There is a sheriff in town and his name is Josep Betalú
November 3 rd 2020 - 12:53 [GMT + 1]
- Four-time Titan Desert champion takes solo stage win and overall lead
- Clàudia Galicia head and shoulders above the rest as she puts over 10 minutes into runner-up
- Silvia Roura Field reaches the Camp in Tabernas Desert, a scene fit for Hollywood
Tabernas, 03/11/2020. Stage 2 of the Titan Desert has taken the riders to the Camp, one of the main hubs of the event, where all competitors live together in the same conditions and there is no difference between a five-time winner of the Tour de France and amateurs on the adventure of a lifetime.
After 65 kilometres and an altitude gain of 1,800 metres cleared in 2 hours and 31 minutes, the king of the desert, the winner of the last four editions, stamped his authority on the race by taking a stage win and the overall lead. Betalú, the sheriff of this movie-like camp located at the Mini Hollywood oasis, lived up to expectations as the favourite to win the race and claim his fifth Oscar for Best Actor.
World championship competitor Sergio Mantecón took the fight to the KH7-Logifrio rider, but an ill-timed puncture near the end cost the Cantabrian mountain biker all chances of a stage win and relegated him to the chasing group that crossed the line a minute and twelve seconds back. The nine men in this group were yesterday's stage winner Jesús del Nero, Guillem Muñoz, Oriol Colomé, Pau Marzà, Sergio Mantecón, Julen Zubero, Haimar Zubeldia and David Arroyo.
Meanwhile, it is hard to look past Clàudia Galicia as the future winner of the women's classification, as the Megamo rider continues to prove she is in a league of her own stage after stage. After putting five minutes into Ramona Gabriel in the opening stage, this time she finished almost six minutes ahead of Silvia Roura (KH7-Logifrio) and close to ten minutes ahead of Gabriel (Lapierre).
Clàudia is so fast right now that she finished the stage in under three hours. She crossed the finish line in 2 h 57′59″, alongside legendary pro rider Sylvain Chavanel, who has won several Tour de France stages and holds the record for most starts in the Grande Boucle —18.
JOSEP BETALÚ: "The Titan is one stage shorter this year, so we have to tackle the stages judiciously. For me, it was important to open up a gap from the beginning.
Yesterday, at the team meeting, I told everyone I wanted a fast race and asked them to shake the tree and see what happened. I knew there was a climb and I was eager to see how it would play out. If you're not having a good day, there's nowhere to hide here. Today was about raw power, not strategy.
Iván Díaz put in a monster final turn and I kept going and broke away with Sergio Mantecón. We worked well together. I have a great deal of respect for him. He's a brilliant rider who's finished in the top 10 in the Worlds, and that makes him a force to be reckoned with. I saw he was feeling well today, so I kept a close eye on him, but then he suffered a puncture. I looked back to see whether it was worth it to wait but I saw the group closing in, so I realised I had to go full gas for 15 km to the finish and couldn't afford to wait for him. I went flat out until the finish and managed to open up a nice gap, but there's still a lot of racing to come in this Titan, and we need to stay alert because anything can happen."
CLÀUDIA GALICIA: "This race has always had a special place in my heart since I first got into mountain biking and took part in my first Titan, back in 2013. This time round, I managed to fit it into my schedule and, although it's the late season, I'm ecstatic to be here. I'm very pleased with how the stage went. It's true that starting from the front boxes means getting overtaken by faster riders and having to ride alone for many kilometres, but I always end up finding a few lads riding at my pace.
I'm way ahead in the general classification, but you can never relax in the Titan. A mechanical or a bad day can cost you loads of time here. We just have to take it one stage at a time and enjoy this race, which the organiser is keeping safe at all times."