Second for Albasini in the Vuelta a la Rioja

Sun 2 Apr 2017

Swiss star Michael Albasini claimed second place today from a reduced breakaway group in the Vuelta a La Rioja in Spain.

ORICA-SCOTT found themselves dominating in the latter stages of the race, with the whole team splitting the peloton and successfully making it in to the front breakaway of 12 riders with just 15kilometres remaining.

However in the final, another late split and solo attack saw Rory Sutherland (Movistar) steal the victory ahead of Albasini.

“The situation changed really quickly between 20kilometres to go and 10kilometres to go,” explained sport director Dave McPartland. “The race really happened in that period."

“We were kind of on the back foot a little bit early with only having Albasini in the breakaway by himself, but then after 110kilometre we really took the race on in the crosswind section and split the race up.

"It went from 100 riders to just 12 riders with all of our team represented. Having six riders in the front we started attacking early and Albasini’s move was the one to stay away.

“Albasini finished it off awesomely today with second. Obviously we didn't come here to finish second but having been in the breakaway all day before that and the way we rode as a team again today, that was really great.”

Unlike previous editions of the race, where ORICA-SCOTT have come out on top, today did not conclude with a bunch sprint.

“We didn’t have a key sprinter here today like other years so we raced the race quite differently.” McPartland continued. “It was a good exercise for us to split the race but in the end it just didn’t play into our hands."

"We didn’t use our numbers at the crucial moment in the race, it is unfortunate but sometimes it is just like that and we can still be happy with how we rode. Rory Sutherland was riding strongly today so he really deserved the win.”

How it happened:

After a fantastic win from Simon Yates yesterday, the team lined up for another one-day Spanish classic race. With a slightly different team line-up, the guys were fresh and motivated to continue their weekend run of success.

The race began with Albasini jumping into the main breakaway of the day alongside eight other riders. The group hovered around the one-minute mark and were eventually caught with 50kilometres to go.

With no real challenging climbs to contend with, it was up to ORICA-SCOTT to make it a hard race as they quickly forced a new breakaway of 12 riders with all six ORICA-SCOTT riders present.

The race suddenly and quickly changed and with 10kilometres to go the front group split with Albasini once again at the head of the race going away with two Movistar riders and two others.

Michael Hepburn also made it into the front group alongside Albasini, but the race split once again, leaving the Swiss rider alone in the front having to chase hard once Sutherland attacked solo. In the end Albasini had to settle for second place but after a big effort throughout the race.

ORICA-SCOTT continue racing tomorrow at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco six-day race.

Vuelta a La Rioja results:

1. Rory Sutherland (Movistar)
2. Michael Albasini (ORICA-SCOTT)
3. Jose Rojas (Movistar) 

Photos courtesy of ©