venerdì 4 settembre 2015

La Vuelta 13: Oliveira Time Trials To Tarazona

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Just and simply flying from Calatayud to Tarazona, many attacks, no break-away.
Alto Collado de Oseja (3rd cat, 8.2 km, 3.7%, Alto de Beratón (1st cat, 10.9 km, 4.7%). Riders try but can't excape. That makes a very high pace and Quintana - amongh others - gets dropped. News comes that he is sick: fever and stomach ache. Rubén Plaza instead was 1st at both the KOMs.
Embedded image permalinkFinally, 70 km to go, a two groups merge in a large break, including: Sicard, Brambilla, Elissonde, Roche, Arroyo, Henao, Monfort, Oliveira, Coppel, Chavanel, Poljanski, Simon, Cherel, Plaza, Rojas, Arashiro, Meyer, Nocentini, Cummings, Terpstra, De Marchi, Bagot, Reza and Conti.  Their gap remains slight. It's one of those stages where anything is possible so everybody want to have a go. It isn't that hard on paper - not even easy - but racing hard makes it harder than some hard stage. Indead Cattaneo and Docker abandon. 
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Poljanski most combactive rider
A long descent now, the break can gain - 77 km to go gap is 4'16" - and the peloton can take a breath a bit. 55km to go break has 4'39". Brambilla takes the intermediate sprint. Wide fields, citrus groves. A bend and up they go on narrower road cutting a dense forest.
38 km to go Chavanel and Oliveira attacks but gets caught. Poljanski counters, gets a gap and is first at the KOM in Alto del Moncayo (3rd cat, 8.5 km, 4.5%). Astana is pulling, Aru in Red on the wheels of his mates. Then comes Katusha. It's cold atop. Lost in the forest the race is almost invisible from the sky. And the sky is just a light line above but they are watching down: the road, the garmin, the handlebar.
Descent. Younger sparse trees. Poljanski is caught, The break has regrouped and now Oliveira is on the attack. Chasers are not taking risks. Oliveria is, and 17km to go he has 33" on the first group, 5' on the main peoloton. Highlands. Tarazona. The man up the road is TT specialist, not easy to catch him. Gap is 59” with 3.8km to go. 5’11” to the peloton. To catch him is impossible. Last km. He has won

Nelson Oliveira:
"Once I'd got away, I had no idea what the gap was between me and the break behind, so I had to put my head down and hope. They were the longest 30 kilometres of my career, to be honest I didn't think my move would stick. But [teammates Rubén] Plaza and [Valerio] Conti were in the break with me and they did a great job covering the counter-attacks.
I'd put a cross against this stage when I read the route book and it took some time for the break of the day to get away and form. Then when I went for it, it was a long way out and it could have been a completely mad attack, but I was finally able to make it work. As my first international win, it's certainly a good one."

Nicolas Roche:
"It was quite a fight to get into the move and the break went after little over an hour of hard riding. I wasn't very active initially as I punctured after about 10 or 15km. It took me quite a long time to get back to the bunch.
Once I got back I'd been fighting for quite a while. Even though I didn't feel quite so fresh at the start of the day I thought it would be good to give the guys a hand and try to get in the break. That's what happened. We were on the long climb and a couple of groups drove along. I followed and all of a sudden we were at the front.
It was difficult for [Oliveira] to stay away with that wind and that many riders chasing behind. Initially the wind was favourable but fair play to him. We did a lot of attacking on the climb and there were four or five of us who were away for quite a bit. We were caught just before the descent. He went alone and opened up the gap. He was extremely strong as there were attacks for a long time.
After putting in that effort on the climb eventually I thought I'd concentrate on sitting back in case everything came back together. At the finish Sergio gave me a hand heading into the finish. I went early in the sprint and it worked out all right."
After a pair of crashes dropped Roche out of an impressive GC position, a strong day out demonstrated the Irishman is recovering well.
Today was much better, especially towards the finish. This morning at the start I really didn't feel that I was pedalling very round. As the stage went on my back started to loosen up. It's been four days now so luckily I seem to have moved on. Yesterday, even though it was a much easier day, I struggled. It was the effects of both going deep the previous day, plus the crash, meant that yesterday was particularly difficult. Today was a bit better." 

