The Movistar Team’s winning momentum in 2017 remained alive in the 30th Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad de Madrid. After Richard Carapaz scored a 3rd place in Friday’s mountainous day towards Las Rozas, Saturday brought Carlos Barbero’s sprinting win in Valdemoro, end of stage two (148.5km).
The Spanish youngster -turned 26 last Saturday- was able to remain calm in a really fast (above 44kph average), attacking race, his team-mates freeing the Blues’ main hope for the day of any pressure. In the finale, the José Luis Laguía-led squad worked hard to bring down the dangerous move from Domingos Gonçalves (BOA) and Igor Merino (BUR), also setting up both Carapaz, 8th at the finish, and Barbero, who took his second victory of the 2017 season.
It’s the Spanish outfit’s 22nd success this year, the Movistar Team ready to profit from another chance on Sunday’s closing 19 laps around Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana (100km). At the capital’s financial district, Carapaz will also fight to conserve a coveted, well-fought overall podium finish.
Carlos Barbero: “It was a really fast stage, always with big groups going ahead – ten to twelve riders each. We always tried to put some of our riders into the moves to avoid suffering by being forced to push from behind. There were two different battles in today’s stage: one for the day’s win, another one to stay at the front and not losing any positions, because the GC is so tight that everything will come down to the sum of positions. We had to do some work into the escape, but we also needed to keep Richard in a good place and control the bunch for the sprint. My team-mates rode brilliantly.
“I am a rider who likes his job, wants to compete as much as possible and also keep strong form all over the season. That requires you to manage your energy and especially your fitness level all year long – when you’re a sprinter, you always want to be at 100%. After the Klasika Primavera in Amorebieta, I stopped racing for three weeks; I felt myself doing well in Asturias and I knew that some good things could happen here in Madrid. I hope to continue with this good streak all the way to the Spanish National Championships, then I’ll take on a longer stop to get ready for the late part of the season.
“Sunday’s stage will be another tough one. There will be plenty of teams interested on trying to improve their overall finish and chase the stage win – they will have to work as hard as we did today to get it. The win goes to all of my loved ones, everyone who always remains by my side, in good and bad moments. It would be a mistake not to think about them when things go well for you.”