47th Vuelta al Bidasoa
Stage 4: Irun-Irun (77.3 km)
The last stage of the Vuelta al Bidasoa, of great exigency for the entity of some of its orographic difficulties, the peculiarities of some of its descents and its reduced mileage, was the scene of a small turn in a final general where the granadino Alejandro Ropero, brilliant winner of the first stage and leader during three days, fell until the third place of the classification. The British Simon Carr and the ‘caja rural’ Carmelo Urbano consolidated a leak that reached the last goal with more than a minute of margin (1:12 exactly) on their immediate pursuers, including Ropero. For Carr it was the stage and for Urbano, who takes over from Juan Pedro López, the overall.
A nervous stage was foreseen, with a lot of movement. The riders of the Kometa worked hard to keep their development controlled and the leader, well clothed. Up to six riders accompanied Ropero until the stage reached the ascent of San Martzial. Carr went on the attack in the demanding ascent of Erlaitz, the last of the orographic difficulties. Ropero, aware of his climbing skills, jumped to fill the gap, but ended up paying those efforts. From behind, Urbano took advantage of this situation to catch up with Ropero, leave him behind and go for Carr.
Both Carr and Urbano would join in the lead while Ropero remained between two waters to end up being taken by a small group of five units where came Alex Martin. The Catalan, ultimately the best U-20 runner of this edition, was used thoroughly to iron out the disadvantage to the maximum by pulling next to Ropero. But the pulse was very even, with a gap of 50 seconds that was maintained since there were ten kilometers left for the end until five were missing. There was no margin to cover that gap.
“We gave everything we had, we fought as hard as we could and with the strength we had. The rivals have been superior and from here I would like to congratulate them both. The team was out of ten, all my team mates were spectacular and we proved to be the strongest team in the race. In the end we achieved some results, and we have to be happy about it, but there is still that bittersweet taste of not having been able to close the overall. This continues and soon we will reach new goals where we can fight for the maximum”, says Alejandro Ropero.
The prestigious race in Gipuzkoa concluded with four riders of the Kometa Cycling Team among the first twelve classified (Alejandro Ropero, 3º to 1:10; Álex Martín, 5º, to 1:18; Alessandro Fancellu, 9º to 2:44; Carlos García, 12º to 3:44), a fact that cemented the victory of the under23 formation of the Alberto Contador Foundation in the general team classification. In addition, Álex Martín won the general U-20 rider and Ropero himself in the regularity.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)