Fran Muñoz, winner of the 2022 edition of the Copa de España Elite U23: the first absolute cup overall for the Fundación Contador

II Vigo Copa de España
Vigo – Monte A Madroa (180 km)

The rider from Barcelona Fran Muñoz clinched his victory in the final general classification of the Copa de España Spanish Cup Elite U23 of the RFEC this Sunday in Galicia. The Vigo Cup proposed a route of 180 km with more than 4,000 metres of positive vertical drop in which the victory went to the Castilian-Leonese rider Alejandro Franco. The Gomur rider launched an acceleration in the last 500 metres in a select leading group which included, on the part of the men in blue, Fernando Tercero from La Mancha, finally fifth at the finish line, with Ramón Fernández and Marcel Camprubi coming in ninth and tenth respectively.

A pile-up during the neutralised route and the early appearance of rain brought some uncertainties to the development of a race in which Caja Rural’s Asturian Samuel Fernández was the main protagonist of the first half, first in a breakaway with Eder Ruiz de Balaguera (Telco’ m) and Marcu Adi-Narcis (Team Farto), then alone, and later forming a quartet with Samuel Fernández (Gomur), Antonio Barbero (Globalia) and Manuel Delgado (Team Extremadura).

Sinuhé Fernández (Lizarte) and Lucas Towers (Previley), catapulted from a previous movement of ten riders that reached the head of the race, would pick up the offensive baton with a very interesting attack that reached almost two minutes. On the climb to Fonte do 100 Anos, the penultimate difficulty of a very tough day, Andrea Pietrobon started from the peloton. The Italian caught up with the leading pair and a trio was formed that, in different phases, and with the pace imposed behind by both Rias Baixas and Caja Rural, ended up being caught with three minutes to go. Then Marcel Camprubí made his move. The slogan was clear: to protect the lead and to score points.

On the final ascent to A Madroa there were several attacks and groupings, a phase of the race in which the protagonist for the Foundation was Fernando Tercero. About ten riders faced the final kilometre, in which Alejandro Franco accelerated after a previous move by the American Davis Cole. Franco won and Tercero finished in the top five. A little further back came Ramón Fernández and Marcel Camprubí. Muñoz, XXX, secured the final overall. It is the first victory of a cyclist of the Contador Foundation in the Cup tournament since the creation of the structure, a competition in which they had already achieved some podiums and victories in different races.

Fran Muñoz, overall champion of the 2022 Cup: “These are very happy moments. I’m very happy, but I’m even more grateful to the work of the whole team, not only today, but throughout the Cup. It’s all come together. It’s a spectacular team, with team-mates like that it’s all so much easier. We knew that with respect to the closest rivals we could defend ourselves well in this terrain, but in the end we must not lose sight of the fact that it was an extremely tough race. Not only because of the course, but also the weather. In the first hour it was pouring down with rain. And it was a very steep day. It was practically a race for professionals. Right now I don’t even know what our average time was, but we went over five hours”. The rider from Mataró has achieved the first individual general cup overall for the Foundation’s structure: “It’s a great pride, of course. But with a team like this it’s much easier. Personally, I have noticed a great personal evolution from the first races to these last ones. I came from being a rider who was in the race and now I’m a rider who knows how to compete. I have experienced a personal evolution in this Cup. At the beginning, that’s why I thought I was far away, incapable of something like this, but everyone told me that the Cup is very long. I didn’t believe them. But it’s true. It’s a very intense three months. And right now I’m a very happy person”.

Rafa Díaz Justo, director of an EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team that finished the day as the best team: “We started with a good situation to achieve the final victory in the Cup, but the races have to be ridden and there are always the intangibles of mishaps, whether breakdowns, crashes or other circumstances. In terms of numbers, there were two rivals to watch out for. The idea was to be a little more conservative than on other occasions, to protect Fran all together. We didn’t mind if a breakaway formed, waiting for the race situation in the last kilometres and the final climb. I’m very happy for the final victory in the Cup, it’s the best prize for all the work and all the planning that was done in December. And I’m very happy for Fran, who was one of the four riders that we had planned to be in the fight for the race. The Cup is a very complicated tournament and Fran has been very, very regular. He himself didn’t give a damn about his chances five races ago, but we always told him that we had to go race by race without looking any further ahead”.

[📷 Álvaro García – El Pelotón / Club Ciclista Rias Baixas]