Ruta del Sol – Stage 2 – Pirmin Lang «We lacked the punch for victory»

19 February 2015

IAM Cycling

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015

Andalusia certainly holds many surprises.  Under the picture post card scenery with white-washed villages, orange trees, and olive groves, the Spanish roads of this region are suitable for highly demanding stages, as indeed was the case for Thursday’s second stage of the Ruta del Sol.  On paper, this second day of racing was not competing to be the most complicated. 

But with the unforeseen wind playing a surprise role, the situation changed.  A breakaway of five riders including IAM Cycling’s Pirmin Lang made a valiant attempt before they were finally swept up with twenty kilometers remaining in the stage.  And despite several attacks within the last ten kilometers, the day ended in a sprint with Juan José Lobato (Movistar) finishing well ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), having perfectly judged his efforts on the false flat finish.

Capture d’écran 2015-02-19 à 19.04.20

In this idyllic setting, the IAM Cycling team showed itself well.  Represented at the front by Pirmin Lang, everything went as expected, at least it almost did.

“The escape was easy to make since we were the only ones who tried,” Lang said afterwards.

“But there was a ton of wind and that was all to the benefit of the pack, including all the sprinters, who were committed to bringing us back.  In the end, we just lacked the punch to play seriously for the victory.” 

Though total success eluded the Swiss team today, Pirmin Lang did in a final effort drop his breakaway companions to take the intermediary sprint points before being the last of the escapees to be swept up by the pack.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015

With several attacks coming in the final ten kilometers, including one cheeky acceleration by Alberto Contador, it was not easy to make a move that would stick.  Complicating matters was the nervousness of the pack in the face of the ultimate climb leading up to Lucena.  Nevertheless, IAM Cycling was able to place itself well. 

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015

“We did what we had to do to hold our position,” said Mario Chiesa, the IAM Cycling directeur sportif.  “We had Pirmin in the break.  We would have liked to have taken the mountain points with Jérôme Pineau, but we came up a touch short with that.  The pack was going very strong and the group broke in half with only 45 to 50 riders in the first bunch.  In the finale, Jérôme was 11th, which isn’t too bad.”

The team can also be satisfied with their overall placings since Sylvain Chavanel has kept his top-5 position, moving up to 4th, while Jérôme Coppel sits comfortably in 14th place in the general classification. 

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015