It was a short but hard start of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, as the riders faced an ITT of 10,3 kilometers through the streets of Orihuela, Spain. Especially the final 700 meters uphill were decisive for the classification. Pello Bilbao performed well, finishing in the second provisional time (13’07”).
- It’s the best way to start the season, with two riders in the top 10 today. We can be proud, it’s a result of all the work and tests we did at the training camp. All of our partners contributed to this result, as they’re also working on developing their products that we use. Our new engineer, Ivan Velasco, helped us a lot in improving our TT skills. It was a weak point of our team last season, but I think we can be proud of our work on this. We’re in a good position for the overall and we will be concentrated until stage 4, where the GC will be decided, - said Pello Bilbao.
In the end, it was Ion Izagirre who came close to the stage victory, as he finished just 5 seconds behind winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (13’00”). It means the second place for Izagirre in his debut race for Astana Pro Team.
- I had a good feeling during the day. It was my first race for Astana and I’m happy with it. I did a lot of work during the winter, trained hard, we worked very well at the training camps, on the TT position as well. So today I felt good and I think I did a good TT. The first part was very fast while the climb was the place to make the difference. I took a good second place, it is a nice result for me and the team at the start of the season. I think with this result I proved I’m ready to fight for the GC in this race,- said Ion Izagirre.
Stage 2 will start and finish in Alicante after 166 kilometers including three categorized climbs, the final climb on 42 kilometers before the finish.