Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) became the first British rider to win the Clasica Almeria today as he out sprinted Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and teammate, Mark Renshaw to take the win. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had an unfortunate day with a late crash ruining our chances of a result.
The early break of the day consisted of 5 riders but their lack of collaboration would be their undoing as they continued to attack each other over the course of the race. Eventually with 40km still to race, the Etixx and Katusha led peloton had brought the race back together. The pressure the two World Tour teams placed on the peloton, coupled with some cross winds caused a split in the group, seeing 58 riders make up the business end of the race.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had to bide its time with only 5 riders lining up today due to a few team crashes in recent weeks. The reduced number of starters for our African team made positioning our go-to-man, Tyler Farrar, slightly more difficult, yet Tyler and Matt Brammeier were still able to make the front selection.
Things were looking good for Tyler but unfortunately with 2km to go there was a big crash in the lead group which Tyler was caught behind. This disruption caused the American to lose positions rapidly as the pace was on right at the front, also meaning he could not contest the finale. In the end Matt Brammeier was the team’s best finisher.
Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
The race pretty much went as expected. There was a small break early on which Etixx then controlled all day. As expected, we knew there could be crosswinds around the 45km mark and that is exactly where it split. We made the front selection with Matt and Tyler, with Matt obviously doing all he could for Tyler. Tyler was feeling really good and said he had super legs. Unfortunately he was caught behind the crash at 2km to go. Luckily he didn’t go down but it meant he had no possible options to contest for the win. It is bad luck for our team because Tyler felt he really could have won, or at least finished on the podium today.