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Updated: 2 min 46 sec ago

Time trial critical in setting up second half of Vuelta

2 hours 40 min ago

Nairo Quintana will start Tuesday's individual time trial wearing the red leader's jersey. Though he's improved his time trialing, it remains to be seen how he'll stand up against riders like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

In a Vuelta a España packed with climbs, Tuesday’s 36.7km race against the clock could leave a decisive mark on the final GC.

The route offers some interesting terrain for the Spanish mountain goats facing off against favored GC rider Chris Froome (Sky). With a challenging, third-category climb in the opening 11 kilometers, followed by a fast descent, and some technical roads, the time trial could determine the GC fate of more than a few overall contenders.

Time trials at the Vuelta are always a little different than at the Tour de France. The Spanish tour usually lacks longer, flatter courses, where riders like Froome can take big gains against the climbers. On a similar distance of 33km in the 2013 Tour on the windy, power course to Mont-Saint-Michel, Froome took 2:15 out of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and a whopping 3:28 out of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

For Tuesday, Froome is the first to admit he’s not in the same condition he was for the Tour in July, so he’s certainly not banking on hitting it out of the park.

“It’s relatively short compared to time trials elsewhere, but I enjoy time trialing, so I am hoping to make the most of it,” Froome said Sunday. “It’s a huge fight here, and it’s going to be a big race all the way to the end. Every second here or there is going to count.”

Froome lost 23 seconds to Contador, Quintana, and Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) when he couldn’t follow the surges Sunday, and will be desperate for a strong ride to revive his overall chances. At fifth overall, 28 seconds back, he’s still right in the thick of things, but any gains taken against the clock Tuesday would serve as a welcome buffer going into the Vuelta’s brutal second half that’s packed with monster climbs.

Riders such as Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who won on a similar course last year, will be the favorites for the stage victory. Others, such as Adriano Malori (Movistar) and Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) could be in with a shot of the win as well.

All eyes will be on the clock, and the GC players. The difference between race leader Quintana and sixth-place Rodríguez is only 30 seconds, and as Quintana said, the race is virtually tied.

That will surely change Tuesday. The major GC candidates took a chance to preview the course during Monday’s rest day, and all agree that the course presents a stiff challenge.

“When you see it in person, you realize it’s harder than it looks on paper,” Contador said Monday. “The first part is a climb, with some sections truly steep, then a very fast descent over an irregular and difficult road. The last part, in contrast, you have to be stuck to your bike. It’s easy enough to describe it, but it will be very difficult.”

After Sunday’s cool, rainy weather at Valdelinares, forecasters are calling for a return of warm, sunny skies, with temperatures in the low 90s, with gusting winds, so conditions should be relatively equal for the main GC contenders starting at the end of the start list.

Contador, who’s made an impressive return to the Vuelta after pulling out of the Tour with a fractured leg, said Tuesday’s time trial will reveal much about the remainder of the Vuelta.

“Tomorrow is a good test to see exactly where I am physically,” he continued. “I don’t want to deceive myself, and draw the wrong conclusions from [Sunday's] stage.”

The more challenging course will be a blessing in disguise for Rodríguez, who lost the 2010 Vuelta to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) with an abysmal time trial on flat, wind-blasted roads. Rodríguez has worked to improve against the clock, and on a similar course in the 2012 Vuelta, he only lost 59 seconds to Contador and even less to Froome. Rodríguez, who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia in May, is crossing his fingers for a strong ride.

“I have to be [optimistic], because the only chance I have to keep aspiring for victory in this Vuelta is to have a great time trial, and not get too far back in the GC,” Rodríguez said Monday. “This has been a Vuelta with a lot of movement. No one has given up yet, and all the favorites and their teams are engaged in the race. [Tuesday] will be an important test, and we’ll be able to see more things, and to truly test where each and every favorite stands.”

Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), ninth at 1:26 back, will also need a superb performance to revive his GC hopes. Urán won on a similar course at Barolo at the Giro, taking 2:41 out of Quintana, who was ailing from a minor chest cold.

“I have a lot of hope,” Urán said. “I’ve worked hard this year on time trialing, and I’ve done some good ones. There’s still Cancellara, Martin, but considering the GC rivals, I hope to have a good ride.”

All eyes will be on Quintana, who will start last as the race leader, and have time checks to all of his rivals. If the Giro champ can limit his losses to the likes of Froome and Contador, he will only gain confidence going into the second half of the Vuelta.

“I’ve made improvements against the clock, and though there are specialists who will take time on me, I don’t think I will lose that much,” Quintana said Monday. “I have good legs now, and I hope to feel that way [Tuesday], and do my best ride possible.”

Tuesday’s time trial will surely reshuffle the GC deck yet again, but it’s doubtful it will be prove decisive.

Pundits say modern grand tours are won and lost against the clock, and that might well be the case in the Tour, but the Vuelta is a different kind of race, and the final winner will certainly be crowned in a brutal trio of climbing stages across Asturias.

The post Time trial critical in setting up second half of Vuelta appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Contador sets sights on Vuelta victory

3 hours 9 min ago

Alberto Contador has recovered remarkably well from his broken leg. He now admits that he'd like to try to win the Vuelta for a third time. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

MADRID (AFP) — Two-time Vuelta a España champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has publicly admitted for the first time that he can compete to win the race for a third time just a month after suffering a broken shinbone.

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider had originally ruled himself out of even taking part in his homeland’s grand tour after complications in the healing of the wound he suffered in a crash that forced him to abandon the Tour de France.

However, he has looked in fine shape during the first week of the race and sits in second place overall, just three seconds off leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), ahead of Tuesday’s stage 10, a 36.7km individual time trial from Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Veruela to Borja.

“I can now confirm that I am going to try and win the Vuelta. It is another thing whether I have the legs to do it or not,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

“So far I have been going day by day, but I have not lost time in the general classification, and that gives me a chance. We need to see how my leg continues to react and, I repeat, keep going day by day.

“The time trial in Borja will be good for my physical condition. Today I went to see it and I have to say that it perhaps suits (Chris) Froome more than me because it is quite hard.”

Sky’s Froome currently lies in fifth, 28 seconds off the lead, after he was left behind by Contador and Quintana on the climb to Aramon Valdelinares on Sunday.

However, he is expected to claw back some time on his rivals for the leader’s red jersey on Tuesday.

“Today we have been looking at the time trial and although I have improved a little in that speciality, I just hope to not lose too much time to those riders who are more specialists than I am,” said Quintana.

“I didn’t expect to be in red so early, we had thought [that] maybe [I would wear it] in the last week when I will be most in shape.

“Yesterday in Valdelinares, the real favorites showed their intentions to win the race.

“Contador is one of them and is strong despite it all. He is going much better than expected and I also though Purito (Rodriguez) looked very good. We need to be aware of him.”

The Colombian is looking to add the Vuelta to his Giro d’Italia victory earlier in the year but faces stiff competition from even within his own team as Alejandro Valverde remains well in the hunt, just eight seconds back in third.

And the 34-year-old said he is on the verge of signing a new deal with the Spanish team despite appearing to be usurped by Quintana as the team leader.

“My contract renewal is very close,” said Valverde. “It will be for three years and I would like to finish my career with Movistar. We already know each other perfectly and they know how to handle my career.

“As regards losing the red jersey to Nairo there was no problem.

“We came into the race with that in mind, and first of all I was leading, and now it is him because he is in better condition right now. Despite everything we have two chances to win.”

The post Contador sets sights on Vuelta victory appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Photo Essay: Blazing Saddles: The Vuelta’s hot first week

