44º Ronde de l´Isard
Stage 5: Auterive – Saint-Girons (157,8 km)
The 2021 season of the U23 structure of the Contador Foundation concluded this Sunday with the dispute of the fifth and final stage of an edition of the Ronde de l’Isard in which the team led by Rafa Díaz Justo has had a great role. At the front, Fernando Tercero. The rider from La Mancha finished second in the final general classification of the French race, 2’07” behind the Dutch rider Gijs Leemreize, winner of the race after a great offensive in the last wet stage.
The stage, with Lers, Agnes and Latrape on the route, promised strong emotions. However, it did not start in the best way for the blue team due to a crash. David Martín was forced to abandon within the first thirty kilometres of the race, with pain in one of his wrists. The pace was lively, with an average of over 45 km/h in the first hour. In the meantime, a breakaway of twelve riders was at the front, with a lead of more than five minutes over the group of the hitherto leader, a British rider, Thomas Gloag, who suffered a crash on the descent to Lers.
Ahead of Agnes, with a very tough start, Leemreize made his move and began his solo ride, achieving a margin of up to two minutes, while Tercero, who also explored the option of a chase by his own means, ended up riding in a main group that kept losing units, in which the leader did not ride and which ended up with seven units. At the finish, almost two minutes behind the Dutchman, Tercero finished tenth and managed to move up one place on the final podium, consolidating his position as the best young rider of the race.
“A very nice result”, said Fernando Tercero. “In a race with such a high level you never know where you are going to be. You always want to do your best, but you don’t compete alone. Apart from the crashes, I was able to perform well. Maybe because of the crashes I lacked a little bit to be able to put up more of a fight, even though Leemreize was really strong. I had a team by my side that gave everything for me and I tried to give it back to them by fighting until the end. The end of the season has been very good, I’m very happy with the way things have gone. It’s a great way to end a season, very exciting and motivating for the future”.
“The Ronde de l’Isard is not that it is one of the toughest races on the calendar, which it is, but that it brings together pelotons of an outstanding level. The future of cycling always passes through here. That’s why this performance by Fernando, and the whole team, must be highlighted”, emphasises director Rafa Diaz Justo. “Fernando was coming along very well, he has completed a very good second part of the season. He won in Xátiva, he won a stage in Galicia and he was on the podium in Galicia and Salamanca… Fernando has made a very important leap forward this season and this second place in Isard confirms it. He has done it calmly, patiently, quietly and without leaving his university studies. We leave the race very happy and with an unforgettable memory: his memorable ascent of the Plateau-de-Beille recovering a lot of time after a crash”.