Maxime Monfort:
“It was war in the beginning of the stage, 150 riders wanted to be in the break. Also we wanted to have a guy in front. It took almost two hours before the big break was formed. This was the toughest start of a stage in this Vuelta so far. Once I was part of the front group, the hardest part was over. There was some time to recover afterwards. At first, I feared the group would be too big, but on the first category climb I noticed everyone did his part of the job and every rider had an interest in staying in front. It wasn’t easy as only rider of my team, so I didn’t want to miss it if a small group would take off. Oliveira was too strong, we realized quite soon we were riding for the second place. It was a strong effort of him, because we were all chasing hard. It’s the first time I’m not riding for a GC in a Grand Tour and that I have a free role, it feels weird. I definitely want to attack again in one of the next stages.”

1 Oliveira
2 Simon + 1
3 Roche
4 Chavanel
5 Rojas
6 Nocentini
7 Reza
8 Cherel
9 Meyer
10 Monfort.
1 Aru
2 Rodriguez +27
3 Dumoulin +30
4 Majka +1:28
5 Chaves +1:29
6 Valverde +1:52
7 Moreno +1:54
8 Nieve +1:58
9 Brambilla +2:51

giovedì 3 settembre 2015

La Vuelta 11: Danny Van Poppel HERO!

Embedded image permalinkToday everybody is tired, exhausted, empty. But sprinters know it's one of the few chances they have in this race so yesterday they tried to save some energy, to manage the effort. One especially who starts as the stage favourite: Danny Van Poppel.
It's a quiet day, just one climb, blue and white rocky slopes, fields to cross, yellow and burnt brown. Busches and trees of a tender green. Profiles drawn by a fine painter, essetial beauty.
A break: Bouet, Rubiano, Lindeman, Venter and Gougeard. They couldn't get more than 5' and approaching the finish the gap is down to 2'. Rubiano  is first at the intermediat sprint, then attacks take the place of collaboration and the peloton comes close. 
Sprinters prepare, trains are launched. DAMN! Not now! 6 km to go a puncure stops Danny Van Poppel! He fights to come back, he's in the cars, he gets the tail of the bunch... but still... it's too late! You can feel his heart pumping and beating. Too many thoughts in his mind and no idea. Just pushing pushing pushing. A long sprint from the end of the race to the finish line. Overtaking everybody. Winning like breathing a long deep breath.

Danny Van Poppel:
“This was my first chance in this Vuelta. I missed the opportunities in the first week because I was not feeling good and struggled with the heat, and I was a little bit angry that I missed those chances. I knew that today was another chance, and I needed to take responsibility, and we as a team did it – it was a great job together!
I felt really strong and then I know it’s hard to beat me on a little bit of an uphill.  Especially also the guys - when I see the team pulling for me all day that really motivates me; it was really special.
I was not sure at first if I had a puncture, but then I noticed I had a slow leak in the front tire and at first I thought maybe I could continue like that. Then I knew I had to change it, and it was a quick change and I came back behind the cars really quick. Markel and Riccardo had stopped pulling at the front and then Fränk and Popo [Popovych] helped me get back to the front. Popo did a great job, he put me in a really good position right in the wheel of [John] Degenkolb. It was a strange finish, a bit chaotic I think because there were a few attacks.
Degenkolb took the wrong side of the road and I needed to go really early because I was a little bit in the back.  So I went full gas and I felt I had a lot of power in the legs and I came really easy over the guys and I won. I am really happy!
I was a little stressed when I had the puncture because it was not far from the finish. But the change was really quick and I know that I am feeling really strong and Josu [Larrazabal, director] and Dirk told me not to panic and be smart in coming back. By the time the team brought me back to the front, the finale started immediately. It was perfect timing.
This is a big win for me - this is WorldTour level, which makes it really important and I did it today – yeah, I am really happy.”

Tosh Van der Sande:
“I think I can be happy. I can’t make it in a real bunch sprint, so a third place is good. It was an advantage for me that the last 700 metres were uphill. Because Bouhanni, Pelucchi, Ewan and Sagan already left the Vuelta, many riders can get a top result, that makes it even more chaotic. Jelle, Adam and Jasper led me to the front but you always need some luck as well. In the rest of the Vuelta there will be some more opportunities and then we’ll go for it again. In the first twelve stages I finished in top ten five times, that proves my condition is good."