3 hours 28 min ago

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  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The 69th edition Vuelta a España began with a welcome back to racing for Alberto Contador who benefited from a speedy recovery of a fractured tibia suffered during stage 10 of this year's Tour de France. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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    The Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad prepared for the race opener with several laps of recon on the 12.6km TTT course in Jerez de la Frontera. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The start of the Vuelta was already heating up by team Katusha's late morning recon ride through the iconic city center of Jerez de la Frontera. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 1 started in the evening, but that didn't keep MTN-Qhubeka, a wild card team at the 2014 Vuelta, from starting their warm-up for the TTT clad in ice vests. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Tom Boonen and his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team warmed up for their specialty, the team time trial. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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    The Movistar squad approached the 5km to go mark on the TTT course in Jerez, knocking Cannondale off the best time of the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Team Movistar took a surprise win in the team time trial against a roster of more powerful squads. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 2 started in Algeciras on the southern coast near Gibraltar where temperatures approached 104 degrees — enough to keep the riders inside the cool team buses until just before the start. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    In what became the most familiar sight of the 2014 Vuelta, MTN-Qhubeka rider Jay Thomson doused himself with water just after the finish of stage 2 in San Fernando. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 3 commenced in the port of Cadiz aboard the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I where VIPs mingled with race organizers, and the riders signed in on the stage on deck. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    BMC Racing posed for a photo on the flight deck of the Juan Carlos I — the unique Vuelta start proved entertaining for the teams and fans alike. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    In typical Vuelta fashion, the start of stage 3 was a spectacle aboard the Spanish aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Gianluca Brambilla of Omega Pharma-Quick Step was one of the more playful riders on the morning of the start of stage 3 in Cadiz. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led the race out of the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I for the start of stage 3. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The very memorable start of stage 3 proved a good distraction from the heat that marked the first week of the Vuelta. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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    With a slight uphill sprint, Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) made a big effort to win the stage but was bested by Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Spanish fans crowded in the narrow finish area, waiting for glimpses of their favorite riders. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) was overcome with emotion after winning stage 3. With the win, he took over the race lead. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    At the finish of stage 3, hot and sweaty riders like Alessandro De Marchi bypassed the media and even their soigneurs to seek the cooler shelter of the team buses nearby. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 3 concluded in Arcos de la Frontera with a slight uphill finish and again searing temperatures as Belgian national champion Jens Debusschere tried to cool off at the end of the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    With temerpatures around 100 degrees, the riders were drinking everything in sight. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) has been struggling in the relentless heat and resorted to working for his teammates in this Vuelta, instead of riding as the protected sprinter. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Early in Stage 4, the peloton passed through the small town of Carmona, where the Moorish fortress of Alcazar rises above in the background. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 4 passed through the finish of Córdoba for a 36.9km circuit that navigated up the category 2 climb, Alto del Catorce por Ciento. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The race leaders led the peloton to last kilometer up the Alto del Catorce por Ciento on the hottest day of the Vuelta, where temperatures climbed to nearly 116 degrees — the category 2 climb was tougher than normal. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Former Vuelta green jersey winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) claimed his first stage win this year on stage 4 to Cordoba. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The face of Oliver Zaugg of Tinkoff-Saxo bears witness to the day's extreme heat and cloudless sky. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Laurens ten Dam of Belkin dons an ice vest to return to the finish line for behind-the-podium duties after stage 4. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) received a local award from the Tio-Pepe ladies, who are known quite well in the Jerez region of Spain. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The Vuelta often sees riders at their season's leanest, coming so late in the year just before the world championships (Michael Matthews pictured). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Race favorite Nairo Quintana (Movistar) rode through the chute toward the start stage as enthusiastic fans greeted him (stage 5). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Climbing right out of the gate, riders took the uphill start in the narrow streets of Priego de Córdoba as fans applauded from above (stage 5). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Tom Boonen started stage 5 with an extra bottle tucked in the back of his jersey to keep a little bit cooler, for at least a short bit. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Michael Matthews enjoyed another day in the leader's jersey as he rode near Cabra early in the race, flanked by teammates (stage 5). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) descended through the pines near El Tejar as they entered the Provincia de Málaga on their stage 5 breakaway. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    With nearly 60km left to the finish of stage 5, Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) continued his solo breakaway through the hot and dusty olive groves near Campillos. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The arid and scorching landscape slowed the peloton down, resulting in easy racing through the open plains, also delaying the finale in Ronda. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The sprints in the Vuelta have been hotly contested. John Degenkolb and Nacer Bouhanni have traded blows on nearly every dash for the finish. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Rigoberto Uran sought out a short reprieve from the persistent sun and heat behind his team bus before the media descended upon him (stage 5). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    One of the more common sights in the first week of the Vuelta was the salt stains on the riders. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Inside the Omega Pharma-Quick Step camper, teammates Rigoberto Uran and Gianluca Brambilla used an icebath to cool down after the race — an important recovery tool in extreme heat (stage 5). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) jumped into the trendy "Ice Bucket Challenge" without much resistance on such a hot day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 6 started in Benalmádena and continued along the beach-lined coastline before turning inland for the first of the day's three climbs. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    On the finishing climb of Alto Cumbres Verdes in La Zubia, fans entertained themselves with merry maritime amusements shortly before the finale of stage 6. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Nearly all the major GC contenders of the 2014 Vuelta approached the 1km mark together, following an unsuccessful attack by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on stage 6. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Rigoberto Uran lost contact with the front of the race in the final kilometers, coming in to the finish over one minute behind the leaders (stage 6). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The finishing climb at La Zubia was short — only four kilometers — but it averaged close to 10 percent, which pushed Valverde and Contador to their limits. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The mountains of the Vuelta took an especially hard toll on domestiqes like Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Another day of hundred-degree temperatures drove many riders to try to cool down along the last kilometers (stage 6). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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    Race leader Alejandro Valverde stoped to sign autographs and greet fans at the start of Stage 7 in Alhendín. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    With several small groups up the road early in the race, the peloton rode easily over the cat 3 climb of Alto de Illora, overlooking hillsides of olive groves (stage 7). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Chris Froome was the victim of a crash in the early part of stage 7 but eventually regained the peloton. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 7 was marked not only by the inescapable heat but also by numerous crashes. Europcar rider Bryan Naulleau was forced to abandon, and was taken away in an ambulance on the descent of the Alto de Illora. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Alessandro de Marchi brought home a big win for Cannondale on stage 7 in Alcaudete. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Team press officer Paolo Barbieri congratulated Alessandro de Marchi on his solo victory into Alcaudete (stage 7). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was on the attack and poised to contest for the stage win until an untimely crash took him out of contention. Hesjedal still managed to finish second on the day ahead of his breakaway companions. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage 7 to Alcaudete offered a challenging course and an uphill sprint that gave former world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) a perfect testing ground for the upcoming world championships in Ponferrada. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Breakaway companions Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Johann Tschopp (IAM) arrived hand-in-hand after a hard day's work (stage 7). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Oscar Gatto (Cannondale Pro Cycling) needed more water on him than in him with the Vuelta seeing some of the hottest temperatures so far this year. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Another stage 7 crash victim, Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) got medical attention past the finish line after he was taken down in the finale and had to walk his bike across the finish. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Stage winner Alessandro de Marchi found one way to cool down, cava-style (stage 7). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    In the feedzone of stage 8 the BMC team car pulled over to restock their coolers of cold drinks and ice for the riders before continuing on with the remaining 108 kilometers. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Near the finish line, podium presenters huddled in the shade to prepare themselves for the awards ceremony (stage 8). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) has been on a tear in this Vuelta, winning two stages but nearly was disqualified with this questionable bike throw against Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The ever-present Alberto Contador scrum at the finish line attracted fans, while riders attempted to get by to find their buses (stage 8). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    The Castilla - La Mancha region of Spain gave the riders a feeling of France in July with sunflowers, hot sun, and a hard mountain stage ahead. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    In a huge change of pace, fans take cover from the pounding rain under Skoda signs near the last kilometers of the Alto de San Rafael (stage 9). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    On stage 9, the Vuelta saw temperatures swing from 90 degrees at the start to pouring rain, thunder, and lightning with temperatures below 60 degrees at the finish. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Many fans took to the final cat 1 climb of Alto de San Rafael on their bikes, only to be met with chilly temperatures, thunder, and thick, persistent rain (stage 9). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Eventual race winner Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) arrives at 1,200 meters with only the TV moto for company (stage 9). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    A small chase group of race favorites — Froome, Uran, Valverde, and Aru — pick up the pace behind the driving tempo of Contador and Quintana (stage 9). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    A series of climbs over a challenging course gave Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) the perfect opportunity to test his form and that of his rivals. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Contador and Quintana took time out of their rivals on the final climb, and Chris Froome rode within himself to maintain striking distance on Quintana. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Rigoberto Uran stuck with his main rivals at the rainy finish in Armon Valdelinares, clearly spent from the racing and weather. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    Alberto Contador has a moment to soak in his performance, which brought him up to second overall in the standings. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    With the sudden change in weather in the finale of stage 9, many spectators were left to their own devices for protection — this fan created DIY leg warmers from garbage bags and construction tape. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    BMC's team leader Cadel Evans approached the final kilometer mark over 16 minutes behind Winner Anacona, placing him in 47th on the GC at the end of the first week (stage 9). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Vuelta a España: Blazing Saddles

    After one week of racing, the leader's jersey changed hands five times, ultimately landing on the shoulders of 2014 Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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Video: Tour the Lampre-Merida team bus

4 hours 27 min ago

Global Cycling Network takes a tour of the Lampre-Merida team bus at the Vuelta.

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Omega Pharma signs de la Cruz for two years

9 hours 7 min ago

David de la Cruz rode to 10th overall at the Tour of California this year. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

David de la Cruz has signed a two-year contract with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, the team announced Monday.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has been a professional since 2010, when he rode for Caja Rural. He switched to NetApp-Endura for the 2013 season.

A talented climber, de la Cruz will bolster Omega Pharma’s GC ambitions starting next season. He finished second in the sixth stage at the Amgen Tour of California this year en route to a 10th-place overall result.

“We think this guy has his best years in front of him,” Omega Pharma CEO Patrick Lefevere said in a team release. “He has already shown his potential the past two years, such as when he was 2nd on the queen stage at Tour of California. We knew about him and that he could be a rider that could strengthen the group of climbers we already have on the team. When I spoke with him, we came to an agreement quickly. I think he can be a factor in the climbs next year and we’re happy to have him with us at OPQS.”

Added de la Cruz: “I know a few of the guys from the team, especially Michal Kwiatkowski when we were teammates on Caja Rural. When I talked with Patrick Lefevere, he explained that my role on the team would be to help the GC guys in the mountains, but that I can also be useful in the right moments. I will do all that I can to grow as a rider. No one can understand how happy I feel right now and I will do everything 100 percent to continue to develop as a rider on this team.”

