Jesus Herrada wins Spanish national road race

Valverde second in Movistar one-two, Ion Izagirre third

Jesús Herrada sealed Movistar's eighth straight Spanish road title Sunday in Soria.

The 26-year-old from Cuenca triumphed out of a late skirmish of five riders in which he was accompanied by teammate Alejandro Valverde, Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Lluís Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Jesús Ezquerra (Sporting-Tavira).

Herrada took off from the group inside the final kilometre and went solo to net the second Spanish crown of his career after the one he collected in 2013.

Behind, Valverde controlled Izagirre and sprinted to the finish line to grab the silver medal, while the Basque rider had to settle for bronze.

How it unfolded

Not that long ago, the Spanish National Championship Road Race was a real contest. Several World Tour teams in Spain fought for the victory, and a number of Professional and Continental outfits contended and were able to make a difference or, at least, have an impact on the outcome of the race.

Nowadays, Movistar Team is the sole World Tour squad around, with the remarkably weaker Caja Rural - Seguros RGA being the only Professional one. Every year, the blue riders are majority and set the pace, while the green counterparts try to answer to their tactics and the rest of the bunch attacks with no hope of succeeding or just follows wheels waiting to scrape a medal or a top10 placing.

"Now it seems like our victory here is a foregone conclusion," says Movistar Team's Technical Director Alfonso Galilea, "and that puts a huge deal of pressure on our shoulders. But, believe me, it is not easy to race against a whole field yearning to see us lose."

Movistar Team hasn't known defeat in the race since 2009, when Rubén Plaza (then riding for Liberty Seguros) climbed faster than Alejandro Valverde up the hill leading to the Cueva del Soplao. As long as the landscape doesn't change dramatically with a brand new top-tier outfit arising in Spain, it seems unlikely that Movistar will give up their grip on Spanish nationals in the coming years.

Orica-Scott's Carlos Verona was the first to attack today. His move was immediately followed by more than 20 cyclists. Four of them were Movistar Team members who refused to take turns on the front as their teammates led the bunch behind. One was Mikel Landa (Team Sky), very active throughout the race, who eventually decided to stop and rejoin the bunch as he saw the move was bound to be aborted sooner or later. Several riders followed their example and the breakaway slimmed down to 10 units.

Iván García Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) featured in the breakaway and ended up upset about the development of the race. "With the Movistar riders drifting in the back of the group, it was impossible to cooperate," he said. Cortina went as far as to take off and engage on a solo breakaway that was interrupted by his DS, who asked him to stop and save energy in order to help teammate Ion Izagirre on his bid to reclaim a title that he had already won in 2014.

After 80 up-and-down kilometres, the race made it to the final circuit where the riders were to give six laps. Its 20 kilometres featured several hills and a guest no one initially counted on with: the wind.

As Movistar Team shut down the breakaway with two laps to go, Caja Rural tried to take advantage of this wind to tear the peloton down to pieces. Lluís Mas did a remarkable effort to up the pace that was echoed by the full Movistar Team. In the end, a 30-strong group formed with a clear majority of blue riders inside.

From then on, it was a matter of time until the right move for Movistar Team happened. It was Alejandro Valverde the one to make the decisive acceleration with 7 kilometres to go. Only his teammate Jesús Herrada, Ion Izagirre, Lluís Mas and Jesús Ezquerra (Sporting-Tavira) could follow him.

The rider from Murcia, by far the strongest cyclist today, considered that was an adequate group and decided to bring it to the finish line. "Alejandro has controlled the closing kiometres in amazing fashion," Herrada explained in the aftermath. "He took the responsibility of dragging the group to the bottom of the climb. I only had to sit on his wheel and save energy for my winning attack."

Herrada's acceleration couldn't be matched by anyone. He raised his arms in celebration as he crossed the finish line, and so did Valverde a few seconds later, notoriously happy after having handed the red-and-yellow jersey to his teammate.

Jesús Herrada is one of the most underrated talents of the Spanish peloton. Always regarded as a potential winner for almost every tough race he contested in thanks to his overall strength, his exceptional resilience and a nice kick when it came down to sprinting, in the last years he has used his engine to the service of the team rather than to look for his own results.

