39th Vuelta a Murcia
Stage 1: Yecla-San Javier (188.8 km)
The Manchego Isaac Canton, in his competitive debut in 2019, was the great protagonist of the Kometa Cycling Team in the start of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia. The former Spanish U23 champion was integrated in the break of seven riders who led much of the opening day, until a climb to the Alto del Cabezo de Plata that revolutionized the outcome of the day to the determination of the WorldTour Astana and Movistar squads.
Canton managed to form early the ‘good break’ in the company of Mikel Alonso (Euskadi Foundation), the Portuguese Nuno Bico (Burgos-BH), the American Robin Carpenter (Rally), the Russian Denis Nekrasov (Gazprom), the Belgian Mathias De Witte (Roompot) and the French Perrig Quémeneur (Direct Energie). The seven, representing seven of the eighteen teams in the race, would be able to quickly open differences and roll with just over four minutes of margin advantage. In the journey, Canton was involved in the fight for the intermediates sprints.
His adventure would end in the ascent to the only KOM of the day, where the work of Astana ended up gestating a group of seven other units, four riders of the Kazakh team (Jakob Fuglsang, Luis León Sánchez, Pello Bilbao and Omar Fraile); the Murcian Rubén Fernández and Alejandro Valverde, of Movistar; and Patrick Konrad (Bora). A group of many carats that rolled with half a minute on a second group, where the ‘kometa’ Juan Pedro Lopez fought his way in, and managed to reach the finish line with a few seconds, where he won and became the first leader of the race Pello Bilbao.
“I am happy with the legs I had. It was the first day of competition and I felt very good”, explains Cantón. “In the end I managed to pass the mountain pass in a second group, but in a moor exposed to the wind the Bora began to tense to try to get ahead and there I cut myself. It was already empty. But in general I’m happy, I think I’m on the right track. Tomorrow, more and better”. The cyclist from La Mancha would arrive in a small group that entered the finish line at 8:05 from the winner, one minute before another larger bunch in which Daniel Viegas, Samuele Rubino, José Antonio García and Antonio Puppio were.
Juan Pedro López was weighed down by a small mechanical breakdown during the climb that prevented him from continuing to be part of the chasing group of Valverde and company where the Mitchelton-Scott, the Katusha and the CCC were working. “It was going well, but I had a problem with one of the wheels, which loosened and I was cut off from Trentin’s group. It was going very fast and it was impossible for me to return to that group,” laments the Sevillian, the team’s trump card for a good overall classification. López, escorted by Juan Camacho, would arrive in a group at 2:56. The manchego finished in 63rd place, two before the man of Lebrija.
The race concludes this Saturday with the dispute of a second stage that promises strong emotions for the presence of four climbs scoring for the great prize of the mountain, especially the chained one, mediated the same one, of the Alto de Aledo and the Collado Bermejo. The Cresta del Gallo, with its summit and its technical descent just over ten kilometres to the end, will decide the outcome of this 177.3 kilometre stage between Beniel and the regional capital. And their general.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)