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One day after his big disappointment, Betancu bounced back by winning stage 2 of the Vuelta Asturias, beating Ferrari in a two-rider sprint; Carthy retained the lead

Photo: Gomez Sport / Luis Ángel Gómez

CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA

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CARLOS ALBERTO BETANCUR

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HUGH CARTHY

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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VUELTA ASTURIAS

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01.05.2016 @ 20:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One day after Movistar had lost all chances of overall victory in the Vuelta Asturias, the team bounced back in the best possible way as Carlos Betancur rode to an impressive stage win on day 2 of the race. Having attacked from a small group after the final climb, he beat Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural) in a two-rider sprint, with Alexander Vdovin (Lokosphinx) making a late attack to take third. Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural) retained the lead.

 

After his stage win at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and his great performance at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Carlos Betancur went into Vuelta Asturias as arguably the biggest favourite. In fact, his form is so good that the race was a late addition to his calendar as Movistar are considering bringing him to the Giro d’Italia to make use of the fact that he has finally found some form.

 

However, it all came to nothing as he was unable to keep up with the best in the queen stage on the first day where Caja Rural demolished the opposition on an embarrassing day for Movistar. However, Betancur proved his great form and competitive mindset as he bounced back in the best possible way by winning today’s second stage of the race in a fashion very similar to the one that saw him come out on top on the first stage in Castilla y Leon.

 

After the queen stage on the first day, the riders faced an easier second stage which brought them over 186.7km from Cangas del Narcea to La Pola La Lena. After a flat start, there were five category 3 climbs on the menu, with the final ascent summiting with 15.2km to go. From there a descent led to a slightly rising final section.

 

The peloton was greeted by excellent sunshine when they gathered for the start and all riders were present as they rolled out from the neutral zone. Marc Soler (Movistar) was the first rider to escape in a solo move but he was quickly brought back. Instead, Paolo Ciavatta (D’Amico) and his teammate Imanol Erviti (Movistar) moved ahead but it was hard to get much of an advantage. W52 were working to defend Raul Alarcon’s mountains jersey and so they reduced the gap to just 20 seconds at the 43km mark. Hence, the duo was brought back after a very fast start to the stage.

 

The attacking started again as Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) was brought down in a crash during this hectic phase. The aggression resulted in a front septet with Soler, Betancur, Aitor Gonzalez (Euskadi), Victor Martin (Burgos), Nestor Garcia (Boyaca), Sergio Higuita (Manzana), and Rafael Marquez (Inteja). However, there was some reshuffling as Soler, Marquez, Gonzalez and Higuita stayed ahead after having been joined by Miguel Florez (Boyaca) , Pablo Torres (Burgos), Alarcon and Guillaume De Almeida (Radio Popular).

 

Caja Rural started to chase and as the terrain got hillier, they dropped lots of riders. They didn’t give the break much leeway and the was only around a minute for some time until it went out to two minutes as they hit a steep climb at the midpoint of the race.

 

With 87km to go, Caja Rural had brought it down to 1.10 and this prompted the escapees to start to attack each other. Only five riders were still ahead as they approached the finish line for the first time.

 

The break was brought back before they hit the Carabanzo climb where Manzana went on the attac with their trio of Hernan Parra, Sergio Higuita and Bernardo Suaza. The fast pace meant that the peloton was whittled down to just around 40 riders.

 

With 20km to go, the front trio had been brought back and it was a compact peloton that hit the Carabazo climb for the second time. Caja Rural and Euskadi set the pace when a big crash split the field.

 

Euskadi were preparing an attack from Benat Txoperena but he had no luck. Instead, Daniel Moreno tried his hard but race leader Hugh Carthy easily responded and it was a 12-rider group that reached the top together.

 

Betancur, Moreno (Movistar), Sergio Pardilla, Carthy, Eduard Prades, Angel Madrazo, Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Garikoitz Bravo, Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi), Jesus Del Pino (Burgos), Federico Figueiredo (Radio Popular), David Rodrigues (Radio Popular), Suaza, Antonio Carvalho (W52), Alexander Vdovin and Sergey Shilov (Lokosphinx) had made the selection after another five riders had rejoined the group. They were preparing themselves for a sprint finish but Betancur and Ferrari managed to escape. They managed to stay clear and Betancur had no trouble beating his companion in the sprint. Vdovin escaped late to take third while Moreno beat Shilov in the sprint for fourth 16 seconds behind the leaders.

 

Carthy rolled across the line at the back of the group and so retained his 26-second lead over Pardilla. He faces a tough final stage. Most of the short 121.5km stage that will bring the riders from Bueno to Oviedo, is a relatively easy affair. The first half is littered with four category 3 climbs but then things get significantly easier in the second half where the terrain is predominantly flat. However, the sprinters will be left disappointed as the stage has a nasty sting in its tail. The category 2 El Violeo (3.6km, 8.2%) summits just 7.3km from the finish and from there it is downhill until the riders get to the flat final 3km.

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