GP Primavera - Cat. 1.3

Spain, April 9, 2000

1999 results     Past winners

Etxebarria Basques in the sun

Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, Unai Etxebarria won today's Gran Premio Primavera in Amorebieta, Spain, whilst others were hammering themselves on the cobbles of the north. It was a tight finish, as he just edged out Telekom's Udo Bölts in a photo finish, Kelme's Roberto Heras in third. Heras was the winner of the two previous editions of this 1.3 categorised race, but was not quite quick enough today.

Only 16 riders were in the front group to contest the sprint, as the race included six climbs - the Alto Muniketa (cat. 2) and the Alto Autzagane (cat. 3), each ridden three times during the last 84 kilometres. The first to attack on these was Castelblanco of Kelme and he was joined by Rodrigues of Banesto. Santiago Blanco (Vitalicio), Bölts, Aitor Osa (Banesto), Rubiera (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Zarrabeitia (ONCE) and Astarloa (Mercatone) bridged up and this was most of the group. Favourites such as Laurent Jalabert, Alex Zulle and Laurent Dufaux had missed the move and did not figure in the race.

The last time up the Muniketa, whose top was only 11 kilometres from the finish, saw the selction being made. Euskadi had Etxebarria, Bingen Fernandez and Alberto Lopez de Munain, wheras Telekom had Elli to support Bölts, who attacked a lot in this section. ONCE's David Etxebarria also tried an attack on the climb, but was unsuccessful as the Euskaltel-Euskadi team chased down everything.

The finish was in doubt for some time as the race judges looked at the photo, eventually deciding that Unai Etxebarria had a slight lead on Bölts. It was the third victory of Julian Gorospe's Euskaltel team this season.

Potential favourite, Juan Carlos Dominguez (Vitalicio Seguros) fell during the sprint with 75 metres to go, suffering from multiple bruises on his back and a possible fracture of one of his fingers, although he did not need to be hospitalised.

Results - 185 km

1. Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi          4.18.49 (42.841 km/h)
2. Udo Bölts (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD
3. Roberto Heras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
4. Igor Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Oscar Mason (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom
6. Aitor Osa (Spa) Banesto
7. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto
8. Daniele de Paoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom
9. David Etxebarria Alkorta (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Deutsche Bank
10. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Besson Chaussures                                     

Past Winners

1998    Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 196 kms in 4.51.58

1999	Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 196 kms in 4.53.49