Riccardo Verza ends the day as the most combative cyclist
42º Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos
Stage 2: Castrojeriz-Villadiego (168 km)
Getting on the podium is always important. It’s the finishing touch to a job well done. Greater visibility. More exposure. There is no need to go into too much detail about the double importance of a continental category structure in the face of the World Tour and Continental Professional squads. Such was the case this Wednesday. Diego Pablo Sevilla caressed him on Tuesday fighting for the mountain. But in the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, a day without mountain difficulties but with a good repechage, the Italian Riccardo Verza ended up being recognized as the most combative rider of the day.
He could have taken the prize Kiko Galván, of the Kern Pharma, in escape for second consecutive day and offensive in the rales of the breakaway; or Joel Nicolau, of the Caja Rural, the last of the five adventurers. Perhaps it weighed heavily on Verza’s fight to regain the lead in the race when the quintet mutated into a trio with 26 kilometres to go and the peloton 40 seconds away. The truth is that, in a great closing to his great day, Verza climbed to the podium. The five adventurers, with more than 140 kilometres of runaway, did their part.
Between Castrojeriz and Villadiego, Verza, Galván, Nicolau, Ángel Fuentes (Burgos-BH) and the Italian Alessandro Fedelli (Nippo-Delko) made up the quintet that ran away until the race entered the last fifteen kilometres. In front of a pack with the leader’s Bora-Hansgrohe pulling, in a day without much wind, the advantage of the five adventurers moved during many kilometers between the four and five minutes of margin. In the last fifty kilometers of the stage, the peloton increased its pace and reduced the disadvantage to two and a half minutes.
Within the final thirty kilometers that gap was already under the minute and only Galvan’s offensive movement revitalized the escape a little to keep it a dozen more kilometers, already without Angel Fuentes in the race. The breakaway was definitely caught within the final fifteen kilometers, on a steep slope that began to wreak havoc on a platoon that would break up on another later steep slope, given the high pace, located within the last five kilometers. Of the 1,335 meters of accumulated climb that came out of Verza’s cyclo-computer, a few were concentrated at the end.
“The truth is that I wasn’t expecting the award for most combative cyclist, but it makes me very happy. Above all because of the type of roads we had to face all day, a very long route, up and down all day long”, explains Verza himself. The Italian was able to reconnect with the head of the race when some hostility broke out during the breakaway: “I was at the back when it happened, but fortunately I had enough legs to be able to plug that gap”. The second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos was solved to the sprint, with victory for the Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE).
Gaviria won with authority in a final where the finosomia of the bunch was conditioned by a steep slope close to the finish and by a crash in the last curve. Alejandro Ropero (33rd in goal, first classified of the team), Antonio Puppio and Alessandro Fancellu managed to cross the finish line in that first group, supported by the work of their teammates in the previous kilometers. “Five kilometers from the end there was a steep slope that cut everything”, said José Antonio García. The general classification remains unchanged. Antonio Puppio remains as the first rider of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team in the general classification.
… And this Thursday, objectively an etapón. In the universe of the lovers of the ascensions and their graphic expression the community of Altimetrias.com is a whole reference. In its web and forum they have been sharing for several years some orographic difficulties that, with time, come to the professional competitive cycling. The Picón Blanco, the first of the high finals of this Tour of Burgos, is another good example. The access road to an old military installation located at more than 1,500 meters of altitude is a very demanding climb. In its 8.5 kilometres, the average slope is over 9%, with three kilometres over 10% and maximum ramps of 18%. A very difficult finish for a 150-kilometre stage with a very misleading route through the regions of Páramos, Sedano and Las Loras and, above all, Las Merindades.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
📷 Ricardo Ordóñez (1 y 4), Captura TV (2), Santi Otero (3).