Italian rider Gabriele Raccagni finished tenth in Friday’s eventful final stage of the Vuelta a Extremadura, where a spectator who was too close to his mobile phone caused a crash in the sprint. It was a day of changing weather conditions, with sunshine, clouds, moments of rain and a fairly persistent wind that at various times fuelled a flurry of fans. The stage was won by the Colombian Luis Carlos Chia (Matdiver), while in the general classification, after the judges’ reviews, Pablo Carrascosa (Finisher) is still the leader with Andrea Montoli in sixth position.
The U23 team of the Contador Foundation worked hard to consolidate the cuts in some parts of the day, although without the desired success. In the last 30 kilometres of the day, both Fran Muñoz and Luca Bagnara were involved in a move together with Ismael Guzmán (Gomur), Sergio Ginés (High Level) and Álex Díaz (Baqué). The quintet, working well together, would achieve half a minute’s margin in a phase of the race when the pace was very fast and rain appeared. With Bagnara working in Muñoz’s favour and dropping off with 16 kilometres to go, the quartet’s life was prolonged until the stage had less than seven kilometres to go.
Gabriele Raccagni: “It was a tough stage because of the wind. In the final part of the stage I tried to keep an eye on the movements when the breakaway was caught. Then, for the sprint, I was in a good position but the crash was in front of me and it messed everything up a lot, although fortunately I didn’t crash. I think I could have even fought to finish in the top five. Now it’s time to recover and look ahead to the next stages”.
Rafa Díaz Justo, director of the U23 of the Foundation: “Very fast stage where the wind and the fight for the bonuses of the men in the general classification have marked a dizzying first half. As we said in the morning, we wanted to take advantage of the windy conditions. We tried it, but the air that was blowing was too frontal and everyone was very attentive. Then both Fran and Luca entered into a movement that was very interesting and that was understood perfectly. It wasn’t easy, we were aware, because behind there were teams with a lot of sprinting interests, but it was a nice and vibrant battle”.
The Vuelta a Extremadura arrives this Saturday at the Sierra Grande de Hornachos with a peppery finish in the area around the wool washing place. The longest stage of this edition and with a few ambushes along the way.