Bert-Jan Lindeman:
“We were very active with the team in the beginning of the stage. We were attacking one by one to get into the break. When it was my turn, I got in the right move. I didn’t really have a great day, however. Of course, I had a plan for the final kilometres, but the legs couldn’t carry it out. I wanted to fight for a second victory today. Having won already is nice, but once you’re on your bike, you just want to win as badly as ever."

Maxime Bouet:
"This morning we decided before the stage that we would again enter in the breakaway. Only Nikolas Maes would wait in preparation of a potential sprint, and of course Gianluca Brambilla would conserve his energy, as he was 13th in the overall classification. Between 10 and 15 kilometers into the stage I encouraged the formation of the breakaway, which was five riders. We went away, but we never had more than five minutes of an advantage, as Astana was pulling at the front of the peloton. They didn't give us much room. In the final, the teams who wanted a sprint moved to the front. But we worked well together in the breakaway. In the last 30 kilometers we really went full gas. When they told us at about 18 kilometers to go that we still had two minutes, I started to believe in it, and how I would play the final. I was for sure one of the fastest guys in the group, but I was a little afraid of Bart-Jan Lindeman, who is in great shape. When Alexis Gougeard attacked I followed him, I knew he was a dangerous guy in a final like that. Then, in the last kilomer, when Venter attacked I let him go a little bit and used him as a point of reference. I caught him and tried to go to the finish in front. I tried to not look back, I had a feeling the peloton was catching us, but I gave everything. In the final few hundred meters or so they caught me. Unfortunately I was a few hundred meters short today. I was a little disappointed because we are putting a lot of effort into this Vuelta to always be a protagonist. We probably deserve a nice result after almost two weeks of fighting. Personally I think I am finding the level I was supposed to have. After Paris-Nice the season was always up-and-down, with small problems. But in the last weeks I felt better. I built a good base before coming here. I'm 23rd in the classification, and I am still entering breakaways, so this means my level is good at this moment. I am the kind of guy who likes to try and attack. However, today it hurts a little bit when it doesn't work out. Let's see what the next stages can bring. The fight is not over. I feel good, so why not? We will try again. We always have a plan every day to try and go into the breakaway and go for good results, while also protecting the placement of Brambilla. We have a good atmosphere in the team, from the riders to the staff. I really hope that we can go for a victory as a team. This is the third time we got the red number. I think from tomorrow on, one of the guys can make it."

1 D Van Poppel
2 Impey
3 Van der Sande
4 Maes
5 Degenkolb
6 Drucker
7 Van Asbroeck
8 Sbaragli
9 Rojas
10 Duque
GC doesn't change

Tour of Alberta: Trek Factory Racing Rocks The TTT

Not a race I'm following but that's very nice. I know how hard TFR is working to build again a successful identity. It's a brave team taking a period of forced change as a an opportunity to develope young talents. And that's a challenge. You must be patient and support the transmission of skill, experience, attitude from a generation to the next one. They are doing great!

TFR DS Kim Andersen:
“It was a little unexpected because we saw that Orica-GreenEdge had the fastest split by 12 seconds and we didn’t think it would be so close at the end. I knew that we had a good chance to win so I really tried to motivate the guys before the start. I think it also helped that we were third team to start because we could warm-up on the course, we did a full lap full gas and didn’t even have to use rollers.”

Bauke Mollema:
"This was the first TTT win in my life. It was a big team effort and everyone gave everything he had. It was not planned to lose three guys, the plan was to have eight when we finished, but in the past we have always started too slow. We have a habit of starting the TTT too slow and are flying by the end. So today we decided to go out fast, which sometimes can be a risk, but we wanted to take that chance and see what would happen. We lost Kristof  first, which was not in the plan, and then Laurent and Rasty [Gregory Rast] later as expected.  Bauke, Jesse, Marco, and Hayden were super strong, and Rasty was really strong for the first part. But the two guys that did the most were Bauke and Jesse – Bauke was really, really strong and he deserves to wear the yellow jersey.
I have to say that doing this time trial on road bikes favored us with the new Madone because it is super fast. The weather was between 10-12 degrees [Celsius] which is not so bad, but the wind was very cold and it made for a tricky parcours. There was a bit of a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. Our maximum speed on the way back was 72km/h! We actually were slower by 12 seconds at the intermediate so we did really well in the second. It’s always nice to win as a team, and this gives us huge motivation for the rest of the week.”

mercoledì 2 settembre 2015

La Vuelta 11: Well... BOS!

