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The Orbea Team dominated the race in Banyoles - Pla de l'Estany in Girona, Spain. The first event in...
The Orbea Team dominated the race in Banyoles - Pla de l'Estany in Girona, Spain. The first event in an eight-race series drew more than 500 riders from 11 different nations.
Last year's winner José Antonio Hermida (Multivan-Merida) seized control of the race early by setting the pace on the first 3km loop. Then Julien Absalon, current Olympic Champion and three-time World Champion, attacked aggressively and finished the first of five laps with a ten second gap on a chase group consisting of Hermida (Multivan-Merida) and the two Orbea riders Ruben Ruzafa and Jean Cristoph Peraud. Back at 42 seconds was a group of three composed of Cedric Ravanel (Lapierre), Peter Riis (Team ALB-Gold) and Sergio Mantecón (Massi).
From that moment on, Absalon ruled the race perfectly with Peraud and Ruzafa controlling the attacks from Hermida. This chase group was losing time on the leader, so spectators switched to the question of who would be the one not to make the podium.
The two Orbea riders attacked Hermida a few times, trying to burn the Multivan-Merida rider. The strategy worked perfectly, and Ruzafa escaped from his French colleague and Hermida, going for the second spot. In the last lap, Peraud also opened a very small gap on Hermida, but still enough to get the third position and give Orbea a podium sweep.
In the women's race, Marga Fullana (Spiuk-Tau) dominated easily. She escaped from her rivals right from the beginning and finished in 1:18:43 about two and a half minutes ahead of French rider Cecile Ravanel (Lapierre). Laurance Leboucher (Sarthe-Gasseau) rounded out the top three in 1:22:29, and Sandra Santanyes (Massi) took fourth.
To read the complete report, click here.