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Quintana seizes Vuelta lead as Contador picks up steam

10 hours 15 min ago

Nairo Quintana holds a three-second lead over Alberto Contador in the GC standings at the Vuelta. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The dynamic of the Vuelta a España changed in more ways than one in Sunday’s thrilling uphill finale to Valdelinares. The weather went from Sahara-like heat to Belgian cool as the stage put the opening week of extreme weather behind the peloton for good.

After eight stages of survival, the real race for the overall seemed to click into gear in the final, rain-soaked kilometers on twisting roads to the finish-line tape. Gone were the preambles and the testing of legs. No more hiding in the pack. The real Vuelta began Sunday.

Sensing that Chris Froome (Sky) was struggling, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) bolted like a sling-shot out of the withering GC pack, leaving overnight leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and the others choking on his rooster-tail of vapors ringing off his wheel. Giving chase was Joaquin Rodríguez (Katusha), with the help of teammate Eduard Vorganov. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who had been melting under the Andalucían heat, also sprang to life, and the trio caught Contador on the line.

“It was another tense day, complicated by the rain, but I felt I had good legs, and I saw Froome at the back, and I went for it, even though I think I am still a little short of my best,” Contador said at the line. “I am happy, now it’s a question of recovering and already think about the time trial, which is a very important day. There is still a long way to go, and there’s never an easy day in this Vuelta.”

Quintana overtook the leader’s jersey from Valverde, but Contador reconfirmed his GC creds by slotting into second at just three seconds back to gain the momentum going into Monday’s rest day. Everyone else seemed to be hanging on for dear life.

“I was feeling better today, because I was really suffering in the heat of the first days. We kept the jersey on the team, and that was the most important,” said Quintana, who seized the leader’s jersey from Valverde. “It’s almost like we’re all tied at zero. The Vuelta is far from over.”

Eleven riders finished ahead of the attacking Contador, with Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) winning his first grand tour stage out of a huge, 31-man breakaway, but all eyes were on the GC pack.

Under heavy rain and much cooler temperatures, an ever-confident Contador attacked, and Valverde and Froome couldn’t follow. It was an impressive acceleration that revealed just how good Contador is feeling coming into the second half of the Vuelta.

“The truth is I couldn’t follow when Contador attacked,” admitted Valverde, who slipped to third at eight seconds back. “I stayed with Froome and tried to attack at the end. We’ve always said from the beginning that Nairo is the captain, and I am keeping my options alive. The hardest part of the Vuelta is still to come.”

As expected, the 8km climb provided glimpses of who could win and who will not win this Vuelta, but it certainly didn’t serve as a race-breaker.

The differences were minimal, yet Contador gained a valuable 23 seconds on the Froome group, and the stage helped to set a more established hierarchy within the pack.

Only 30 seconds separate Quintana from sixth-place Rodríguez, who is showing signs of regaining his trademark punchiness in the climbing finales. Anacona surged into the top-10, rising from 21st to fourth at nine seconds back, but he admitted he’s more interested in chasing stages. The pack certainly won’t be giving him any more rope in breakaways following his impressive breakaway victory Sunday.

Stacked up behind Rodríguez are another 10 riders within 1:49 of the leader’s jersey. The Vuelta is still wrapped very tight, but Contador is clearly gaining steam.

“I was at my max today,” said Robert Gesink (Belkin), who slotted into eighth overall. “The last climb was really hard. I just kept fighting.”

Contador, Quintana, Valverde, and Rodríguez look to have a little more kick in their legs, but Froome and Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) are among several riders who are still hanging in there, something Froome admitted after crossing the line Sunday.

“I think we’ve come to see that Contador is going extremely well. He’s gotten over his injuries pretty quickly, and he’s going well, as are Nairo and Rodríguez,” Froome said. “The usual guys we expected for the GC. It’s a huge fight here, and it’s going to be a big race all the way to the end. Every second here or there is going to count.”

The peloton enjoys its first of two rest days Monday, followed by Tuesday’s decisive individual time trial at Borja. Riders such as Tony Martin (Omega Pharma) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) will be fighting for the stage victory, but it could prove decisive in the overall classification.

The 36.7km time trial is considered pivotal in Froome’s chances to win the Vuelta, but even he admitted before the start of Sunday’s stage, he’s still not in top form.

“In the final I didn’t have the legs to follow the top guys when they went. But I think given where I’ve come from on the back of the Tour and the build-up into the race I’m really happy with how things have gone so far. I can definitely feel I’m starting to pick up that race rhythm back into my legs and I’m looking forward to the second half of this race,” Froome said. “It’s relatively short compared to time trials elsewhere. But I enjoy time trialing, and I’m hoping to make the most of it.”

Froome or Urán, who won a similar time trial at the Giro d’Italia in May, could take big gains, while riders like Rodríguez could lose even more time. Consistent performers such as Contador and Quintana should be able to defend, even if Quintana admits he might lose the leader’s jersey.

“I am not a specialist, but I usually don’t do so badly,” Quintana said. “Today’s results confirmed that I am in good condition to lead the team, but there is no debate, we have two leaders on the team, with Alejandro and myself. What’s important is that the team wins.”

Sunday’s stage revealed the Vuelta is still packed tight, and Quintana or anyone else in the top-10 could still win this thing.

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Gallery: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 9

August 31, 2014 - 3:27pm

Contador's late run for the line animated the finish of the ninth stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Results: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 9

August 31, 2014 - 10:37am

Nairo Quintana takes over the red jersey from teammate Alejandro Valverde at the Vuelta a España. Photo: AFP