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Erviti attacks
Green Andorra, soft forest on the slopes of hard mountains. The road is like a ribbon in soft gren hair.
Collada de Beixalis. Chris Froome crashes and Team Sky stops to bring him back.
Five riders attacks, seven riders are chasing. The peloton is in pieces. A front group forms including Oliveira, Atapuma, Montaguti, Moreno, Sicard, Fraile, Poljanski, Losada, Landa, Howson, Coppel, Lemoine, Erviti, Verona, Plaza and Ian Boswell. Fraile takes the intermediate sprint points.
Meanwhile Froome is back to the main peloton. Coll d'Ordino - 9.9 km 7%.  Bennet, Goncalves and Cherel join. Gap is 1'28''.  Ruben Plaza edges Omar Fraile at the KOM and they fly down the descent. 
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Froome dropped
Coll de la Rabassa - 13,8km/6,6% -  Erviti attacked from the break and is solo 40" ahead. The peloton is more than 4' behind, led by a determined Team Sky.  Lots of bad luck for the British team... Then Team Movistar comes.
70 km to go Landa, Oliveira and Bennett get off the front group and try to bridge to Erviti. He's already atop. Descent. Many riders put the jaket on: high mountain so cold. Some gray clouds in the sky, near the peaks. The chase is successful and 57 km to go Erviti is caught. 
Collada de la Gallina: 11,7/85, %. 50 km to go. That hurts and many riders are dropped. The break splitsBoswell, Coppel, Sicard, Atapuma and Poljanski have 28" on the chasers and 5'04" on the peloton.
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Poor Paulinho
Villages hanging on the rock like natural concrections. Team Sky keeps pulling the peloton, mostly by Christian Knees who finaly moves sending kisses to the camera. 44 km to go it starts raining. Landa goes solo. Behind Froome can't keep the wheels. Team Astana is setting a fast pace in front and Landa is back with the break.
Note that Tom Dumoulin is still up there. Froome instead is 2' behind at the medical car. In front Fraile conquers also this KOMValverde rocks this descent and manages to join the first chasing group, with Rodriguez and Moreno. Dumoulin is slightly distanced in a group at 3'53, Froome dropped at more than 6'.
Landa wins
Alto de la Comella, The group with Doumulin joins the group with Varverde. Incredible but true: a tv motorbike hit Tinkoff rider Paulinho!
Heading to the last climb of the day. Landa has got a gap. 8 km to go Aru attacks. Rodriguez and Moreno go on counter. 
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Fraile in Green
5 km to go Aru attacks again and this time nobody can stop him. He gets a gap, catches Oliveira., keeps going. Rodriguez remains on Moreno's wheel. Behind Dumoulin is reacting while Quintana and Valverde are both dropped. Chaves and Nieve hang on.
In front Ian Boswell is trying to stay on the wheel of Aru who just passed him: what a rider and what a ride! The Bos! Last km for Landa and a well deserved win, the Aru comes, solo, and solo an oustanding Boswell. 
Fabio Aru is the new race leader but Dumoulin didn't sink. Bravo!

Mikel Landa:
"I took it [my freedom]. I decided to go for it. I needed a win so I took my day. I had this day marked down as possible, that’s why I was looking for the break. Three days ago, I lost all options overall, I needed this. The difference was today I enjoyed riding my bike. The last part of the climb was very hard, but I'm very happy," said Landa, who completed the stage 1:22 ahead of teammate Aru. "When it got to five kilometres to go, I thought I could make it. But the last three kilometres were the toughest of my career. Astana were driving hard, and I didn't want such a small advantage. I hope he can keep the lead all the way to the finish."

