The road rules and this Saturday was cruel with the good performance of the Fundación’s U23 team throughout the Vuelta a Madrid. Fran Muñoz and Andrea Montoli started the day in the top six, with options to fight for the victory in a demanding and hard stage with a lot of hardness concentrated in the last 40 kilometres. However, Muñoz, second, was involved in a crash in the first third of the day. He managed to return to the peloton, with effort and in the midst of the race’s growing launch, but on the climb to Santa María de la Alameda he had to find his rhythm, as did Montoli. They finally managed to retain a place in the top ten of the race, with Fran Muñoz finishing sixth and Andrea Montoli clinging on to tenth place.
Up until then, the blue team had been moving its cards for the final part of the race. Gabriele Raccagni rode in a seven-rider breakaway that was completed by Álex Díaz (Baqué), Iker Mintegi (Laboral Kutxa), Pietro Ferrari (Rostese), Baptiste Vadic (Vendée U), Pablo Torres (Spanish National Team), Juan Pedro Lozano (Valverde) and that was selected on the climb to La Escondida, which was not scored, before the impetus of Mintegi. Behind, in the group of favourites, there were also some movements, to which Fran Muñoz responded and which left the group with around thirty riders.
Diego Uriarte (Finisher), who started the last day fifth in the classification, assaulted the leadership of Jaume Guardeño (Caja Rural) with an attack on the false flat after the climb to Santa María de la Alameda in which he managed to amass enough advantage to manage the climbs to Robledondo and the very hard final ramps in the streets of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the team: “The afternoon before, in the chat, we were already talking about Diego Uriarte as a firm favourite because after the stage in Alcalá de Henares he was in a very close position in the general classification and he is a rider who has a lot of vision and when he moves he does it to do damage. He was one of the most dangerous. We couldn’t have had the best day, we started with the idea of being conservative until the final part, although always subject to the evolution of the stage. Raccagni, who has been very good in a terrain that is not his own, was in the breakaway with a view to that moment. However, Fran was involved in a fall and in the end this incident, because of the moment and the heat, ended up having an influence. It’s a pity, we were on the podium and had a chance to compete, but that’s how the day turned out. All in all, we did a good job but we lacked that all-important finishing touch”.
[📷 Vuelta a Madrid]