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Despite dropping team captain Landa and having one rider go down in a crash, Astana took a dominant win in the Vuelta a Burgos TTT to put Sanchez into the overall lead; Caja Rural and Movistar completed the podium

Photo: Sirotti










05.08.2015 @ 16:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Astana put themselves in the perfect position to go for the overall win at the Vuelta a Burgos when they crushed the opposition in the stage 2 team time trial. Despite dropping team captain Mikel Landa (Astana) on the late climb and having one of their riders go down in a crash, four of their riders still managed to stop the clock in a time that was 28 seconds faster than the ones set by Caja Rural and Movistar. Luis Leon Sanchez takes the overall lead.


Astana went into the Vuelta a Burgos with the goal of taking the overall win with Vuelta a Burgos. After a solid start in yesterday’s uphill sprint, they faced their first big test in today’s 14km team time trial where they hoped for TT specialists Rein Taaramae and Luis Leon Sanchez to power their climbers to important time gains.


After the stage, the Kazakhs find themselves in a great position when it comes to chasing the overall win but it won’t be team captain Landa that will have the task of going for the overall honours. The team was in a class of their own in the short, undulating test in Burgos but the Basque captain was dropped on the late climb and has now dropped out of GC contention.


In general, it was a dramatic ride for Astana as another rider went down in a crash after he had been distanced. However, Sanchez, Taaramae, Miguel Angel Lopez and Michele Scarponi stayed together and reached the finish in a time of 14.50 which was clearly the best.


Surprisingly, their biggest rivals were Caja Rural who have never been known for their TTT prowess. However, the Spaniard put in a great ride to take second with a time of 15.18. In fact, it could have been even better if race leader Carlos Barbero had not gone down in the final turn, splitting the team in two. Nonetheless, four riders managed to stay upright and their time was only beaten by Astana.


Movistar are without defending champion Nairo Quintana but still hope for a good ride for his brother Dayer, Jesus Herrada, Ruben Fernandez and Winner Anacona. With a time of 15.18, they finished third but a time loss of 28 seconds to Astana will be a bitter pill to swallow.


Things were even worse for Daniel Moreno’s Katusha team as the Russians could only manage 15.22 and so last year’s runner-up lost a massive 32 seconds. The final WorldTour team, Ag2r, completed the podium.


After gaining one second on his teammates yesterday, Sanchez now leads the race with a one-second advantage over Taaramae, Lopez and Scarponi as they go into the third stage. With only an early category 3 climb, it is the easiest stage of the race and unless the winds plays a role, a bunch sprint is expected.


A short team time trial

After the opening day for puncheurs, bigger time gaps were expected in stage 2 which was the first big test for the GC riders. The riders would tackle a 13.14km team time trial around the city of Burgos on the second day. The roads were mostly flat but there was a small climb in the second half and this would test the cohesiveness of the team.


As usual, it was great sunshine in Spain when the local Burgos team rolled down the ramp as the first team. The Spaniards delivered a great performance to stop the clock in 15.28 and this time proved to be better than most had expected.


Ag2r take the lead

Ag2r-La Mondiale was the first WorldTour team to hit the course but surprisingly they had gone six seconds slower than Burgos at the intermediate time. However, the Frenchmen gauged their efforts better and when they stopped the clock in 15.24 they had gone four seconds faster than Burgos.


Bretagne was the next team to reach the finish and they had been 7 seconds slower than their compatriots at the split time. They did better in the second half but could only manage third with a time of 15.32.


Italian teams off the pace

Southeast had been two seconds faster than Bretagne at the split time but Mauro Finetto’s team was unable to maintain the speed. Their time of 15.33 was only good enough for fourth place at a time when four teams had reached the finish.


Nippo-Vini Fantini are in the race with Damiano Cunego but as he is coming back from injury, their main goal is to regain race speed. They have never been specialists in this discipline and they were the slowest team yet when they reached the finish.


Murias Taldea and Colombia suffers

Murias Taldea don’t have much experience in this discipline and so it was no surprise that the continental team suffered. The Basques stopped the clock in 15.46 to slot into sixth out of six teams.


Yesterday Colombia made it clear that they expected to suffer in today’s stage and so it was no surprise to see them close to the bottom of the results sheet. The South Americans stopped the clock in 15.45 which was just one second faster than Murias Taldea.


Astana crush the opposition

Astana were the first of the favourites to hit the course and they fully lived up to expectations by crushing the opposition at the time check where they were 14 seconds faster than Ag2r. The second part of their race didn’t go to plan as Landa was dropped and another rider crashed but the minimum of four riders reached the finish in a time of 14.50 which was a massive 34 seconds faster than Ag2r.


Katusha won the team time trial in this race a few years ago and they were eager to repeat that performance. However, already at the intermediate check it was evident that they were off the pace as they had been 18 seconds slower than Astana and when they crossed the line in 15.22, they had lost no less than 32 seconds to their rivals.


Great ride by Caja Rural

Defending champions Movistar got the race off to a slow start as they were 8 seconds slower than Katusha at the intermediate check. As usual, they were stronger in the second half and their time of 15.18 was good enough for provisional second place.


Caja Rural have never been known for their TTT skills but Barbero’s team delivered a surprisingly good performance. They were faster than both Movistar and Katusha at the intermediate check and even though Barbero’s late crash significantly hampered their progress, their time of 15.18 was still good enough for second.



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