  • 1. Winner ANACONA GOMEZ, Lampre-Merida, in 4:34:14
  • 2. Alexey LUTSENKO, Astana, at :45
  • 3. Damiano CUNEGO, Lampre-Merida, at :50
  • 4. Javier MORENO BAZAN, Movistar, at 1:04
  • 5. Peio BILBAO, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 1:12
  • 6. Jerome COPPEL, Cofidis, at 1:21
  • 7. Ryder HESJEDAL, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:33
  • 8. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at 1:45
  • 9. Bob JUNGELS, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:49
  • 10. Fabio FELLINE, Trek Factory Racing, at 2:08
  • 11. Jerome COUSIN, Europcar, at 2:13
  • 12. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2:16
  • 13. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at 2:16
  • 14. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, Movistar, at 2:16
  • 15. Eduard VORGANOV, Katusha, at 2:22
  • 16. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at 2:39
  • 17. Fabio ARU, Astana, at 2:39
  • 18. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at 2:39
  • 19. Rigoberto URAN URAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 2:39
  • 20. Daniel MARTIN, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:39
  • 21. Daniel NAVARRO GARCIA, Cofidis, at 2:49
  • 22. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, Katusha, at 2:49
  • 23. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:51
  • 24. Robert GESINK, Belkin, at 2:55
  • 25. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at 2:55
  • 26. Damiano CARUSO, Cannondale, at 2:55
  • 27. Dominik NERZ, BMC Racing, at 2:55
  • 28. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, BMC Racing, at 2:55
  • 29. Carlos VERONA QUINTANILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 2:55
  • 30. Warren BARGUIL, Giant-Shimano, at 2:55
  • 31. Daniel TEKLEHAIMANOT, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:58
  • 32. Wilco KELDERMAN, Belkin, at 3:14
  • 33. Yannick MARTINEZ, Europcar, at 3:16
  • 34. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, Orica-GreenEdge, at 3:24
  • 35. Romain SICARD, Europcar, at 3:31
  • 36. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 3:36
  • 37. Giampaolo CARUSO, Katusha, at 3:44
  • 38. Maxime MONFORT, Lotto-Belisol, at 4:01
  • 39. Maxime BOUET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 4:37
  • 40. Przemyslaw NIEMIEC, Lampre-Merida, at 4:47
  • 41. David ARROYO DURAN, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 4:47
  • 42. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at 4:47
  • 43. Sergio PARDILLA BELLON, MTN-Qhubeka, at 4:52
  • 44. Andre Fernando S. Martins CARDOSO, Garmin-Sharp, at 5:50
  • 45. Amets TXURRUKA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 5:50
  • 46. Wouter POELS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 5:50
  • 47. Oliver ZAUGG, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 5:50
  • 48. Jesus HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 5:50
  • 49. Mikel LANDA MEANA, Astana, at 5:57
  • 50. Steve MORABITO, BMC Racing, at 6:03
  • 51. Guillaume LEVARLET, Cofidis, at 6:12
  • 52. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at 6:12
  • 53. Gianluca BRAMBILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 6:18
  • 54. Dario CATALDO, Sky, at 6:23
  • 55. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at 6:55
  • 56. Hubert DUPONT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 6:55
  • 57. Chris Anker SÖRENSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 6:55
  • 58. Christophe LE MEVEL, Cofidis, at 6:55
  • 59. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ.fr, at 7:18
  • 60. Stef CLEMENT, Belkin, at 7:26
  • 61. Nikias ARNDT, Giant-Shimano, at 7:43
  • 62. Louis MEINTJES, MTN-Qhubeka, at 7:44
  • 63. Romain ZINGLE, Cofidis, at 7:53
  • 64. Philip DEIGNAN, Sky, at 7:55
  • 65. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at 8:22
  • 66. Jacques JANSE VAN RENSBURG, MTN-Qhubeka, at 9:31
  • 67. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 9:48
  • 68. Chad HAGA, Giant-Shimano, at 9:48
  • 69. Peter KENNAUGH, Sky, at 10:46
  • 70. Adam YATES, Orica-GreenEdge, at 10:46
  • 71. Tom BOONEN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 11:03
  • 72. Sam BEWLEY, Orica-GreenEdge, at 11:03
  • 73. Jonathan CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS, Movistar, at 11:07
  • 74. Alberto LOSADA ALGUACIL, Katusha, at 11:07
  • 75. Danilo WYSS, BMC Racing, at 11:07
  • 76. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 11:07
  • 77. Tobias LUDVIGSSON, Giant-Shimano, at 11:07
  • 78. Johan LE BON, FDJ.fr, at 11:07
  • 79. Andrey AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA, Movistar, at 11:07
  • 80. Natnael BERHANE, Europcar, at 11:07
  • 81. Fabian CANCELLARA, Trek Factory Racing, at 11:20
  • 82. Alexandr KOLOBNEV, Katusha, at 11:30
  • 83. José HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at 11:35
  • 84. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 11:35
  • 85. Andrew TALANSKY, Garmin-Sharp, at 12:02
  • 86. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at 12:35
  • 87. Pirmin LANG, IAM Cycling, at 14:01
  • 88. Paul MARTENS, Belkin, at 14:01
  • 89. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at 14:01
  • 90. Koldo FERNANDEZ, Garmin-Sharp, at 15:05
  • 91. Martin VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 15:05
  • 92. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at 15:05
  • 93. Lawrence WARBASSE, BMC Racing, at 15:05
  • 94. Bart DE CLERCQ, Lotto-Belisol, at 15:05
  • 95. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, Sky, at 15:05
  • 96. Martijn KEIZER, Belkin, at 15:05
  • 97. Sander ARMEE, Lotto-Belisol, at 15:05
  • 98. Johannes FRÖHLINGER, Giant-Shimano, at 15:05
  • 99. Vincent JEROME, Europcar, at 15:26
  • 100. Nathan BROWN, Garmin-Sharp, at 15:40
  • 101. George BENNETT, Cannondale, at 15:40
  • 102. Jay Robert THOMSON, MTN-Qhubeka, at 16:21
  • 103. Maxime MEDEREL, Europcar, at 16:21
  • 104. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at 16:30
  • 105. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at 16:35
  • 106. Yaroslav POPOVYCH, Trek Factory Racing, at 18:47
  • 107. Jesse SERGENT, Trek Factory Racing, at 18:47
  • 108. Luis MAS BONET, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 18:47
  • 109. Julian David ARREDONDO MORENO, Trek Factory Racing, at 18:47
  • 110. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at 19:01
  • 111. Andrey ZEITS, Astana, at 19:01
  • 112. Vicente REYNES MIMO, IAM Cycling, at 19:01
  • 113. Marcel AREGGER, IAM Cycling, at 19:01
  • 114. Sébastien HINAULT, IAM Cycling, at 19:01
  • 115. Lloyd MONDORY, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 19:01
  • 116. Michael Valgren ANDERSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 19:01
  • 117. Romain HARDY, Cofidis, at 19:01
  • 118. Patrick GRETSCH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 19:01
  • 119. Vegard BREEN, Lotto-Belisol, at 19:01
  • 120. Filippo POZZATO, Lampre-Merida, at 19:01
  • 121. Brett LANCASTER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 19:01
  • 122. Jens DEBUSSCHERE, Lotto-Belisol, at 19:01
  • 123. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC Racing, at 19:01
  • 124. Nikolas MAES, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 19:01
  • 125. Jasper STUYVEN, Trek Factory Racing, at 19:01
  • 126. Dmitry KOZONTCHUK, Katusha, at 19:01
  • 127. Ivan ROVNY, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 19:01
  • 128. Lawson CRADDOCK, Giant-Shimano, at 19:01
  • 129. Sergei CHERNETSKI, Katusha, at 19:01
  • 130. Kristof VANDEWALLE, Trek Factory Racing, at 19:01
  • 131. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at 19:01
  • 132. Paolo LONGO BORGHINI, Cannondale, at 19:01
  • 133. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 19:01
  • 134. Kristian SBARAGLI, MTN-Qhubeka, at 19:01
  • 135. Johann TSCHOPP, IAM Cycling, at 19:01
  • 136. Nathan HAAS, Garmin-Sharp, at 19:01
  • 137. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 19:01
  • 138. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 19:01
  • 139. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at 19:01
  • 140. Gerald CIOLEK, MTN-Qhubeka, at 19:01
  • 141. Jaco VENTER, MTN-Qhubeka, at 19:01
  • 142. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at 19:01
  • 143. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at 19:01
  • 144. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at 19:01
  • 145. Paolo TIRALONGO, Astana, at 22:42
  • 146. Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 23:28
  • 147. Christian KNEES, Sky, at 26:42
  • 148. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Europcar, at 26:42
  • 149. Ramon SINKELDAM, Giant-Shimano, at 26:42
  • 150. Merhawi KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN, MTN-Qhubeka, at 26:42
  • 151. Rohan DENNIS, BMC Racing, at 26:42
  • 152. Francesco LASCA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 26:42
  • 153. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 26:42
  • 154. Jacopo GUARNIERI, Astana, at 26:42
  • 155. Adriano MALORI, Movistar, at 26:42
  • 156. Matteo PELUCCHI, IAM Cycling, at 26:42
  • 157. Yauheni HUTAROVICH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 26:42
  • 158. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at 26:42
  • 159. David MILLAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:42
  • 160. Damien GAUDIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 26:42
  • 161. Guillaume BOIVIN, Cannondale, at 26:42
  • 162. Valerio CONTI, Lampre-Merida, at 26:42
  • 163. Nacer BOUHANNI, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 164. Yohan BAGOT, Cofidis, at 26:42
  • 165. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 166. Robert WAGNER, Belkin, at 26:42
  • 167. Greg HENDERSON, Lotto-Belisol, at 26:42
  • 168. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:42
  • 169. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at 26:42
  • 170. Oscar GATTO, Cannondale, at 26:42
  • 171. Matthias KRIZEK, Cannondale, at 26:42
  • 172. Geoffrey SOUPE, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 173. Jonathan FUMEAUX, IAM Cycling, at 26:42
  • 174. Javier Francisco ARAMENDIA LORENTE, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 26:42
  • 175. Daniil FOMINYKH, Astana, at 26:42
  • 176. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, Lampre-Merida, at 26:42
  • 177. Dan CRAVEN, Europcar, at 26:42
  • 178. Karol DOMAGALSKI, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 26:42
  • 179. Antonio PIEDRA PEREZ, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 26:42
  • 180. Luke ROWE, Sky, at 26:42
  • 181. Mitchell DOCKER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:42
  • 182. Laurent MANGEL, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 183. Sébastien TURGOT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 26:42
  • 184. Gert JOEAAR, Cofidis, at 26:42
  • 185. Roberto FERRARI, Lampre-Merida, at 26:42
  • 186. Maarten TJALLINGII, Belkin, at 26:42
  • 187. Murilo Antonio FISCHER, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 188. Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:42
  • 189. Elia FAVILLI, Lampre-Merida, at 26:42
  • 190. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at 26:42
  • 191. Pim LIGTHART, Lotto-Belisol, at 26:42
  • 192. Anthony ROUX, FDJ.fr, at 26:42
  • 193. Dominic KLEMME, IAM Cycling, at 29:37
  • 194. Andrea GUARDINI, Astana, at 32:28
  • DNF Moreno HOFLAND, Belkin

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Nairo Quintana leads 2014 Vuelta a Espana as Winner Anacona takes stage 9

August 31, 2014 - 9:58am

Winner Anacona takes stage 9 at the Vuelta and just misses the overall lead. Photo: AFP

Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) soloed to victory in a contentious, rain-soaked stage 9 of the Vuelta a España on Sunday as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) replaced teammate Alejandro Valverde in the overall lead and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) slipped into second.

Anacona, Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) and Javier Moreno (Movistar) had broken free of a much larger escape in the final 20km of the 185km leg from Carboneras de Guadazaón to the mountaintop finish at Aramón Valdelinares.

Jungels was first to fade, and then a quick kick from Anacona dispatched Moreno, and he set off alone after the stage win and the leader’s red jersey.

But when Contador lit it up out of the much-reduced GC group, followed by Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), all bets were off. And while Anacona hung on for the stage win, it was Quintana who rescued the leader’s jersey for Movistar.

“I’ve had some great wins, but this one is special. I’ve never won a grand-tour stage before, and I had some tears in my eyes when I was crossing the line,” said Anacona.

Valverde praised Quintana for keeping the jersey in Movistar’s grip.

“The most important is that the leader’s jersey remains on the team,” he said. “Nairo had good legs, and he was able to go. I was on the wheel of Froome, but I couldn’t follow either, in the end, I sprinted to see if I could get a few seconds. The weather wasn’t great for me, so all things considered, I am content.

