Gorka Izagirre (Euskatel-Euskadi), at age 23 and riding in his first Tour de France, distinguished himself in yesterday’s five man breakaway on the roads to the Mûr de Bretagne. Like Amets Txurruka in 2007, and Iban Mayo before him, the Spaniard rode aggressively throughout the day, and was the last of the escape to finally give in to the chasing peloton. Speaking after the race, Izagirre was happy with his efforts, though slightly disappointed to have been caught so close to the finish.
"At the start of the day we knew there was going to be an escape and that we had to be in it," explained Izagirre. "I personally thought the break would be bigger, but in the end we were only five."
"We rode well all day together, and made things difficult for the chase. Of course you never want to get caught and we put in a lot of effort in the finale to stay away, but in the end it was impossible."
Having a rider in the break took some of the pressure off the Euskatel-Euskadi team leader Samuel Sanchez, whose performance on the final climb was encouraging after a number of difficult days for the Spaniard.
"The team worked really well again today. After yesterday when we had Rubén [Pérez] get in the break, Gorka [Izagirre] got in there today and did really well," said Sanchez.
The Olympic Gold medallist, who finished fourth in the 2010 Tour de France, was one of the big losers of the stage one crash which also caught out pre-race favourite Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Sungard). The Spaniard however remains positive as the the race approaches his more favoured terrain in the high mountains.
"It’s been another stressful day, really fast and wet, and on the whole quite dangerous," explained Sancehez. "But I'm satisfied ticking off another stage. So far I think the Tour has gone okay on balance. To finish the stage with the front guys today gives me confidence that the form is there - and I think I'm on target to do well in the second and third weeks.