01
3. Ana Antunes (MMR) 04:23:19
Natalia Fischer: "I've been with Clàudia from the start. I wanted to control the stage and make up for yesterday. I attacked half- or three quarters of the way from the top of the climb; I thought she was coming with me, I looked back and I couldn't see her. They told me that I already had two minutes on her so I just kept control of the stage."
Clàudia Galicia: "At the beginning I was doing well, I was feeling good. They were shouting out that Natalia was up by a minute or two, but I kept my pace. Suddenly I found myself without water, without legs, and it was eternal. I think that my winter season — without much time on the bike – is exacting its toll. As the days go by, exhaustion sets in but the important thing is to strengthen the mind, and to think positively. Today I lost a lot of time – when I arrived at the second feed zone, I stopped, I ate and drank. I hadn't done that before – I said that we have to enjoy ourselves, that we can't always fight for the victory."
Overall Standing Elite Men
1. Thomas Champion (Team XC Radon) 06:38:18
2. Ismael Esteban (Aldro- Arrueda) 06:38:56
3. Víctor Manuel Fernández (Wolfbike Team) 06:41:34
4. Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling) 06:43:55
5. Kevin Suárez (Nesta CS Team) 06:52:39
Overall Standing Elite Women
1. Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 08:02:07
2. Clàudia Galicia (Megamo UCI Team) 08:21:30
3. Ana Antunes (MMR) 09:08:06
4. Silvia Roura (Bikezona.com Bilbao C.D.C) 09:18:18
5. Helena Isanta (Esierribikes) 09:21:30