Russell Downing best for Endura Racing in 8th with a bunch kick at the end of the opening stage for this UCI 2.1 race.
The inaugural stage of the 27th Vuelta a Castilla y León was a 159km loop around Salamanca. On what was a very aggressive stage, a break of around ten riders escaped after 25 miles and Endura Racing had Jack Anderson there policing the move which didn’t stick.
Another move however with four riders was given some freedom and in this group was Alex Wetterhall (Endura Racing) who won the King of the Mountains in the Tour DoonHame last weekend. Wetterhall’s companions in the break were Shilov (Lokosphinx), Pedraza (EPM – UNE) and Zingle (Cofidis) and they opened up a big gap of over seven minutes before the bunch started to reel them in.
With Rabobank and Caja Rural leading the chase at the front of the peloton, the gap continued to fall and as every kilometre passed by, the more and more it was looking like a sprint, the only likely opportunity in this hilly race.
Endura Racing were working for Russell Downing in the finale but they had plenty of challengers including Rabobank with Luis Leon Sanchez and Graeme Brown working for Theo Bos. While that didn’t bear any fruit, with Bos having to brake on two occasions in the finale as Brown went through some gaps Bos wasn’t too keen on going through, Downing did his best in the mass gallop and finished 8th, yet another top 10 for the team in Europe.
The race now heads into a challenging weekend with stage two on Saturday featuring 158 kilometres around Ávila and four Category 2 ascents: the Cruz de Hierro and La Lancha in the opening phase, plus Arrebatacapas and La Paramera (18k from the finish) in the run prior to the traditional cobble section in the Wall of the province’s capital. This is likely to suit the likes of Jon Locke, the European number 1 outside of the World Tour.
1. Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso Caja Rural 03:45:05
2. Enrique Sanz Unzue Movistar Team @ same time
3. Francisco Jose Pacheco Torres Gios – Deyzer @ same time
4. Danilo Napolitano Acqua & Sapone @ same time
5. Sergio Miguel Vieira Ribeiro Efapel – Glassdrive @ same time
6. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle Andalucia – Caja Granada @ same time
7. Fabio Taborre Acqua & Sapone @ same time
8. Russell Downing Endura Racing @ same time
9. Anibal Andres Borrajo Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team @ same time
10. Jon Aberasturi Orbea – Oreka SDA @ same time
12. Theo Bos Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
21. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
24. Graeme Brown Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
38. Iker Camano Ortuzar Endura Racing @ same time
41. Paul Voss Endura Racing @ same time
52. Brice Feillu Saur – Sojasun @ same time
57. Jesse Sergent RadioShack – Nissan @ same time
61. Stefan Schumacher Christina Watches-Onfone @ same time
82. David Moncoutié Cofidis – Le Credit En Ligne @ same time
83. Michael Rasmussen Christina Watches-Onfone @ same time
84. Jonathan Tiernan-locke Endura Racing @ same time
89. Andréas Klöden RadioShack – Nissan @ same time
94. Alexander Wetterhal Endura Racing @ same time
98. Erick Rowsell Endura Racing @ same time
119. John Jack Anderson Endura Racing @ 54
144. Zakkari Dempster Endura Racing 14:22