“We were never hiding anything, Nairo has always been the leader, and I am there. We are there, first and third, and the hardest part of the Vuelta is still to come.”

Stage 9 gallery

The stage packed a lot of climbing into the tail end of the stage: the category-3 Puerto de Cabigordo, 61km from the finish; the Cat. 2 Alto de San Rafael, 13km out; and the finishing ascent of the Cat. 1 Aramón Valdelinares, an 8km climb that averaged 6.6 percent with stretches of 8.5 percent.

A huge break went early, containing 31 riders, among them Anacona, who was siting 21st overall, just 2:50 down on red jersey Valverde, and quickly became the race leader on the road.

With 20km remaining and the rain falling once again, the break came apart, leaving Anacona, Jungels and Moreno off the front. The trio quickly built a half-minute on a chase of a dozen or so, while Sky was on point in the bunch with 15km remaining and the gap just under six minutes.

Ten kilometers out the rain began bucketing down, but the leaders held a five-minute edge over the GC group, which had Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on the front, trying to give Rigoberto Uran a head start on the final climb.

Ahead, Anacona and Moreno shed Jungels and soldiered on. And then the Lampre rider dropped Moreno, chasing the stage win and leader’s jersey. Behind, the peloton had closed to within four minutes and counting.

Five kilometers from the line Anacona was toughing it out in the rain as Sky drove the shrinking GC group ever closer. On the final steep ramp, 2.5km from the finish, he held 3:40 over the chase.

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) tried a move, but Katusha quickly shut it down. Then Contador shot away, quickly prying open a huge gap over the other contenders. Quintana then followed with Rodriguez.

They would not catch Anacona, who hung on to take the win — but his overlong celebration may have cost him in the end as the GC contenders fought their way forward.

Rodriguez and Quintana closed in on Contador in their final dash to the line, slicing through the remnants of the break and the crowds lining the final ascent.

Contador rode to 12th on the stage, nearly caught at the line by Quintana and Rodriguez. Valverde finished 16th, taking a second or two on Chris Froome (Sky).

And when the overall was calculated, the Vuelta had a new leader. Quintana donned the red jersey with three seconds over Contador, while Valverde slipped to third at eight seconds. Anacona now sits fourth overall, a second behind Valverde.

“I also knew I had a chance to gain the leader’s jersey, but I regained some time, and that’s most important for me,” said Anacona. “Maybe I can stay in the top 10, but I would prefer to win stages that focus on everything on the GC.”

The new race leader, meanwhile, said he hopes the team has the jersey when it counts — at the finish.

“We’ll try to keep the jersey, but if we don’t have until the last day in Santiago, that doesn’t matter, either,” said Quintana. “I am not a [time trial] specialist. I was suffering a bit in the heat of the first days. If it’s me or Alejandro who wins, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the team wins. The objective is to try to reach the podium, to have a podium in all three grand tours, and next year, return to the Tour.”

Stage 9 results

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Results: 2014 GP Ouest France-Plouay

August 31, 2014 - 9:30am

  • 1. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM Cycling, in 5:38:26
  • 2. Andrea FEDI, NRI, at :00
  • 3. Arthur VICHOT, FDJ.fr, at :00
  • 4. Cyril GAUTIER, Europcar, at :00
  • 5. Julian ALAPHILIPPE, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 6. Tim WELLENS, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 7. Ben HERMANS, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 8. Alexander KRISTOFF, Katusha, at :02
  • 9. Giacomo NIZZOLO, Trek Factory Racing, at :02
  • 10. Jurgen ROELANDTS, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 11. Gianni MEERSMAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :02
  • 12. Borut BOZIC, Astana, at :02
  • 13. Francesco GAVAZZI, Astana, at :02
  • 14. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ.fr, at :02
  • 15. Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG, Giant-Shimano, at :02
  • 16. Silvan DILLIER, BMC Racing, at :02
  • 17. Enrique SANZ, Movistar, at :02
  • 18. Anthony DELAPLACE, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 19. Luka MEZGEC, Giant-Shimano, at :02
  • 20. Ruslan TLEUBAYEV, Astana, at :02
  • 21. Yohann GENE, Europcar, at :02
  • 22. Jérôme BAUGNIES, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :02
  • 23. Jetse BOL, Belkin, at :02
  • 24. Armindo FONSECA, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 25. Enrico BATTAGLIN, Bardiani-CSF, at :02
  • 26. Stig BROECKX, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 27. Sebastian LANGEVELD, Garmin-Sharp, at :02
  • 28. Julien SIMON, Cofidis, at :02
  • 29. Heinrich HAUSSLER, IAM Cycling, at :02
  • 30. Marco HALLER, Katusha, at :02
  • 31. Elia VIVIANI, Cannondale, at :02
  • 32. Ben SWIFT, Sky, at :02
  • 33. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at :02
  • 34. Tony GALLOPIN, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 35. Manuele MORI, Lampre-Merida, at :02
  • 36. Yoann OFFREDO, FDJ.fr, at :02
  • 37. Mirko SELVAGGI, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :02
  • 38. Romain FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 39. Dennis VANENDERT, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 40. Samuel DUMOULIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :02
  • 41. Matti BRESCHEL, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :02
  • 42. Matthias BRANDLE, IAM Cycling, at :02
  • 43. Enrico GASPAROTTO, Astana, at :02
  • 44. Brice FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 45. Jean-Pierre DRUCKER, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :02
  • 46. Bryan COQUARD, Europcar, at :02
  • 47. Yukiya ARASHIRO, Europcar, at :02
  • 48. Marco MARCATO, Cannondale, at :02
  • 49. Florian SENECHAL, Cofidis, at :02
  • 50. Juan Jose LOBATO DEL VALLE, Movistar, at :02
  • 51. Simon GERRANS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :02
  • 52. Matteo TRENTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :02
  • 53. Jens KEUKELEIRE, Orica-GreenEdge, at :02
  • 54. Nicola BOEM, Bardiani-CSF, at :02
  • 55. Jasha SÜTTERLIN, Movistar, at :02
  • 56. Florian VACHON, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 57. Nelson Filipe SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Lampre-Merida, at :02
  • 58. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM Cycling, at :02
  • 59. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at :02
  • 60. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Sky, at :02
  • 61. Jay MCCARTHY, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :02
  • 62. Julien BERARD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :02
  • 63. Arnaud GERARD, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :02
  • 64. Michal GOLAS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :02
  • 65. Pablo LASTRAS GARCIA, Movistar, at :02
  • 66. Mauro FINETTO, NRI, at :02
  • 67. Danilo HONDO, Trek Factory Racing, at :02
  • 68. Jan BAKELANTS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :02
  • 69. Alexandre PICHOT, Europcar, at :02
  • 70. Cyril LEMOINE, Cofidis, at :02
  • 71. Jelle VANENDERT, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 72. Sonny COLBRELLI, Bardiani-CSF, at :02
  • 73. Manuele BOARO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :02
  • 74. Pavel KOCHETKOV, Katusha, at :02
  • 75. Aleksei TCATEVICH, Katusha, at :02
  • 76. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC Racing, at :02
  • 77. Björn LEUKEMANS, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :02
  • 78. Lars Petter NORDHAUG, Belkin, at :02
  • 79. Rudy MOLARD, Cofidis, at :02
  • 80. Nicki SÖRENSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :02
  • 81. Rein TAARAMAE, Cofidis, at :02
  • 82. Martin KOHLER, BMC Racing, at :02
  • 83. Lars Ytting BAK, Lotto-Belisol, at :02
  • 84. Kevin DE WEERT, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :02
  • 85. Romain BARDET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :02
  • 86. Pierrick FEDRIGO, FDJ.fr, at :11
  • 87. Salvatore PUCCIO, Sky, at :11
  • 88. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at :11
  • 89. Nicolas ROCHE, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :11
  • 90. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at :11
  • 91. Sébastien MINARD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :11
  • 92. Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA, Lampre-Merida, at :11
  • 93. Dylan VAN BAARLE, Garmin-Sharp, at :11
  • 94. Christopher JUUL JENSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :11
  • 95. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, Garmin-Sharp, at :39
  • 96. Tyler FARRAR, Garmin-Sharp, at :39
  • 97. Christopher SUTTON, Sky, at 1:10
  • 98. Laurens DE VREESE, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 1:13
  • 99. Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar, at 1:13
  • 100. Fumiyuki BEPPU, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:13
  • 101. Laurent PICHON, FDJ.fr, at 1:13
  • 102. Eduardo SEPULVEDA, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 1:13
  • 103. Thomas DAMUSEAU, Giant-Shimano, at 1:13
  • 104. Jos VAN EMDEN, Belkin, at 1:13
  • 105. Guillaume BONNAFOND, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:13
  • 106. Nick NUYENS, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:13
  • 107. Francisco José VENTOSO ALBERDI, Movistar, at 1:13
  • 108. Biel KADRI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:13
  • 109. Rafael VALLS FERRI, Lampre-Merida, at 1:13
  • 110. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at 1:13
  • 111. Anthony GESLIN, FDJ.fr, at 1:13
  • 112. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, at 1:13
  • 113. Egor SILIN, Katusha, at 1:13
  • 114. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC Racing, at 1:24
  • 115. Angelo TULIK, Europcar, at 1:31
  • 116. Calvin WATSON, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:51
  • 117. Davide APPOLLONIO, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:12
  • 118. Valerio AGNOLI, Astana, at 2:22
  • 119. Francesco FAILLI, NRI, at 2:22
  • 120. Maarten WYNANTS, Belkin, at 2:22
  • 121. Evgeny PETROV, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2:22
  • 122. Kristijan DURASEK, Lampre-Merida, at 2:50
  • 123. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 2:50
  • 124. John GADRET, Movistar, at 2:50
  • 125. Alan MARANGONI, Cannondale, at 2:50
  • 126. Luca PAOLINI, Katusha, at 2:50
  • 127. Jack BAUER, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:50
  • 128. Arnold JEANNESSON, FDJ.fr, at 3:32
  • 129. Andrea PIECHELE, Bardiani-CSF, at 4:03
  • 130. Edoardo ZARDINI, Bardiani-CSF, at 4:03
  • 131. Francesco Manuel BONGIORNO, Bardiani-CSF, at 4:03
  • 132. Michael ALBASINI, Orica-GreenEdge, at 5:01
  • 133. Albert TIMMER, Giant-Shimano, at 5:01
  • 134. Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing, at 5:44
  • 135. Fabio SABATINI, Cannondale, at 5:44
  • 136. Mattia CATTANEO, Lampre-Merida, at 5:44
  • 137. Davide CIMOLAI, Lampre-Merida, at 5:44
  • 138. Nikolay TRUSOV, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 5:44
  • 139. Roy CURVERS, Giant-Shimano, at 5:44
  • 140. Kris BOECKMANS, Lotto-Belisol, at 6:37
  • 141. Danny VAN POPPEL, Trek Factory Racing, at 6:37
  • 142. Jean Marc MARINO, Cannondale, at 6:37
  • 143. Nicola RUFFONI, Bardiani-CSF, at 7:46
  • 144. Christophe RIBLON, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 8:07
  • 145. Rick FLENS, Belkin, at 8:49
  • 146. Svein TUFT, Orica-GreenEdge, at 8:49
  • 147. Aliaksandr KUCHYNSKI, Katusha, at 8:49
  • 148. Samuele CONTI, NRI, at 8:49
  • 149. Tom VEELERS, Giant-Shimano, at 8:49
  • 150. Lasse Norman HANSEN, Garmin-Sharp, at 9:23
  • DNF Luca WACKERMANN, Lampre-Merida
  • DNF Fabio SILVESTRE, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Stijn DEVOLDER, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Grégory RAST, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Maxim IGLINSKY, Astana
  • DNF Alessandro VANOTTI, Astana
  • DNF Lars BOOM, Belkin
  • DNF Barry MARKUS, Belkin
  • DNF Bram TANKINK, Belkin
  • DNF Stephen CUMMINGS, BMC Racing
  • DNF Michel KOCH, Cannondale
  • DNF Moreno MOSER, Cannondale
  • DNF Pierre-Henri LECUISINIER, FDJ.fr
  • DNF Raymond KREDER, Garmin-Sharp
  • DNF Dayer Uberney QUINTANA ROJAS, Movistar
  • DNF Thomas DE GENDT, Omega Pharma-Quick Step
  • DNF Luke DURBRIDGE, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Michael HEPBURN, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Damien HOWSON, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Jens MOURIS, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Cheng JI, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Petr IGNATENKO, Katusha
  • DNF Ian BOSWELL, Sky
  • DNF Nathan EARLE, Sky
  • DNF Richie PORTE, Sky
  • DNF Jean-Marc BIDEAU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement
  • DNF Jérémy BESCOND, Cofidis
  • DNF Adrien PETIT, Cofidis
  • DNF Clément VENTURINI, Cofidis
  • DNF Martin ELMIGER, IAM Cycling
  • DNF Kevin ISTA, IAM Cycling
  • DNF Thomas LÖVKVIST, IAM Cycling
  • DNF Francesco CHICCHI, NRI
  • DNF Andrea DAL COL, NRI
  • DNF Simone PONZI, NRI
  • DNF Stefano PIRAZZI, Bardiani-CSF
  • DNF Thomas DEGAND, Wanty-Groupe Gobert
  • DNF Kevin VAN MELSEN, Wanty-Groupe Gobert
  • DNF Jan GHYSELINCK, Wanty-Groupe Gobert

