LAMPRE-MERIDA went close to be in the top 10 of the Clasica de San Sebastian, a race which is traditionally unfavourable for the blue-fuchsia-colors.
Nelson Oliveira realized a fairly good performance, obtaining the 12th position after having battled for a place in the top 10, which was missed also because of a crash in the sprint of the group which was chasing the winner Adam Yates.
The British rider reach the arrival with 15″ on a 15 riders group in which there was Oliveira too, who was recovering positions in the sprint for the 2nd place but was forced to brake because of a crash of one of the cyclists who were preceding him (in photo Bettini, Oliveira, on the left of the image, is forced to change the trajectory in order to escape from the crash).
The race had been led from the start by a group of 8 riders with a top advantage of 4′.
The first change of the leadership happened on the second passage on the climb of the Jaizkibel, when 16 athletes overtook the former breakaway members.
On the Alto de Arkalis (-35 km), other 9 cyclists took the leadership of the race with a small advantage on a 50 riders group among whose members there were also the blue-fuchsia-green Oliveira, Serpa and Plaza, this last one had spent many energies to recover the group after a puncture.
The last climb of the course (Bordako Tontorra, summit at 7 km to the arrival) was the key moment for the winning attack by Yates, who resist to the chase of the chasing group in which Oliveira too was pedaling.
In the LAMPRE-MERIDA team, the race was completed also by Plaza, Serpa and Rui Costa, who all were in the top 100.
“We chose not to be in the main breakaway when we saw it was not a large attack, considering also that often in this race the breakaway did not reach the arrival – sport director Mauduit explained – We focused our energies in supporting those riders from our team who could exploit a good condition, namely the ones who had finished one week ago the Tour de France: Oliveira, Serpa and Plaza.
They were all in the main group in the final part of the race, but Plaza had to recover after a puncture in a key moment and so he spent many energies.
Oliveira was very competitive and he managed perfectly his energies, so he could be in the first chasers group taking part in the sprint for the top results, but his action was slowed by a crash of a rider.
For what concerns Rui Costa, it’s necessary to consider that today he was racing for the first time after the withdrawal from the Tour de France. His performance was fairly good, it was an important step in view of the next part of the season“.
1- Yates A. 5h30’22”
2- Gilbert 15″
3- Valverde s.t.
4- Moreno s.t.
5- Rodriguez s.t.
12- Oliveira s.t.
53- Plaza 2’29”, 67- Serpa 4’03”, 95- Rui Costa 15’06”, Mario Costa dnf, Koshevoy dnf, Pibernik dnf, Polanc dnf