Ian Boswell:
"I'm happy with my day but getting back onto the bus it's mixed emotions with Froome and Nico (Roche) losing a bit of time. Our goal today was to see how it played out. On that first climb it was pretty full-on and a group went with quite a few riders we were trying to mark. I just happened to be up there and was able to follow it. From there the gap just went.
I guess my day was quite different to the rest of the boys as I had (Team Sky Sports Director) Gabba (Rasch) with me up there, talking me through it and remind me to eat and drink - all the basic things. I guess it's still a nice ride. I'm still learning a lot with every breakaway I get into. It's all experience. And really happy with it but at the same time I learned a lot today about ways I could improve in the future.
That's something I wasn't really sure about. I got to the bottom [of the final climb] and (Sports Director) Dario (Cioni) came up to me and said 'two minutes - race for the stage'. I didn't really expect us to actually stay away, probably until Aru came up to me and then I thought if I could stay with him for a bit I could hang on for a top three. It was a bit surprising in the end - you don't necessarily anticipate that early on. The breakaway won and that doesn't happen very often."

Fabio Aru:
“The team was incredible today. This morning we agreed that Landa would go for the stage and he managed to get into the right break and went on to win what was a really difficult stage. I’ve got to thank the whole team who worked for me. Vanotti, Rosa, Cataldo, Zeits and Luis Leon all did some incredible work for me. It was a real demonstration of strength and I’m really happy to be in the leader’s jersey. There’s still 10 stages to go and so we’ll take things day by day but we’ll try to defend it.”

Tom Dumoulin:
"I suffered. I spent too much energy on the downhill of the 4th climb because I was putting my rain jacket on. I lost some positions and I was behind a gap in front of me, and I couldn’t close it. That was really a mistake, I lost some energy there and that was not necessary. But I think I did well, I lost the jersey but I think that’s normal on a day like this. I didn’t really surprise myself like with that win [on stage 9]. I think in the Tour de Suisse for example I could also do something like this. But still I’m happy with my shape and my position in GC. That [the time trial on stage 17] is still my biggest chance of a second victory here. And also a possibility if I’m still in GC to take some time back on the important contenders. But first we’re getting some more mountain stage this week so I still have survive those then we’ll see after the rest day.

Geraint Thomas:
“Froome obviously had a heavy crash, he said his foot was quite bad, but he said his legs were ok. On that special category climb he was starting to suffer when Astana really lit it up. He got dropped then, I was about to get dropped myself anyway so I sat up waited for him. He seemed to come round on the last climb but we just had to keep going. Froomey always keeps fighting. I think he was certainly suffering, certainly in pain. But that’s Froomey - he keeps fighting, he doesn’t want to give up. He’s still in the race, he can still go for stages, but obviously its disappointing to be out of the GC. I think Mikel [Nieve] is still there or thereabouts, but not a good day for Froomey." 

Chris Froome:
"Knocked sideways into a barrier stone wall today. Further scans in the morning but start unlikely as I can’t walk without crutches."

George Bennett   

"It was a very difficult stage. On the first climb I make a tactical error. I jumped too often, and thus missed the right escape. After the descent, I closed gap in the valley to the leading group. That cost a lot of energy. At the foot of the Gallina, I had a bad moment and I was dropped by the breakaway. I was caught by a large group of GC riders, but on the final climb I was completely empty. I am disappointed but also happy with the strength in my legs. I will keep my focus on the right breakaway in the coming days, and then we'll see where this ends.” 


1 Landa
2 Aru +1:22
3 Boswell +1:40
4 Moreno +1:57
5 Rodriguez +1:59
6 Majka +2:10
7 Nieve +2:10
8 Chaves +2:59
9 Dumoulin +2:59
1 Aru
2 Rodriguez +27
3 Dumoulin +30
4 Majka +1:28
5 Chaves +1:29
6 Valverde +1:52
7 Moreno +1:54
8 Nieve +1:58

La Vuleta: No Plot (yet)