The post Results: 2014 GP Ouest France-Plouay appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Sylvain Chavanel wins 2014 GP Ouest France-Plouay

August 31, 2014 - 8:05am

Sylvain Chavanel wins the 48th GP Ouest France-Plouay in a seven-up sprint. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) won the GP Ouest France-Plouay on Sunday, taking a seven-man sprint just seconds ahead of a closing peloton.

Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) finished second with Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr) third.

The bunch had just reeled in one seven-man escape short of the finish only to see another seven-man group go.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) launched attack after attack, but couldn’t gain any advantage. Cyril Gautier (Europcar) also tried and failed to get away.

And in the end, Chavanel led out the sprint and held his edge to the line.

“I was looking at the other riders in the final kilometer and I managed to do what it took to win,” he said. “I was a little bit worried but I said to myself, ‘Let’s do it.’ It’s a wonderful sprint for me, a wonderful day.”

Results

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Gallery: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 8

August 30, 2014 - 3:32pm

Racing against the sky (plus the heat, and the wind). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Results: 2014 GP de Plouay-Bretagne

August 30, 2014 - 3:30pm

  • 1. Lucinda BRAND, Rabo-liv, in 3:08:26
  • 2. Marianne VOS, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 3. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 4. Rossella RATTO, Estado de Mexico Faren, at :56
  • 5. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 6. Emma JOHANSSON, Orica-AIS, at :56
  • 7. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, HiTec Products, at :56
  • 8. Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD, Boels Dolmans, at :56
  • 9. Alena AMIALIUSIK, Astana-BePink, at :56
  • 10. Tiffany CROMWELL, Specialized-lululemon, at :56
  • 11. Audrey CORDON, HiTec Products, at 2:57
  • 12. Roxane KNETEMANN, Rabo-liv, at 2:57
  • 13. Megan GUARNIER, Boels Dolmans, at 2:57
  • 14. Valentina SCANDOLARA, Orica-AIS, at 2:57
  • 15. Ashleigh MOOLMAN-PASIO, HiTec Products, at 2:57
  • 16. Claudia HÄUSLER, Giant-Shimano, at 2:57
  • 17. Jessie DAAMS, Boels Dolmans, at 2:57
  • 18. Evelyn STEVENS, Specialized-lululemon, at 2:57
  • 19. Tatiana GUDERZO, Ale Cipollini, at 2:57
  • 20. Iris SLAPPENDEL, Rabo-liv, at 2:57
  • 21. Malgorzta JASINSKA, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 22. Leah KIRCHMANN, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 23. Marta TAGLIAFERRO, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 24. Elise DELZENNE, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 25. Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 26. Irene SAN SEBASTIAN LASA, Bizkaia-Durango, at 4:57
  • 27. Lauren HALL, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 28. Joanne KIESANOWSKI, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 29. Elena VALENTINI, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 30. Barbara GUARISCHI, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 31. Tayler WILES, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 32. Eugénie DUVAL, FRA, at 4:57
  • 33. Lara VIECELI, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 34. Edwige PITEL, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 35. Amy PIETERS, Giant-Shimano, at 4:57
  • 36. Belen LOPEZ MORALES, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 37. Lieselot DECROIX, Belkin, at 4:57
  • 38. Annelies VAN DOORSLAER, Belkin, at 4:57
  • 39. Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 40. Melodie LESUEUR, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 41. Janel HOLCOMB, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 42. Oxana KOZONCHUK, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 43. Lucie PADER, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 44. Polona BATAGELJ, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 45. Yevgeniya VYSOTSKA, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 46. Shara GILLOW, Orica-AIS, at 4:57
  • 47. Carlee TAYLOR, Orica-AIS, at 4:57
  • 48. Alexandra BURCHENKOVA, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 49. Sara OLSSON, HiTec Products, at 4:57
  • 50. Dalia MUCCIOLI, Astana-BePink, at 4:57
  • 51. Lourdes OYARBIDE JIMENEZ, Bizkaia-Durango, at 4:57
  • 52. Ursa PINTAR, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 53. Tetiana RIABCHENKO, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 54. Jade WILCOXSON, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 55. Uenia FERNANDES DA SOUZA, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 56. Andrea DVORAK, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 57. Julie BRESSET, FRA, at 4:57
  • 58. Eugenia BUJAK, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 59. Amélie RIVAT, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 60. Anna POTOKINA, Servetto Footon, at 4:57
  • 61. Sarah ROY, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 62. Anna TREVISI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 63. Maaike POLSPOEL, Giant-Shimano, at 4:57
  • 64. Elena CECCHINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 65. Doris SCHWEIZER, Astana-BePink, at 4:57
  • 66. Elena BERLATO, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 67. Karol-Ann CANUEL, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 68. Jasmin GLAESSER, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 69. Natalia BOYARSKAYA, Servetto Footon, at 4:57
  • 70. Elena KUCHINSKAYA, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 71. Fabiana LUPERINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 5:01
  • 72. Fanny LELEU, FRA, at 5:17
  • 73. Brianna WALLE, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 5:17
  • 74. Christine MAJERUS, Boels Dolmans, at 5:17
  • 75. Anastasiya CHULKOVA, RusVelo, at 5:27
  • 76. Kseniya TUHAI, Astana-BePink, at 12:08
  • 77. Kelly VAN DEN STEEN, Belkin, at 12:08
  • 78. Yulia BLINDYUK, RusVelo, at 12:08
  • 79. Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE, Bizkaia-Durango, at 12:08
  • 80. Silvia VALSECCHI, Astana-BePink, at 12:08
  • 81. Špela KERN, BTC City Ljubljana, at 12:08
  • 82. Anisha VEKEMANS, Belkin, at 12:08
  • 83. Lucia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 12:08
  • 84. Patricia SCHWAGER, Tibco-To the Top, at 12:08
  • 85. Martina RITTER, BTC City Ljubljana, at 12:08
  • 86. Marijn DE VRIES, Giant-Shimano, at 12:08
  • DNF Gracie ELVIN, Orica-AIS
  • DNF Amanda SPRATT, Orica-AIS
  • DNF Chloe HOSKING, HiTec Products
  • DNF Lauren KITCHEN, HiTec Products
  • DNF Eyerusalem KELIL, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox
  • DNF Azzurra D’INTINO, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox
  • DNF Amanda MILLER, Tibco-To the Top
  • DNF Lauren STEPHENS, Tibco-To the Top
  • DNF Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA, Boels Dolmans
  • DNF Annie EWART, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
  • DNF Oriane CHAUMET, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Charlotte BRAVARD, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Gabrielle PILOTE-FORTIN, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Aizhan ZHAPAROVA, RusVelo
  • DNF Alice Maria ARZUFFI, Astana-BePink
  • DNF Elisabet BRU, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Marina LIKHANOVA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Ana Teresa CASAS BONILLA, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Dorleta ESKAMENDI GIL, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Clemilda FERNANDES SILVA, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Yulia ILINYKH, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Mélanie BRAVARD
  • DNF Anabelle DREVILLE
  • DNF Séverine ERAUD
  • DNF Sofie DE VUYST, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata
  • DNF Valerie DEMEY
  • DNF Alicia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Eider MERINO KORTAZAR, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Floortje MACKAIJ, Giant-Shimano

