54th Circuito del Guadiana
Don Benito – Don Benito (174.4 km)
Second place for the Barcelona Álex Martín and fourth for the Pucelan Vicente Hernaiz in the Alonso Martín de Don Benito Avenue, goal of an edition of the Guadiana Circuit in which the last ascent to the village of Magacela was fundamental. There, the Uruguayan Mauricio Moreira (Rias Baixas) started, overtook the head of the race Mario Aparicio (Gomur) and consolidated in the final twenty kilometres a minute on a quartet where the two cyclists of the Kometa-Xstra u23 were riding. The good group performance of the Kometa-Xstra in the first appointment of the 2020 Spanish Cup, second team in general, was the presence of David Martin in the top-ten: seventh. Álex Martín is the first leader of the Spanish Cup in the u23 category.
Four cyclists, Miguel Juan (Netllar Telecom-Ale), Mario Aparicio (Gomur), Aitor Bugarín (Froiz) and Colombian Fabián Castillo (Colnago), managed to open up a gap after the first pass through Magacela and stood out, with more than four and a half minutes of margin, at the head of the race. Despite a few lone attempts to catch up, the peloton rolled with a certain amount of calm, losing more units with each pass through Magacela. With the race passing the 100 km barrier, the breakaway and the main peloton were separated by 2:20. The course of the race guaranteed further movement on the third climb to the iconic Pacense steep slope. And so it was.
In the breakaway, Mario Aparicio started and broke the barrier. In the peloton, at the front, one could see runners from the Lizarte, Escribano, Fundación Manuela, Rias Baixas and Kometa-Xstra, among others. It will be the moment when Aparicio from Burgos manages to consolidate more than a minute’s lead over a new race situation in which Arturo Grávalos takes a step forward. The Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team rider from La Rioja leads the group and ends up acting as a bridge between the runaway and the pack in the company of Colombian Victor Ocampo (Colnago).
The pack flew out on the final lap and on the final climb to Magacela the head of that group was half a minute behind Mario Aparicio. Alex Martin and Vicente Hernaiz were both in the lead and Grávalos was a little further back. The Uruguayan Mauricio Moreira (Vigo-Rias Baixas), very active in the lead together with the Ecuadorian Santiago Montenegro (Escribano), will catapult himself from it, will hunt Aparicio and will leave him behind in the first measures of the descent. It was the beginning of a particular exhibition.
With fifteen kilometers to go, with a fifteen second lead, Moreira will keep a pulse on a quintet where Pucelan Vicente Hernaiz and Catalan Alex Martín are shooting, one minute away, together with Álex López (Lizarte), Antonio Gómez (Fundación Manuela) and Mario Aparicio. The Burgos native, however, with less than ten kilometres to go, would come unstuck. But the fourth one will not be able to demolish the performance of Moreira, winner finally in Don Benito. Álex Martín would be the fastest in the sprint in the chasing group, one minute later.
“The Guadiana Circuit leaves me a very good taste in my mouth”, says Álex Martín; “and it does so above all because of the union we have shown as a team in a race of wind and tension. In the last climb I entered well placed thanks to the fact that we were all far ahead. Already there you could see who were the strongest of the race. I tried to go all out and be with them. With the winner we had nothing to do, it was much better, and those of us behind tried to go all the way to the finish line. There was a good understanding and we were able to make it.
Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team : “The Guadiana positions us very well, it leaves us very well positioned in the general, with two cyclists in the ointment, one leading the general u23, second by team and, something that is very important for next races, it also positions us very well in the caravan of vehicles. All day long there has always been a leak at the head of the race. Arturo Grávalos has made a very good move that has given us a lot of tranquility in the peloton and the plus that other teams were taking the responsibility to work. Already in the climb to Magacela he crowned enough ahead and there we had Martin and Hernaiz, who rode near Moreira”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)