Cycling has always been an international sport and its structures, a tower of babel. The Kometa Cycling Team was going to be present in up to five national championships, with greater or lesser representation. The Spanish Nationals, held this Sunday in Murcia, and the Italian Nationals, between Volgo Val di Taro and Compiano, were going to be the main competitive focuses. Hungary, Portugal and Luxembourg were other championships where at least one rider fought for a title.
Under the intense Murcian heat, in a 194.9-kilometre race that included a passage through the Cresta del Gallo and four ascents, within a final circuit to which five laps had to be completed, La Fuensanta, Juan Camacho from La Mancha and Juan Pedro López from Seville were the best classified runners within the Kometa Cycling Team, both within a very outstanding top twenty given the control of the representatives of two WorldTour formations such as Movistar and Astana. The title went to Alejandro Valverde’s bag, while silver and bronze went to Luis León Sánchez and Jesús Herrada.
Camacho, eleventh in the time trial on Friday, repeated position also in the appointment en route, 18 seconds from the winner. “What a pity not to have been able to improve that eleventh place,” he said after crossing the finish line. “I felt much better than on Friday. Maybe if I had thrown a little earlier the sprint could have entered the top ten. But I’m leaving happy anyway”. Juan Pedro Lopez, for his part, finished in twentieth place, closing that group persecutor.
The last of the climbs to La Fuensanta, as expected, was decisive. Gorka Izagirre’s escape died there, many kilometres escaped maintaining a pulse on the peloton led by the Movistar Team where the riders of the Kometa Cycling Team rode. Jesús Herrada attacked there and Luis León Sánchez and Alejandro Valverde would also move there. The three would leave with a few seconds of margin on a first group of eleven runners who ended up arriving, within the last three kilometers, both Juan Pedro Lopez and Juan Camacho.
The weekend also featured a very outstanding performance by the Portuguese Daniel Viegas in the championship of his country in the U23 category. The Portuguese cyclist, the only rider of the Kometa Cycling Team to take part, fought against everyone and did not hesitate to attack to break the race. “It was a very complicated race, as running without teammates was impossible to fill all the gaps. But I looked for my options, I was in a breakaway. In the end, the teams with the most riders helped us and I didn’t have the strength for the end”.
This cycle of competitions in the different national championships has also led to the return to competition of the Luxembourger Michel Ries, who put on a bib again after his fall in the last Vuelta a Asturias and suffered several fractures to go out to compete in the U23 time trial of the Luxembourg Nationals, where he finished sixth. “I felt very good to finish a race again after these two long months”, said Ries.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)