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Today stage: bit hilly...
The sun is rising, splendid, and the day is starting. First week done and dusted in La Vuelta. Emotional racing so far – crashes, disqualifications, abandons and brilliant first career victories. Too  many transfers – the last one to Andorra: 500 km. A few riders traveled by helicopter, the most of them and all the staff by bus. Too many climbs? I don't think so. The most demanding mountain stage comes after the first rest day. La Vuelta is and must be a race for pure climbers, that's why I love it. No way to hide, no tactical racing here. A good team is basic but the overall contenders must clash at each top finish.
Cyclingnews has got a very complete recap. I'm not going to write something similar. I'm more about the general meaning of the race and I have to say I didn't get it yet. So far this Vuelta is like a story without a visible plot. Not the cavalcade of an unstoppable rider toward the final victory – often boring but within the blow of greatness – not a duel, not a merciless fight not even an exciting open contention featuring several serious contender. No. Vincenzo Nibali is out, as well as Dan Martin and Tejay van Garderen. Chris Froome is there, unpredictable but obviously tired
The first riders in the actual GC are Dumoulin, Rodriguez, Chaves, Aru, Valverde, Quintana, Froome and Majka. I definitely doubt that Dumoulin will be wearing that Red tomorrow. I also doubt that the young Chaves could get it back: a final top five would be already a great result for him. What about Purito Rodriguez? Looking at the stages finish orders he's one of the most regular, a strong climber and experienced rider. In my opinion Valverde is stronger and smarter than Quintana, in the mountains he looks fresher. Still they are both up there and that makes things hard for Team Movistar, again. You could think that two riders in the top ten is an advantage, and I agree...when it's clear who is the leader, and here it's not. Valverde – I'm sorry to say – is having one of the better seasons of his career while I don't see all that sparkling by Quintana. I could be absolutely wrong, the next days will tell us more. Compared to these, Rafal Majka is on a different level, in fact he usually plays a support role. But La Vuelta is a peculiar race, this Vuelta especially, and with a little good luck Majka could be the man. Yes, he's racing aggressively, he's in shape and  his team lost Sagan so he's the sole leader. He's my outsider: lets see. Fabio Aru is now the sole leader too given that Astana has lost Nibali and Landa isn't in shape. He showed something but it wasn't enough. Still it could do if he has got more. 
Spain is beautiful, of a violent beauty. Large, various and hard. Its people are passionate on the road and  each summit finish is a fiesta. In Spain cycling still is the popular show it used to be, a collective ritual bringing everybody at the window and out the door. It's a pleasure after so many races in the desert, metaphorically and litterally. It's a pleasure to watch, unless a motorbike rides on a rider or dangerous road fornitures make a finale too dangerous. 
I'm curious to see how the GC will look tonight!

martedì 1 settembre 2015

La Vuelta: UPDATE about Kris Boeckmans' conditions

Team Lotto Jumbo says  Boeckmans' conditions are "stable" but honestly it doesn't look good. My thoughts and prayers are for him.

"By reducing the sedative medication the doctors tried to take Kris Boeckmans out of the induced coma. The lung injuries (pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue) made it too difficult for Kris to sufficiently breathe independently, so he was placed in an induced coma again, this will certainly remain the case for the next seven days.
Nonetheless, the situation is stable. These injuries are the consequence of the impact on the chest. At the moment the swollen pulmonary tissue prevents an intake of oxygen via the alveoli. This swelling has to disappear slowly in a natural way. The bleeding in the lungs is kept under control by a drain which was already introduced in the thorax earlier.
The family of Kris wants to thank everybody for the many messages of support of the previous days."

lunedì 31 agosto 2015

La Vuelta 10: What's in a Name! Sbaragli Sbaraglia Tutti (Smites Them All)

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A nervous, fluid, thrilling start. An early little crash, all back on bike and the break can't go. Vasil Kiryienka attacks but he's quickly caught. 
Puerto del Oronet - 3th cat, 6 km, avg 4.4% - a large group eventually gets a a gap. They are: Cataldo, Montaguti, Henao, Verona, Zoidl, Machado, Navarro, Velits, Craddock, Plaza, Keizer, LL Sanchez, Warbasse, Erviti, Arroyo, Berhane, Van den Broeck, Hardy, Grmay, Amador, Bilbao, Vorganov, Quintero, Monfort,  Boswell, Puccio, King, Elissonde, Cummings, Meyer, Moinard, Bennett, Atapuma, Madrazo, Cherel, Villella, Torres Frohlinger Cousin McCarthy.
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Meanwhile Caleb Ewan abandons, "feeling fatigue" GE says. He's just 21 yo this guy. And he has won a stage.
The break has split in to 3 groups and several riders are dropped, including Meyer, Bennett, Zoidl, Moinard, Elissonde, Cousin, LL Sanchez, Boswell, Torres and Bilbao. It's a fluid situation and the peloton is close. All together 55 km to go.
Roche crashed. Boswell, Henao and Puccio - bday guy - are riding hard to get him back. 40 km to go Terpstra attacks and is solo in front, with 14" on a chasing group of five - Duque, McCarthy, Paulino, Keisse and Engoulvent - and 35" on the peloton. 
Embedded image permalinkBenicasim. All together again. There is no rest and nothing lasts today. It's the intermediate sprint but nobody notice: it's full gas all the way
24 km to go, Alto del Desierto de las Palmas - 2th cat, 7km, gem 5.6%). Roche is back in the peloton but Henao needs a bike change. 22 km to go De Marchi attacks, Siccard tries to bridge, Elissonde and Coppel follows. 
20 km to go, last climb, Elissonde joins and immediatelly attacks. Brambilla attacks from the peloton. Descent. Henao crashed, Kiryienka stops to hand him his bike. Definitely NOT Team Sky luky day! Flat. Brambilla is caught by a reduced peloton preparing the sprint. 5km to go, all together. The sprint is launched. It looks like Degenkolb...but no! Sbaragli smited them all. 'Sbaragliare' in Italian means 'to smite' indead. What's in a name! 