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Lizzie Armitstead claims World Cup title as Lucinda Brand wins finale

August 30, 2014 - 2:24pm

Lucinda Brand solos to victory in the final round of the UCI World Cup. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Rabo-Liv squad swept the podium at the GP de Plouay on Saturday, putting Lucinda Brand on the top step, as Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) claimed the overall title in the 2014 UCI Women’s Road World Cup.

The 121km race north of Plouay in Brittany was the final event in the series.

Brand soloed to the win by nearly a minute ahead of teammates Marianne Vos and Pauline Ferrand Prevot, who crossed second and third, respectively.

“I never believed I was actually going to win this,” said the 25-year-old Dutchwoman. “This year I have been very close to wins and just missed out by meters or even centimeters. That has left me with a bit of a trauma.

“But I heard what my gap was in the final and knew that I was not going to lose 50 seconds in the final two kilometers.”

The decisive move came 50km from the line. Vos launched a breakaway that soon included teammates Brand, Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen; Armitstead; Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS); Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products); Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-lululemon); Rosella Ratto (Estado de Mexico); and Alena Amialiusik (Astana-Be Pink).

The break was down to eight with less than 14km remaining when Brand made her move.

“I knew I wasn’t the strongest on the climb, so I had to let the group go there, but I saved energy and there still was something left in the legs. The others maybe expected something from the stronger riders and then I had a chance,” she said.

She built up a lead of almost a minute but saw that dwindle to 30 seconds on the Côte de Ty Marec, with gradients exceeding 10 percent. But the chase group included Vos, Van der Breggen and Ferrand-Prevot, and they weren’t doing any work.

Brand held on to take the victory, her first in a World Cup event. And 56 seconds later, Vos sprinted to second with Ferrand-Prevot right behind.

“It was a hard race and we attacked several times,” the world champion said. “Lucinda is always there for the team and today she wins this race. We all had our chances but in the end the one who makes the break takes it. I am very happy for her.”

As for Armitstead, who finished eighth on the day, crossing with the first chase, she was delighted to claim the World Cup crown.

“I showed I was one of the strongest on the road today,” Armitstead said. “There were just so many riders for Rabo-Liv and in the end I didn’t have the legs anymore for the sprint. But I won the overall World Cup and that was one of my career goals so I am happy.”

Results

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Garmin-Sharp puts its Vuelta eggs in Daniel Martin’s basket

August 30, 2014 - 10:54am

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), shown crossing the line with the lead group on stage 4, is the team's best-placed man after eight stages. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BAEZA, Spain (VN) — Garmin-Sharp is now putting all of its GC eggs in one basket in the form of Daniel Martin. The Irishman is the team’s sole survivor going into the second week of the Vuelta a España.

Andrew Talansky started the Vuelta admittedly not in fighting form in his comeback from his emotional Tour de France exit, while Ryder Hesjedal, who had hoped for a strong GC performance, lost his options in a pair of tough days in the first week.

That leaves the 28-year-old Martin to carry the team’s GC weight into the Vuelta’s second half. Speaking to VeloNews before the start of Saturday’s stage, Martin said he’s ready.

“The main thing is to try to keep the options for the GC. It would have been nice to have more cards to play, but that’s not the case. Now it’s me,” Martin said. “This position is a bit new to me, and I haven’t really led at a grand tour before. I am looking forward to it, and we’ll see how it goes in the mountains.”

Martin has had a solid opening week, punching to second in stage 3, and riding close to the top favorites to keep his GC options intact. Martin ended Saturday’s chaotic sprint stage 15th overall at 1:34 back.

Martin admitted he buckled on the short but steep climb up La Zubia in stage 5. Garmin-Sharp was driving the pace, but Martin suddenly was pedaling squares when the main players pushed forward. The searing heat in the first week of the Vuelta certainly wasn’t helping.

“It’s been a pretty good start, but we lost a bit of time when they tried to split up the bunch. It wasn’t really in the crosswinds, but in the downhill,” he said.

“Ryder losing his GC shot was a bit of a blow, but personally, it’s been a good start. I felt good on the uphill finish [La Zubia], but suddenly I just didn’t have the legs. I think it was the heat. The body stopped working with 2km to go. I was looking really good, then suddenly I wasn’t. It wasn’t like it was a slow decline. Hopefully the cooler temperatures will treat me well. I’ve felt good otherwise.”

This Vuelta is Martin’s seventh grand-tour start. A confirmed stage-hunter and one-day racer — he won the 2013 Liège-Bastogne-Liège but crashed on the final corner this year when he had another win in his sights — Martin admits he’s not sure if he’s cut out to be a contender in the three-week tours.

He struggles on longer, power-based time trial courses, and so far, his best grand tour was 13th overall in the 2011 Vuelta.

Martin crashed out in the opening team time trial at the 2014 Giro d’Italia, so this Vuelta could be a turning point in his career. If he does well, he could continue to work to develop his GC credentials. If not, he might look at focusing on winning stages, and on the prestigious one-day races, such as Liège or Giro di Lombardia, that fit him like a glove.

“I am still discovering myself as a rider,” Martin said. “Sometimes I don’t even think I like this stage-racing business. So far, it seems people are content with not losing the race, rather than winning the race.

“You saw the other day when we took control of the race, to try to win. We seemed like the only team who wanted to try to win the stage, and the other teams seemed more worried about saving energy for the next days. It’s not the style of racing I enjoy so much. I prefer the one-day races. Maybe I will change during this Vuelta. I am definitely maturing mentally as well.”

The next 72 hours could well decide much of Martin’s immediate future during this Vuelta. Sunday’s mountaintop finale is perfect for Martin’s punchy, attacking style. He can stay with the top contenders, and boasts a strong finishing kick to win stages like the Valdelinares summit finale.

And then there is the long, individual time trial at Borja on Tuesday, hardly Martin’s favored ground. If he loses too much time, he could revert into his role as a stage-hunter. Yet if he can manage to stay close, he will keep fighting into the final week.

“The Vuelta is long, and the hardest climbs are still to come,” Martin said. “I will try every day, like we’ve been doing so far. Whether that’s a stage win or a strong placing in GC, we’ll see.”

