Verona fights to second place in Gran Premio Miguel Indurain

Sat 31 Mar 2018

Spaniard Carlos Verona fought to a well earned second place today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the one-day Basque race, Gran Premio Miguel Indurain.

The 25-year-old was the only rider from a reduced front group able to follow a move by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with 10kilometres remaining. Inside the final five kilometres, Valverde lifted the tempo and was able to ride away from Verona to claim a solo victory in Estella, with Verona fighting on to take second place just 20seconds a drift.

Breakaway and Haig goes solo

Within the opening 25kilometres of the 186kilometre day, Jack Haig found himself in a breakaway with five other riders, which later swelled to eight riders, and rode out to a maximum advantage of two and a half minutes.

As the kilometres ticked down the peloton slowly drew closer to the leaders and with 70kilometres to go, Haig attacked away from the group and led the race solo for over 20kilometres.

Movistar split the race

Riding most of the day on the front, Team Movistar continued to do most of the work load and eventually swallowed up Haig ahead of the penultimate climb of the day, with 48kilometres remaining. 

The peloton by this point had already reduced significantly and as they headed up the Alto de Lezaun climb, only 17riders remained at the front of the race. Rob Power and Verona were represented in the group for Mitchelton-SCOTT as the main action started.

Attack after attack

Just before the final passage of the finish line, on the steep Alto Ibarra climb with 30kilometres to go, Power was the next rider to launch an attack and quickly increased his distance. He led the race for five kilometres before being caught and further attacks came.

On the Alto de Eraul climb, all breakaway attempts were finally neutralised until a strong attack by Valverde. Only Verona could follow and the duo led with 10kilometres left to race. Leaving Verona with less than five kilometres to go, Valverde showed his class to steal the race win, as Verona pushed on to finish just 20seconds behind in second place.

Carlos Verona - 2nd place

"I came to this race with a lot of confidence after Catalunya, and from the start I was feeling very well, so I tried to stay as focus as posible during all the race saving the maximum energie." 
"It was great to have Jack in the break as the rest of the team could have an easier day. We have been supporting each other until Movistar made it super hard the last part of the race, and we just had Rob and me left in a group of 15 riders."
"In the last climb Valverde came with me and he kept a very hard tempo until the top. I was at my limit but I knew that in Catalunya I was not so far from him so I did everything I knew to follow him. However, on the small climb at seven kilometres to go, he attack me from behind and I could not follow him any more. He is a super explosive he opened a gap, and I was close to him but not enough." 
"At the end I was second in the finish line, I am happy with the result but I am more happy with the feelings, so I hope to take adventage of this good shape to do my best in Basque Country, I am looking forward to it." 

Julian Dean - Sport director

“All the guys were really active today, Jack Haig and Rob Power were active so it was good to see those guys grab their opportunity and then Carlos rode very well and it is a good indication of his form. Valverde is clearly at the moment the strongest rider in the world so it is an excellent result for Carlos.”

Gran Premio Miguel Indurain results:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 4:41
2. Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:20
3. Nicholas Schultz (Caja-Rural) +1:04

Photo courtesy of Getty Images