Jimenez on fire in Basque heat

Comunitat Valenciana climber Eladio Jimenez is the last man standing as the second stage of the Bici

Comunitat Valenciana climber Eladio Jimenez is the last man standing as the second stage of the Bici

PICTURE COURTESY LAVUELTA.COM

Comunitat Valenciana's Eladio Jimenez recorded a remarkable solo victory in today's second stage of the Bicicleta Vasca, finishing almost three minutes ahead of second-placed Aketza Pe¤a of Euskaltel on a baking hot day in the Basque Country. With three days still to go, Jimenez has an overall lead of 2-40 on Kaiku's Adrian Palomares.

Active right from the start of the stage, Jimenez went clear with nine other riders after 40km of the 181.5km stage to Tolosa. There were seven climbs on the route, and the Comunitat Valenciana rider led the way over all of them. By the fifth, only Barloworld's Stefano Cavallari was with the two Spaniards at the front, but the Italian and Pe¤a could not stay with Jimenez on the sixth climb, and he powered on to victory. Stage one winner Angel Vicioso was in a group that came in more than 10 minutes down.

Following yesterday's complaints from race organiser Julian Erosa that the ProTour has shattered this prestigious event because the sport's top 20 teams have so many other commitments, Basque paper El Correo reported this morning that Erosa and his organising team are considering a move to a less cluttered part of the calendar.

With the Giro just over and the Dauphin Libr and Tour of Switzerland just ahead, the organisers of the Bicicleta Vasca are discussing a move into July, when the only competition for them would be the Tour de France. Although the attention of the most of the cycling world would be on the 200 riders competing at the Tour, most of the pro peloton is inactive at this point of the season and might welcome a top class race being slotted onto the calendar.

According to El Correo, the plan would be to schedule the stage finishes to take place after those at the Tour, and perhaps pick up a significant TV audience on the back of that. Although this solution is radical and perhaps even suicidal, by doing nothing the organisers fear that the Bicicleta Vasca might disappear before next year.

Stage 2, Sopelana-Tolosa

1 Eladio Jimenez (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 181.5km in 4.34.59
2 Aketza Pe¤a (Spa) Euskaltel 2.40
3 Stefano Cavallari (Ita) Barloworld 3.03
4 Adrian Palomares (Spa) Kaiku
5 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Barloworld 5.11
6 Jos Almagro (Spa) Relax-Fuenlabrada 6.17
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) LPR 7.16
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 8.00
9 Yon Bru (Spa) Kaiku
10 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) LPR

Overall

1 Eladio Jimenez (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 8.34.18
2 Palomares 2.40
3 Cavallari 2.44
4 Pe¤a 5.38
5 Santambrogio 7.16
6 Rodriguez 7.34
7 Bru
8 David Latasa (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana
9 David George (SA) Barloworld 8.00
10 Tonkov

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