First National for Luis León Sánchez at 36 years old

The Murcian prevailed in Baeza in a whole endurance exercise, coming from behind to finish beating Jesús Herrada in the last meters.


In times of exhibitions of young runners, such as the Evenepoel or Bernal, there is also room for veterans. Luis León Sánchez was proclaimed champion of Spain in Baeza for the first time at 36, after a sensational endurance exercise on a demanding day.The victory was decided on the cobblestone floor of the town of Jaén, which played a trick on Herrada, who jumped the chain just as Luis León began to take a few meters from him. This allowed Sánchez to cross the finish line alone and, at 36, add his first Spanish Championship after the bittersweet silver he got last year. The Murcian, who arrived in the ranks of Astana in 2015, adds his second victory of the year after that achieved in the Vuelta a Murcia, and gets his second national medal in three days -on Friday it was silver in the time trial-, the twelfth in his record (nine on the clock, three on the road). Herrada, completely dejected, left the image of the day and ended the test on the ground. Second was Gorka Izagirre to sign the double for the Kazakh team, while the bronze was also taken by the veteran Vicente García de Mateos.

The race started with a lot of movement in the first kilometers. The runners knew that Movistar would not control the race as it has in recent years. Twelve of the last thirteen national champions ran in the ranks of the telephone team, so the absence of Mas and Valverde, his important men, left the race more open than ever.

On a hot August day in Jaén, a group of nine brave men took the lead. Albert Torres, Xavier Cañellas and Ángel Madrazo were part of the day's break, which was gaining and losing troops as the kilometers passed. For a long time they rode with less than a minute on the peloton commanded by Kern Pharma which, with the Movistar missing in action, assumed control of the race and demonstrated their quality leap - next year it will be promoted to Pro Continental-.

Seeing that the escape was not going anywhere, Albert Torres decided to try it alone, revealing the Movistar jersey for a while. He was almost two minutes ahead, but an increase in the pace of the peloton neutralized Torres and his pursuers. With two laps to go on the Baeza circuit, a continuous up and down of 25 kilometers of distance and 500 meters of unevenness, the peloton began to roll very stretched.

Kern Pharma disappeared from the head of the main group, and the range of attacks opened. Many runners tried to distance themselves from the peloton: Rubén Fernández, Jaime Castrillo, Gustavo César Veloso, Mikel Iturria, Ángel Sánchez, Antonio Angulo, Óscar Cabedo, Jon Irisarri, Dani Navarro ... One by one they were trying during the last 50 kilometers, but all movement was annulled by a main group in which the Cofidis and Iván García Cortina were in command, very active throughout the day.

Already in the last ten kilometers the race was broken. The final climb to Mazuecos left Fernando Barceló as the solo leader, who managed to get rid of Vicente García de Mateos. During the last stretch of the ascent, Jesús Herrada attacked, full of strength after having reserved all day. He left his teammate behind and stormed off for victory. The one from Mota del Cuervo was looking for his third Spanish Championship. Behind, Luis León Sánchez tried to bring Gorka Izagirre up to the Cofidis corridor, and Cortina paid dearly for his numerous efforts throughout the day.

Izagirre could not take any more, and abdicated in favor of Luisle as Astana's candidate to avoid Herrada's victory. The Murcian began his particular time - a discipline in which he has been champion of Spain four times - and in the last kilometer he reached the height of Cuenca. The denouement, in which Luis León was seen with more strength, had its tragic point, since Herrada could not even dispute the final triumph.Top 10 of the Spanish Championship 2020

1º. Luis León Sánchez (Astana Pro Team) 4: 24: 20

2º. Gorka Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) at 15 "

º. Vicente García de Mateos (Aviludo Louletano) mt

4º. Iván García Cortina (Bahrain McLaren) at 22 "

5º. Rubén Fernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi) mt

6º. Fernando Barceló (Cofidis) at 24 "

7º. Urko Berrade (Kern Pharma) mt

8º. Diego Rubio (Burgos BH) at 27 "

9º. Samuel Blanco (Supermercados Froiz) at 32 "- 1st in elite category

10º. Gustavo César Veloso (W52 FC Porto) at 39 "

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