6/23/2013 - NEWS!

Herrada wins Spanish road race championship

Movistar rider triumphs over Izagirre and LL Sanchez


The young gun of Movistar Team Jesús Herrada won today the Spanish road race championships, defeating Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel) by attacking him with one kilometer to go. Both Herrada and Izagirre were part of a group of six that broke away in the final part of the race, and managed to stay away although the peloton chased hard. Bronze medal was earned by Luis León Sánchez (Blanco), who was the fastest in the reduced bunch sprint.

The triumph of Herrada extends Movistar's winning streak at Spanish road race championships, with four victories in the last four editions of the event. That dominance was portrayed in the unfolding of today's race, held in a hilly route around Bembibre.

16 out of the 90 riders who took the start were part of the blue squad. That prominent majority and a proactive approach meant Movistar was the uncontested overlord, deciding which move was given a go and which one not.

"We had a strong majority in the decisive point of the race and we took advantage of it," Herrada said. "If they told me yesterday I would be winning today, I wouldn't believe them, but I can't believe it now either!.

"This gives me confidence for the future, because 2012 wasn't a good season for me - despite the win in Asturias, it turned out badly for me, and I didn't kick off this season well either - the April classics were hard for me and I couldn't bounce back until the Tour de Suisse. It's hard to know which kind of a rider am I, but I do well in one-week stageraces, especially those ones with a TT, and also in hard one-day races. We'll see how I evolve in the future."

The squad from Navarra chased an early breakaway of five after it had built a noticeable 2'30" gap, to later allow a move which featured its rider Imanol Erviti (Movistar), along with Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Darío Hernández (Burgos BH) and Igor Merino (Euskadi). Fran Ventoso (Movistar) added himself later to the mix, jumping from the peloton to bridge to the group despite the five minutes advantage it had in a demonstration of strength.

With two Movistar riders on the front, Euskaltel had to assume the responsibility of taking down the breakaway, which after some attacks was reduced only to Erviti and Astarloza. At this point, thinking Erviti might lose to Astarloza one-on-one, Movistar chased hard and sent Jesús Herrada up the road; and chaos developed to unification.

With 20 kilometers and two climbs to go, the race started from scratch with a reduced bunch of 50 riders, with 7 Movistar and 8 Euskaltel. Despite having lost its majority, Movistar kept controlling. Two of its riders, Ángel Madrazo and Jesús Herrada, went away with Ion Izagirre (Euskaltel), David Arroyo (Caja Rural), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi) and Tino Zaballa (Christina Watches).

In the last climb, with five kilometers to go, Herrada and Izagirre went clear and managed to not be chased by a disorganized peloton. Under the banner of one kilometer to go, fearing Izagirre's power in the sprint, 22-year-old Herrada launched the attack which allowed him to win the title comfortably. Winning the sprint of the bunch had the bronze medal as prize, and it was Luis León Sánchez who achieved it, collecting his second badge of the week after the silver one he obtained in Friday's time trial.

"When Erviti and Astarloza went away, we decided to chase on full steam and play our cards in the finale by making things as hard as possible into the climbs," Herrada said. "I attacked with Madrazo in one of those, and at the final slope, with 3k to go, I moved again with Izagirre. We cooperated well until the last kilometer when I attacked - I knew it was hard to beat him into a sprint - and it went well."

The main race of the Spanish National Championships, as the whole event, was overshadowed by the tragedy of Rufino Murguía. Euskaltel's masseur had a traffic accident on Thursday, while driving the team's bus to Bembibre. He was hospitalized for three days and finally passed away tonight. Both Herrada and Izagirre dedicated their achievements to Murguía's memory, while the Basque rider admitted this have been "very, very tough days" in the Euskaltel camp.

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