Edu Prades rounded off the start of the season for the Euskadi-Murias ProContinental team as he has won the Tour of Norway (2.HC) overall classification. The Catalan cyclist attacked far from the finish in the last stage and got the final win in the general classification, after being second today.
The Basque team, directed in Norway by Xabier Muriel, did a stunning teamwork in the hardest stage, featuring a first category and two second category climbs in a day covering 154 kilometers between Moelv and Lillehammer. Sergio Samitier, Héctor Sáez and Aitor González were in today’s breakaways before the final attack by Prades, at 20 kilometers from the arrival.
The rider from Tarragona, joined by two other riders, opened a big-enough gap to celebrate his win in the finish line. He won with 3 seconds over Alexander Kamp (TVC), winner today, and 12 seconds over Edvald Boasson Hagen (DDD). Aritz Bagüés was ninth in the overall and Jon Aberasturi, who was third and sixth in two stages, completed the Euskadi-Murias squad in Norway, where the Basque team ended up in second place in the teams’ classification.
Jon Odriozola, sports manager: “This is a huge win for the Euskadi-Murias team, which is being the surprise team of the season in the whole world. This is amazing: when we thought we had achieved our top level, we have proven not to have limits. Some years ago it was unthinkable that the Basque Country could be back to this level in such a short time. It is truly spectacular and amazing what we are achieving. ‘Zorionak’ everybody and thank you for cheering on us!”
Edu Prades: “The stage has been very fast, which was what I wanted. The hardest, the better for me and the team, and we have been able to take advantage of this chance. This is my most important win — also the most special one, as I had never won a five-day stage race overall. I’m surprised because I thought my shape was going to get worse with the days, but luckily it did not get worse.”
This win complete the remarkable season of the Euskadi-Murias team on its first year as a Professional Continental squad. The Basque team has achieved 58 top-10 spots (in 21 races and with 14 riders), 21 podium places and three wins: Aberasturi and Mikel Bizkarra last weekend in Aragon, and today’s win by Prades. The Catalan was also second at the Tour de Yorkshire, where he was only beaten by Greg van Avermaet, and third at the Tour of Castile and León.
The next races for the team will be Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan (1.1), on May 26; Boucles de l'Aulne - Châteaulin (1.1), on May 27; Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg (2.HC), May 30-June 3; and Boucles de la Mayenne (2.1), May 31-June 3.
Podiums of the team this season:
1st Tour of Norway overall: Prades
1st Tour of Aragon stage 3: Bizkarra
1st Tour of Aragon stage 1: Aberasturi
2nd Tour of Norway stage 5: Prades
2nd Tour of Aragon stage 3: Bravo
2nd Tour de Yorkshire overall: Prades
2nd Tour of Castile and León stage 3: Prades
2nd Tour of Castile and León stage 2: Aberasturi
2nd Tour of Castile and León stage 1: Aberasturi
3rd Tour of Norway stage 1: Aberasturi
3rd Tour of Aragon overall: Bizkarra
3rd Tour of Aragon stage 2: Aberasturi
3rd Tour of Aragon stage 1: Bravo
3rd Tour de Yorkshire stage 3: Aberasturi
3rd Tour of Madrid stage 2: Sanz
3rd Tour de Yorkshire stage 2: Prades
3rd Tour of Castile and León overall: Prades
3rd Tour of Castile and León stage 2: Sanz
3rd Tour of Castile and León stage 1: Prades
3rd Volta ao Alentejo stage 6: Aberasturi
3rd Volta ao Alentejo stage 5: Óscar Rodríguez