Kristian Sbaragli:
"It is a dream come true for me because it's been four times in this Vuelta that I've tried to do my sprint and today when I crossed the finish line, I still cannot believe it. It is a dream for me and a dream for MTN-Qhubeka.
Embedded image permalinkI was feeling really well on the climb and just didn’t want to miss out again. I came so close a few times already in this La Vuelta, so I decided to wait until 200 meters to go before leaving it all out there. It’s sensational, something I never tasted before. This win is good for our team, but especially for Qhubeka and our 5.000 bikes campaign."
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Team Sky DS Dario Cioni about Roche and Henao crashes:
"They both came down pretty hard but thankfully they are both OK. Nico showed great courage to get back in the peloton before the finish, and while that proved to be impossible for Sergio, he was able to finish the stage. They've both got a few cuts and bruises, and although they will be sore in the morning, we have a rest day now to get them treated and give them some time to recover. The team deserve praise for the way they handled the situation, and everyone played their part in getting Nico and Sergio to the line whilst keeping Froomey protected at the same time."
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Nicholas Roche:
"Thanks to t guys @TeamSky for helping me  after other crash.. Left a fare bit of skin on the way, but #keepfighting"

Chris Froome:

"So @geraintthomas86 would rather drive for 6hrs than take a heli flight to Andorra. We've discovered his weakness �� "
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Timo Roosen:
“It was quite tough today,” Roosen said. “At first, my legs didn’t feel really strong, but I recovered well along the way and I was able to follow the peloton over the two climbs. In the final kilometres, I spoke with George (Bennet, ed.) and we decided that I was going to sprint. He did a good lead-out, but when the pace dropped, I attacked. It was a rash decision and looking back, I don’t think it was the best choice, because I didn’t get away. I still finished 12th, but I could have done better.”

José Joaquín Rojas:
"I was close to the win, but I really sprinted more with my heart than with my legs. This was a stage I kept written down on my to-chase-list, because I had won the Spanish national championships here, but my collarbone hurt really, really much - there's still a lot of inflammation on it. I really wanted to do a good race here, and with painkillers and some guts, I tried to bring the team a stage win, but it vanished on the finish line. I really had legs to win in Murcia and here today, but this time, the collarbone pain was too much. The most important thing is that our team leaders got through the day well, and we've got two weeks ahead to keep chasing this victory and get them to overall success."

Alejandro Valverde:
"Looking at how it could have been, the stage turned out pretty well. I can't complain about how I felt on the bike, I can ride well; the worst time is when I have to raise my arm - it really hurts, there's a lot of things (like taking my musette or having drinks, food) that I have to do with the right hand... it hurts, but what worries me the most is that the body blocks itself to recover. I hope to take advantage of this rest day and do all I can on Wednesday."


1 Sbaragli
2 Degenkolb
3 Rojas
4 Van der Sande
5 Goncalves
6 Montaguti
7 Keukeleire
8 Impey
9 Serry
10 Conti
1 Dumoulin
2 Rodriguez +57
3 Chaves +59
4 Aru +1:13
5 Valverde +1:17
6 Quintana +1:17
7 Froome +1:18
8 Majka +1:57
Red: Dumoulin
Green: Chaves
Polka dot: Fraile