Team Caja Rural – Seguros RGA had a strong finish to Volta ao Algarve as Ricardo Vilela made top15 overall after a strong performance on Alto do Malhão. Vilela crossed the finishing line on the steep climb just behind teammate Eduard Prades (19th overall), only one minute after the stage winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).
Antonio Molina finished soon after, helping the team to secure third place overall in the team classification, while Héctor Sáez brought home the second place in the youth classification.
Ricardo Vilela: “Today, I felt very good on the bike. My goal was to make top15 on the stage and it all went well up until the final kilometer when the favorites started to attack. I couldn’t follow the wheels anymore so I focused on loosing as little time as possible. I’m still very happy with my performance. This has been a very good week for Caja Rural – Seguros RGA. We have two riders in top20 overall and we did very well in the team classification, finishing ahead of many World Tour teams. This is a very good result for us”.
The Caja Rural – Seguros RGA riders have been very active this week in Algarve, taking part in multiple breakaways. On Sunday’s stage, Lluis Mas fought bravely up front in the break as the riders took on Alto do Malhão for the first time. Mas crossed the top in second place behind Alexandr Kolobnev (Gazprom) who won the mountain classification.
Looking back on this past week of racing, sports director Josemi Fernández was very pleased with the team’s performance: “Overall, this has been a very good race for us. The team has performed very well and kept a high level during the entire race. We narrowly missed out on the team classification and the white jersey but we did our best. We just have to continue on this good path and the results will follow”.
In Vuelta a Andalucía, the team had to overcome numerous setbacks. First, an ill-timed puncture prevented Carlos Barbero from taking part in the sprint on stage 1 and later, David Arroyo got sick and was forced to abandon the race before the time trial on stage 4. On the bright side, Hugh Carthy showed good shape once again as he finished as the team’s best placed rider on the steep Peñas Blancas on the final day of racing.
Sports directors Eugenio Goikoetxea: “We can’t really be satisfied with this race. Arroyo had to abandon due to sickness, Pardilla had problems with his knee and Aramendia, too, had to quit the race due to physical problems. On the upside, our young riders Carthy and Rosón showed off the team’s colors very well during the race”.