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Jens Voigt's final pro bike – complete with 'shut up legs' mantra
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Defending champion Sanchez second, Plaza third
Spanish men's time trial podium (L-R): Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco), Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) and Ruben Plaza (Movistar)
Movistar's Jonathan Castroviejo won the Spanish Time Trial Championship today in Bembibre, defeating by a clear margin the defending title holder, Luis León Sánchez (Blanco), and his Movistar teammate Rubén Plaza. Castroviejo clocked 54:52 for the 44km course, 45 seconds faster than Sánchez and 1:46 better than bronze medalist Plaza. With this victory, his first national time trial title, Castroviejo took satisfaction with his victory over Luis León, after finishing runner-up to the Murcian rider in the two previous editions of this event.
The time trial route was 44 kilometres long and was reportedly flat; however, it proved to be tough for the competitors. "There is no easy TT," said Rubén Plaza, laughing.
Castroviejo provided his assessment of the route. "At the start, there was a relatively long section of false flat which created some [time] differences. After that, we had to face about 20 kilometres that, although flat or even descending, featured strong winds. That's the section which decided the outcome of the race, since the final kilometres were ridden with a tailwind."
Castroviejo was the best throughout the whole race, which he admitted to be "a goal" for his season. He set the fastest times at all the intermediate check points, increasingly distancing his rivals. Those included Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde, who reportedly took part in the competition in order to test his aero position, recently improved in the wind tunnel of Sierra Nevada with an eye on the time trials at the upcoming Tour de France. As a result, Valverde took a respectable 5th place in his first participation in this event so far.
Meanwhile, youngster Carlos Verona (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has having a good ride, 7th at the mid-race check point on a course not suited to his light weight, but the 20-year-old crashed and was forced to abandon, although no severe injuries were reported.
Defending champion Luis León Sánchez was a little disappointed, after failing to deliver what would have been his fifth championship and fourth straight. "I took part in the Tour of Belgium and the Tour de Suisse in order to get in shape for this race, but I just felt slower and slower as the kilometres went by," he said. "I think that the gear I used was too big," explained the Murcian, who was supported by the vehicle and staff of his regional federation.
The competition's mood was tempered by the serious accident which involved a Euskaltel-Euskadi bus on the eve of the race. The vehicle was severely damaged by its crash with a truck, while the bus's driver, masseur Rufino Murguía, is currently in the ICU of the Hospital de Burgos. His medical condition is considered "severe" but no information about the nature of his injuries has been made public.
Winner Jonathan Castroviejo paid tribute to Murguía after his victory, while Euskaltel's rider Jon Izagirre had a stellar performance but finished in fourth place, just 17 seconds shy of a podium result.
|1||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Movistar Team)||0:54:52|
|2||Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)||0:00:45|
|3||Ruben Plaza Molina (Movistar Team)||0:01:46|
|4||Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi)||0:02:03|
|5||Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar Team)|
|6||Eloy Teruel Rovira (Movistar Team)||0:02:24|
|7||Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar Team)||0:03:04|
|8||Alejandro Manuel Marque Porto (OFM-Quinta Da Lixa)||0:03:13|
|9||Markel Irizar Aranburu (RadioShack Leopard)||0:03:53|
|10||Omar Fraile Matarranza (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)||0:03:57|
|11||Victor De La Parte Gonzalez (SP Tableware)||0:04:02|
|12||Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Euskaltel-Euskadi)||0:04:19|
|13||Jose Antonio De Segovia Botella (Supermercados Froiz)||0:04:27|
|14||David Muntaner Juaneda (Performance Felt)||0:04:34|
|15||Raul Garcia De Mateos Rubio (Gsport Valencia)||0:04:38|
|16||Igor Merino Cortazar (Euskadi)||0:04:48|
|17||Delio Fernandez Cruz (OFM-Quinta Da Lixa)||0:04:56|
|18||Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Efapel-Glassdrive)||0:05:12|
|19||Ivan Martinez Jimenez (Gsport Valencia)||0:05:25|
|20||Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur (Eustrak Euskadi)||0:05:37|
|21||Luis Mas Bonet (Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon)||0:05:39|
|22||Jon Larrinaga Muguruza (Euskadi)||0:05:42|
|23||Jose Rafael Martinez Castillo (Diputación León)||0:05:44|
|24||Illart Zuazubiskar Gallastegi (Euskadi)||0:06:08|
|25||Josep Betalu Constantino (Gsport Valencia)||0:06:23|
|26||Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Leopard-Trek Continental Team)||0:06:35|
|27||Daniel Dominguez Barragan (Doltcini-Flanders)||0:06:44|
|28||Adrian Saez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)||0:06:52|
|29||Eduardo Garcia Martinez (Frío Julymar)||0:07:22|
|30||Jose Manuel Gutierrez Revuelta (Telco'm Conor)||0:07:49|
|31||Oscar Pujol Muñoz (Polygon Sweet Nice)||0:07:52|
|32||Armando Ortego De La Rubia (Lizarte)||0:08:25|
|33||Sergio Miguez Bello (Supermercados Froiz)||0:08:52|
|34||Manuel Alberto Molina Rubia (Motos Andrés)||0:09:20|
|35||Luis Adriano Mansilla Menendez (Const. Paulino)||0:09:48|
|36||Aser Estevez Cividanes (Supermercados Froiz)||0:09:59|
|37||Diego Alvarez (Rías Baixas CC)||0:10:58|
|38||David Carrillo (Spol CC Porriño)||0:12:24|
|39||Julio Maiques (Gomur Cantabria)||0:12:27|
|40||Jesus Maria Linares (Autronic Vigués)||0:13:42|
|41||Diego Rodriguez (Frío Julymar)||0:19:12|
|42||Cristian Escudero (Rías Baixas CC)||0:20:34|