66th Spring Grand Prix Cyclist
Ontur-Ontur (156 km)
The wind is one of the cyclist’s most powerful enemies. And in high competition it can be as decisive as the highest of the mountains. Doing well when Eolo appears has a point of art. “But at the same time the wind only has a secret, ride as far ahead as possible,” recalls Rafa Diaz Justo, director of the Kometa Cycling Team U23 who was previously a rider and as a rider made a podium, almost thirty years ago, in the Spring Grand Prix of Ontur. The Albacete event, anchored on 21 March, debuted this Thursday as a Spanish Cup event with an edition in which the action of the wind was once again fundamental.
In the section before the first of the two climbs the race began to jump through the air. The Lizarte set a very high pace and in the first of the two climbs, La Muela, consolidated a cut of 27 units, with all his team present, where the Kometa Cycling had no representation. A score of seconds separated this vanguard from a second group of eleven units where were rolling, among others, Alejandro Ropero, Carlos Garcia and Edu Perez-Landaluce. Dangerous moment. In collaboration with several riders of the Kuota, and after fifteen kilometers of pulse in front of the Lizarte, the boys of the Kometa sub23 managed to wipe the differences and to reach that group headboard.
“There was a lot of tension. We were warned that this circumstance would occur and we have failed a bit for not having managed it well. But I think we reacted very well”, explains the Asturian Edu Pérez-Landaluce. “We got fast together, we rowed and rowed and rowed until we were able to connect. It has been a very difficult moment, but we have been able to solve it. In the end, Carlos and I tried to help Ropero so that he could get as many points as possible”.
Just under forty units that would lead the race until the finish, in whose sprint the Argentine Nahuel Omar d´Aquila (Mutua) won ahead of the Venezuelan Leángel Linarez (Kuota) and the Catalans Gerard Armillas (Colpak) and Francisco Galván (Lizarte). Alejandro Ropero from Granada scored valuable points when he finished ninth in the sprint; Galvan reinforced his leadership of the Spanish Cup after this fourth race. A little upset at the finish line was Ropero. The Granadino returned to sign a place in the top ten, but could not capitalize on the ascending ramps of the street of the Pozo his great top speed: “I entered fifth in the last turn, Angel Fuentes’s wheel. But we were a little bit locked up and on the other side three riders passed us and it was impossible to do anything”.
“It’s not at all easy to achieve what they’ve done: to bring down that difference with Lizarte pulling at the top of the group. I had put a lot of emphasis on the issue of the wind, because in this race it is a fundamental factor. His thing would have been to really avoid that race situation, but things happen and once they happen to fill that gap is a sign of strength,” reflects Diaz Justo.
Ontur is already history. In three days comes a completely different scenario, a test of great harshness that invites tactics and raises multiple possibilities. The Pascual Momparler Memorial will be held over 163 kilometers with start and finish in Villanueva de Castellón. The stops of Calderón, El Campello, Cumbres de Valencia and the hermitage of Santa Ana, less than fifteen kilometers to the end. Different types of passes, from more steep and long ascents such as the first one to the steep slopes of El Campello, two kilometres above the 10% average mid-race, which will be crucial in the development of a race to which the Kometa Cycling Team comes with the highest ambitions and maximum aspirations. “We want to have a nice race,” says Diaz Justo.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)