La Vuelta 13: A Scorching Finale

Daniel Navarro (Cofidis, Solutions Credits.)It's not a secret that I belove Barry Ryan's way to write: it's the most stylish reporter in cycling and style is important in my opinion, because facts are the same for everybody so style makes the difference. For exemple, read here Barry Ryan describing today route:
"After the flat opening, the race tackles the category 3 Alto Estacas de Trueba (11.1km at 3%), the category 3 Puerto de la Braguia (6km at 6%) and the category 2 Alto del Caracol (10.5km at 5.5%). The summit of the Caracol is some 37 kilometres from the finish, but there is a deceptively tough sting in the tail with those sharp 16% slopes inside the final two kilometres."
Simply WOW. - By the way, I'm NOT being ironical, I really like it.
So today it was a tricky stage. The break-away was a good one: Aregger, Clement, Cunego, Gaudin, Longo Borghini, Lutsenko, Popovych, Sagan, LL Sanchez, Stuyven, Thomson, Vansummeren, Wyss. But the peloton didn't give too much space to the escapees: halfaway their advantage was only 2'37".
Alto del CaracolJurgen Van den Broeck withdraws. Not his year (once again). The break-away split and 43 km to go 5 men are leading with 2', they are: Wyss, Cunego, Luis Leon Sanchez, Gaudin and  Lutsenko. Back in the peloton Team Sky is riding with black patches on blue strips for Gianni Pinarello's recent death. FDJ is all in front, then there is Team Tinkoff-Saxo for Contador. 
Wild mountains, white rocks and many different dregrees of green, a road cut in the sky. 15 km to go Lutsenko attacks from the break but is caught 7 km to go.
Break over, race onBrambilla attacks on the last nasty ramp, Navarro follows, joins, drops him and wins. Solo, with a small gap. Just behind the GC riders control each other. Nothing changes in the overall standing.

Daniel Navarro:
“The truth is that I’ve worked hard since the end of October to reach what I’ve achieved today. Last year my season ended with a nasty crash at the Tour of Burgos [in early August]. This year I started well with eighth at the Vuelta a Andalucia. I felt I was ready for the Tour de France as I came ninth at the Dauphiné but at the Tour I’ve suffered from the rain and the cold, and also from the pressure. I was nervous because of my birthday, then the heat came and I went home.
Mentally, it was very hard to be at home during the Tour. I went to recce some stages of the Vuelta. Despite the few days of competition I had, I came to the Vuelta with the aim of winning a stage.
The level of this Vuelta is the highest in history. I’m proud to have won a stage already, even though I firstly had in mind the three stages in the Asturias [where he comes from – ed.]. But my desire to win remains intact.
Whatever can happen in the next few days will be a gift. As professional cyclists, we don’t have many opportunities. We must make the best of them. Now I’m 12th on GC. It would be fantastic to finish in the top ten.”

Wilco Kelderman:
"I picked a right moment to attack, I attacked full from the back of the group. It was OK. The guys did a good job today. I did not have a really good day. I didn't feel so good on the climbs. In the end, I motivated myself, and my teammates helped me. I tried to stay with Robert, and then I could attack in the end. So it turned out good."

Team Tinkoff-Saxo DS Steven De Jongh:
"After a fast start of the stage, things cooled down for while when the break was established. But it surely became fast and furious towards the end of the day. Our main focus was to bring Alberto safely through the day without accidents and time gaps to his rivals and I think the boys rode very well again today. Tomorrow's going to be hard for the peloton and we'll probably see much bigger time gaps in the field. We'll be protecting Alberto and hopefully the overall lead".
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Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"Everything went to plan today and I was happy with how everyone performed. They are all working hard to support Chris and he's still in a good position ahead of these tough stages to come. We've got three difficult days ahead of us - especially tomorrow and Monday - which have really tough climbs at the end. Of course, you can't count out Lagos de Covadonga on Saturday either, and we'll need to be at the top of our game if we're going to stay in contention on the GC. [Second DS] Dan Frost has re-conned all those climbs, and although Chris hasn't ridden them himself, he's been well briefed on what is to come. He's going to take things day by day, he's set personal targets, and if he can achieve those we could be in good shape for the final stages."

TFR TM Luca Guercilena: 
“It is evident that on some finish lines we are not competitive as we should be. We know our limits but the wish to fight for victory must always be present.”

Jasper Stuyven 
“It was a small road to start so we knew that there was a good chance that if the right people were in the front that [behind] they could block it immediately, so we went from the start. It was a good group, maybe 17, and we had to work hard because the peloton kept going. After 10k we hit a pretty hard climb and we went hard and ended up with 11 after that. We lost Popo there and of course it would have been better with two, but in the end it was hard and they did not let us go, and that is a little bit of a pity.
But the peloton kept us close so [Alexey] Lutsenko attacked at the bottom of the category two climb. I tried to go to my pace and for a while I was holding 15 seconds to the five guys, but it was just too hard of a climb for me. I think if the break had more time they would not have had to attack so hard on that climb, and there would have been more chances [for me] to finish it off. But it didn’t happen.
I am definitely feeling that we are 13 stages in, but I am still motivated and not completely done. I was suffering a little bit with my back, but I kept telling myself to suck it up, pedal a little bit harder and the pain will go away.
Today I had extra motivation for Igor Decraene who was killed a week ago. He was a good friend. I had looked at the road book and pinned this stage as one where I might be able to try and win for Igor. It did not work out in the storybook ending, but Igor was in my thoughts.”

Louis Meintjes
"The stage really fast and we had Jay in the break which was really good for us. The speed was on all day though as some teams didn’t want the break to get away. In the end we placed 5 guys in the top 50 and Sergio was right at the front so it wasn’t a bad day for us at all."



1 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 4:21:04
2 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:02
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:02
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:05
5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:05
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:05
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:05
8 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:05
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:00:05
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:05
11. Rodriguez, 
12. Uran
13. Froome

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