La Vuelta 4: The Useless Climbing to Cordoba

Why all that pain, that heat, that dust? how much drinking, how much sweating? In the amazing Andalusia - Arabian pearl, a rose remained in the desert of the bloody Reconquista... - patches of green, opulent gardens, dark bulls in the shadow of sporadic trees. Why that climbing when there is a descent leading to the city and and a fast man able to conquer it?
Aramendia, Engoulvent, Joeaar and Turgot are caught on Alto de San Jeronimo. Txurruka goes solo. Engoulvent joins and they have a small gap.
Team Sky is leading the chase. A first passage on Andalusia Bridge - contemporary and white - a last crossing the final line, a last lap and they are all together.
Valverde attacks on the last climb,  three follow: Yeates, Anacona and Sicard. Chasing solo, Caruso. All together again 10 km to go and now is time to lead out the sprinters. 
John Degenkolb is the fastest today. In Cordova there are 41 degrees but it's fresh and silent inside the ancient beautiful mosque.
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John Degenkolb
"It was like riding in a sauna today, it was impossible to get enough drink and ice," John told us after returning to the team hotel. "The team were great firstly before the climb in helping with this then after in positioning me and chasing the attacks. Birthday boy Chad especially did a fabulous job and it's nice to make him a birthday present.
It's a long time since my last win, I counted last night and it's a lot of second places since winning Gent Wevelgem so it's a big relief to be back winning."

Wilco Kelderman
“Temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius made it tough, but nevertheless I was able to maintain myself at the front,” said Kelderman, who after the stage went to the podium with his teammates for the team classification prize.
I wasn’t able to sprint for the win, but at least I was up there. The stage started quietly. A break took off, but it never took a big lead, which allowed the peloton to take it easy. From the first climbs, the pace went up considerably, however.”

Team Tinkoff-Saxo DS Steven De Jongh:
"We made sure Alberto was brought in position on the climbs and that he was well-protected. The boys did a very good job and we had several riders in the select group at the finish line. Alberto's been away from racing for some time now and he's just getting back into the rhythm but I  think he looks good considering that fact. Tomorrow, I expect a more traditional bunch sprint decision" 

TFR DS Adriano Baffi:
“Julian [Arredondo] had a bad day, and could not follow on the climb.  At the end the climb was a bit too hard for most of the guys, and just Bob and Haimar finish in the front peloton. It was again a very hot and hard day.
Today the plan was to see how things went in the last climb, and hopefully Jasper, Felline and Fabian could get over the top with the group. But Felline did not feel well, and for Fabian and Jasper it was too much. 
I pushed Bob a bit at the end to do the sprint – I know him, and I know he can make a good sprint – but he was in bad position and in the end he was 9th. But okay, we can say the only negative for today was the bad day of Julian. On the good side, maybe now he is more free to try something in a stage.
We also hope that this temperature will ease. Our team is mostly our Classics’ racers, and we are suffering maybe more than others. This is not an excuse, but the fact is we just don’t handle the heat as well. But looking forward we still have all our cards to play.”



1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:02:55  
2 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling  
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge  
4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale  
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp  
6 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha  
7 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
8 Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 13:30:44  
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:08  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:15  
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19  
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:21  
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge  
7 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:24  
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27  
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team

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