The opening day of the Ruta del Sol saw riders competing over 2 half stages. The morning road stage was a crash affected affair won by Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal) ahead of Fabio Silvestre (Trek Factory Racing) and Grega Bole (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). The afternoon time trial was dominated by Javier Moreno (MOV) with Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling) completing the podium.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as we had 5 of our riders go down in the mornings stage. Luckily all our riders got up relatively unscathed. Tyler Farrar and Steve Cummings got through the carnage to finish with the front runners. Tyler mixed it up in the sprint finish but found himself slightly boxed in and ended the stage in 5th.
With a tender group of riders, it was a matter of getting through the short and very technical time trial in one piece. All our riders got around safely with Steve posting the fastest time to finish 28″ off the winner in 32nd place. Our riders will now look ahead to coming stages in the hope of animating the race.
The 2nd stage of Ruta del Sol is a 194km road stage and you can watch all the action live on SuperSport 7 from 14:30 (CAT) tomorrow.
Jay Thomson – Rider
The morning stage was really easy until about 25km to go when the crosswinds started to come into play. With no team really committed to making it split and everyone still having fresh legs, it was destined to be crazy in the final. Steve, Matt and myself were right in front to set up Tyler for the sprint but an AG2R rider touched wheels and took out 3 of us among the 30 odd other guys in the bunch. Tyler managed to get through with Steve and with no help still managed 5th. It is disappointing though because as a team we definitely had more in us for today but at least we all walk away with minor injuries.
Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
Today’s morning stage was once again affected by crashes. At 7km to go, 4 Alpecin and 2 Sky riders went down right at the front of the bunch because of the crosswinds and high speed. With 5km to go there was yet another big crash that split the bunch further. Matt, Jay, Songezo, Merhawi and Nic all hit the deck. Fortunately none sustained any major injuries. After the crashes the race was so disorganised at the front but Tyler managed to get through the chaos and finish 5th. Tomorrow is another day and will try hard to win.