This week, several rumours have been whispered about the future of the 26-year-old rider from Cuenca and his brother José. Movistar Team is said to be willing to extend the former's contract, but not the latter's. "Our priority right now is to renew both contracts with Movistar Team before listening to the offers coming from elsewhere," Juan Campos, agent of the Herrada brothers, told Cyclingnews in the aftermath of the victory of his client.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jesús Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team5:08:45 
2Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:05 
3Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:00:06 
4Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:11 
5Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team  
6Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
7Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky0:00:15 
8Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:20 
9Oscar Hernandez (Spa) Louletano0:00:22 
10Sergio Rodriguez (Spa) Fundación Euskadi0:00:25 
11Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team  
12Angel Madrazo (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
13Beñat Txoperena (Spa) Euskadi Murias  
14Jesus Ezquerra (Spa) Tavira Sporting  
15Mikel Iturria (Spa) Euskadi Murias0:00:28 
16Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
17Oscar Pujol (Spa) Team Ukyo  
18Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Medellin0:00:42 
19Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
20Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team  
21Luis Mas (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
22Juanjo Aguero (Spa) Aldro  
23Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Club Ciclista Urbasa - Caja Rural0:01:06 
24Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:17 
25Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:30 
26Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:41 
27Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:02:24 
28Noel Martin (Spa) Kuota C. Paulino0:03:28 
29Francisco Garcia (Spa) Gsport Val. Wolfbike  
30Antonio J. Soto (Spa) Lizarte  
31Benjamin Prades (Spa) Team Ukyo  
32David De La Fuente (Spa) Louletano  
33Juan A. Lopez-Cozar (Spa) Fundación Euskadi  
34Pablo Torres (Spa) Burgos-BH  
35Iñaki Gozalbez (Spa) Mutua Levante  
36Pedro Merino (Spa) Supermerc. Froiz  
37Oscar Rodriguez (Spa) Euskadi Murias  
38Oscar Pelegri (Spa) Club Ciclista Urbasa - Caja Rural  
39Daniel Dominguez (Spa) Key Look  
40Ibai Salas (Spa) Burgos-BH  
41Iker Azkarate (Spa) Club Ciclista Urbasa - Caja Rural  
42Antonio Angulo (Spa) La Alum. Metalusa  
43Jose M. Gutierrez (Spa) Kuwait Cartucho.Es  
44Carlos A. Jimenez (Spa) Burgos-BH  
45Raul Garcia De Mateos (Spa) Alumin. Cortizo  
46Manuel Jimenez (Spa) Controlpack0:03:37 
47Martinez D.M. Raul (Spa) Hostal Latorre0:03:41 
48Rafael Marquez (Spa) Inteja Dominicana C.T.  
49Daniel Sanchez (Spa) Radio Pop. Boavista0:03:44 
50José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
51Sergio Casanova (Spa) Un Natural Greatness  
52Juan Perez (Spa) W52/FC Porto  
53Gabriel Reguero (Spa) Differdange Losch  
54Salvador Guardiola (Spa) Team Ukyo  
55Ismael Barba (Spa) Supermerc. Froiz  
56Oscar Cabedo (Spa) Escribano Sports T.0:03:52 
57Alvaro Trueba (Spa) Efapel  
58Mikel Aristi (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
59Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:54 
60Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:03:58 
61Albert Torres (Spa) Inteja Dominicana C.T.0:04:05 
62Jesus Alberto Rubio (Spa) Inteja Dominicana C.T.  
63Bernat Font (Spa) Gsport Val. Wolfbike  
64Julio Amores (Spa) Inteja Dominicana C.T.0:04:29 
65Javier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
66Llibert Senchoss (Spa) Kolss Cycling Team  
67Ivan Martinez (Spa) Gsport Val. Wolfbike  
68Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
69Víctor Etxeberria (Spa) Radio Pop. Boavista  
70Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
71Jokin Etxabe (Spa) Aevollo Pro0:04:36 
72Carlos Verona (Spa) Orica-Scott0:04:54 
73Marcos Garcia (Spa) Kinan Cycling T.  
74Ion Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
75Egoitz Fernandez (Spa) Team Ukyo  
76Mikel Elorza (Spa) Amore & Vita  
77Miguel Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
78Aritz Bagues (Spa) Euskadi Murias  
79Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:01 
80Miguel Llaneza (Spa) Kuota C. Paulino0:05:07 
81Miguel Gomez (Spa) Supermerc. Froiz  
82Manuel Sola (Spa) Club Ciclista Urbasa - Caja Rural0:05:13 
83Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Hangar 15 Bicycles  
84Jorge Cubero (Spa) Burgos-BH0:05:19 
85Jesus Montero (Spa) Bicic. Rodriguez Extrem.  
86Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Murias0:05:34 
87David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:05:40 
88Angel Gutierrez (Spa) Ec Cartucho – Magro0:06:07 
89Iñigo Ojeda (Spa) Telco’M Q. Step0:06:13 
90Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskadi Murias0:07:26 
91Victor Martinez (Spa) Controlpack0:08:07 
92Jesus Merino (Spa) Supermerc. Froiz  
93Oscar Linares (Spa) Burgos-BH  
94Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
95Mikel Ezkieta (Spa) Lizarte  
96Gotzon Udondo (Spa) Euskadi Murias  
97Marcos Jurado (Spa) Burgos-BH  
98Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team  
99Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga (Spa) Lizarte  
100Adrian Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Murias0:13:07 
101Alvaro Robredo (Spa) Burgos-BH0:13:51 
102Beñat Etxabe (Spa) Gomur Liebana 2017  
103Jacobo Ucha (Spa) W52/FC Porto0:15:40 

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