 

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Results: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 8

August 30, 2014 - 10:28am

  • 1. Nacer BOUHANNI, FDJ.fr, in 4:29:00
  • 2. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 3. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at :00
  • 4. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 5. Greg HENDERSON, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 6. Robert WAGNER, Belkin, at :00
  • 7. Kristian SBARAGLI, MTN-Qhubeka, at :00
  • 8. Roberto FERRARI, Lampre-Merida, at :00
  • 9. Tom BOONEN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 10. Jasper STUYVEN, Trek Factory Racing, at :00
  • 11. Danilo WYSS, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 12. Sébastien HINAULT, IAM Cycling, at :00
  • 13. Damiano CARUSO, Cannondale, at :00
  • 14. Michael Valgren ANDERSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 15. Geoffrey SOUPE, FDJ.fr, at :00
  • 16. Gerald CIOLEK, MTN-Qhubeka, at :00
  • 17. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at :00
  • 18. Alexandr KOLOBNEV, Katusha, at :00
  • 19. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 20. Wilco KELDERMAN, Belkin, at :00
  • 21. Robert GESINK, Belkin, at :00
  • 22. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at :00
  • 23. Rigoberto URAN URAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 24. Ivan ROVNY, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 25. Fabio ARU, Astana, at :00
  • 26. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 27. Nikolas MAES, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 28. Maxime MONFORT, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 29. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, Movistar, at :00
  • 30. Eduard VORGANOV, Katusha, at :00
  • 31. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 32. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 33. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 34. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at :00
  • 35. Giampaolo CARUSO, Katusha, at :00
  • 36. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at :00
  • 37. Daniel MARTIN, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
  • 38. Andre Fernando S. Martins CARDOSO, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
  • 39. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, Sky, at :00
  • 40. Wouter POELS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 41. Fabio FELLINE, Trek Factory Racing, at :00
  • 42. Dominik NERZ, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 43. Guillaume BOIVIN, Cannondale, at :00
  • 44. Warren BARGUIL, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 45. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at :00
  • 46. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 47. Philip DEIGNAN, Sky, at :00
  • 48. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 49. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at :00
  • 50. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 51. Dario CATALDO, Sky, at :00
  • 52. Andrey AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA, Movistar, at :00
  • 53. Jerome COPPEL, Cofidis, at :00
  • 54. Steve MORABITO, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 55. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :10
  • 56. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at :13
  • 57. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at :13
  • 58. Tobias LUDVIGSSON, Giant-Shimano, at :16
  • 59. Mitchell DOCKER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :18
  • 60. Christian KNEES, Sky, at :20
  • 61. Vegard BREEN, Lotto-Belisol, at :20
  • 62. Christophe LE MEVEL, Cofidis, at :53
  • 63. Patrick GRETSCH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 64. Andrea GUARDINI, Astana, at :53
  • 65. Romain SICARD, Europcar, at :53
  • 66. Romain HARDY, Cofidis, at :53
  • 67. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at :53
  • 68. Daniel NAVARRO GARCIA, Cofidis, at :53
  • 69. Sergio PARDILLA BELLON, MTN-Qhubeka, at :53
  • 70. David ARROYO DURAN, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at :53
  • 71. Yauheni HUTAROVICH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 72. Nathan HAAS, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 73. Maarten TJALLINGII, Belkin, at :53
  • 74. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, Katusha, at :53
  • 75. Lloyd MONDORY, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 76. Oliver ZAUGG, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :53
  • 77. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at :53
  • 78. Filippo POZZATO, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 79. Paul MARTENS, Belkin, at :53
  • 80. Matthias KRIZEK, Cannondale, at :53
  • 81. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at :53
  • 82. Jesse SERGENT, Trek Factory Racing, at :53
  • 83. Paolo TIRALONGO, Astana, at :53
  • 84. Adriano MALORI, Movistar, at :53
  • 85. Vicente REYNES MIMO, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 86. Matteo PELUCCHI, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 87. Marcel AREGGER, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 88. Gert JOEAAR, Cofidis, at :53
  • 89. Koldo FERNANDEZ, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 90. Daniel TEKLEHAIMANOT, MTN-Qhubeka, at :53
  • 91. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at :53
  • 92. Johan LE BON, FDJ.fr, at :53
  • 93. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at :53
  • 94. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at :53
  • 95. Oscar GATTO, Cannondale, at :53
  • 96. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Europcar, at :53
  • 97. Winner ANACONA GOMEZ, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 98. Alberto LOSADA ALGUACIL, Katusha, at :53
  • 99. Gianluca BRAMBILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :53
  • 100. Sébastien TURGOT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 101. Martin VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :53
  • 102. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 103. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at :53
  • 104. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 105. Valerio CONTI, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 106. Chad HAGA, Giant-Shimano, at :53
  • 107. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at :53
  • 108. José HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at 1:08
  • 109. Jens DEBUSSCHERE, Lotto-Belisol, at 1:08
  • 110. Murilo Antonio FISCHER, FDJ.fr, at 1:08
  • 111. Ramon SINKELDAM, Giant-Shimano, at 1:08
  • 112. Romain ZINGLE, Cofidis, at 1:08
  • 113. Dmitry KOZONTCHUK, Katusha, at 1:08
  • 114. Yaroslav POPOVYCH, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:08
  • 115. Luke ROWE, Sky, at 1:08
  • 116. Jacopo GUARNIERI, Astana, at 1:13
  • 117. Jerome COUSIN, Europcar, at 1:13
  • 118. Rohan DENNIS, BMC Racing, at 1:13
  • 119. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1:16
  • 120. Vincent JEROME, Europcar, at 1:26
  • 121. Jaco VENTER, MTN-Qhubeka, at 1:52
  • 122. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 1:52
  • 123. Fabian CANCELLARA, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:55
  • 124. Karol DOMAGALSKI, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 1:55
  • 125. Stef CLEMENT, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 126. Moreno HOFLAND, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 127. Martijn KEIZER, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 128. Johannes FRÖHLINGER, Giant-Shimano, at 2:23
  • 129. Nikias ARNDT, Giant-Shimano, at 2:23
  • 130. Lawrence WARBASSE, BMC Racing, at 2:23
  • 131. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ.fr, at 2:23
  • 132. Damiano CUNEGO, Lampre-Merida, at 2:23
  • 133. Chris Anker SÖRENSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2:23
  • 134. Kristof VANDEWALLE, Trek Factory Racing, at 2:23
  • 135. Mikel LANDA MEANA, Astana, at 2:23
  • 136. Javier Francisco ARAMENDIA LORENTE, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 137. Maxime BOUET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 138. Carlos VERONA QUINTANILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 2:23
  • 139. Adam YATES, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:23
  • 140. Nathan BROWN, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:23
  • 141. Przemyslaw NIEMIEC, Lampre-Merida, at 2:23
  • 142. Bart DE CLERCQ, Lotto-Belisol, at 2:23
  • 143. Amets TXURRUKA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 144. Francesco LASCA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 145. Guillaume LEVARLET, Cofidis, at 2:23
  • 146. Hubert DUPONT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 147. Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 2:23
  • 148. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at 2:23
  • 149. Paolo LONGO BORGHINI, Cannondale, at 2:23
  • 150. Sergei CHERNETSKI, Katusha, at 2:23
  • 151. Natnael BERHANE, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 152. Merhawi KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 153. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 154. Peio BILBAO, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 155. Brett LANCASTER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:23
  • 156. Jacques JANSE VAN RENSBURG, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 157. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at 2:23
  • 158. Luis MAS BONET, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 159. Damien GAUDIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 160. Maxime MEDEREL, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 161. Yannick MARTINEZ, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 162. Pirmin LANG, IAM Cycling, at 2:23
  • 163. Louis MEINTJES, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 164. Yohan BAGOT, Cofidis, at 2:23
  • 165. Sam BEWLEY, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:30
  • 166. Dan CRAVEN, Europcar, at 2:30
  • 167. Ryder HESJEDAL, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 168. David MILLAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 169. Peter KENNAUGH, Sky, at 3:00
  • 170. Andrew TALANSKY, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 171. Alexey LUTSENKO, Astana, at 3:51
  • 172. Sander ARMEE, Lotto-Belisol, at 5:52
  • 173. Jay Robert THOMSON, MTN-Qhubeka, at 6:47
  • 174. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 6:47
  • 175. Johann TSCHOPP, IAM Cycling, at 6:47
  • 176. Andrey ZEITS, Astana, at 6:47
  • 177. Jonathan FUMEAUX, IAM Cycling, at 6:47
  • 178. Jesus HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 6:47
  • 179. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 6:47
  • 180. Javier MORENO BAZAN, Movistar, at 6:47
  • 181. Julian David ARREDONDO MORENO, Trek Factory Racing, at 6:47
  • 182. Daniil FOMINYKH, Astana, at 6:47
  • 183. Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 6:47
  • 184. Lawson CRADDOCK, Giant-Shimano, at 6:47
  • 185. Elia FAVILLI, Lampre-Merida, at 6:47
  • 186. George BENNETT, Cannondale, at 6:47
  • 187. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at 6:47
  • 188. Pim LIGTHART, Lotto-Belisol, at 8:59
  • 189. Bob JUNGELS, Trek Factory Racing, at 8:59
  • 190. Laurent MANGEL, FDJ.fr, at 8:59
  • 191. Dominic KLEMME, IAM Cycling, at 8:59
  • 192. Jonathan CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS, Movistar, at 8:59

The post Results: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 8 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Nacer Bouhanni wins stage 8; Alejandro Valverde leads Vuelta

August 30, 2014 - 9:36am

Nacer Bouhanni takes stage 8 from Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan. Photo: AFP

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) out-kicked Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and a resurgent Peter Sagan (Cannondale)on Saturday, winning stage 8 of the Vuelta a España in a bunch dash to the line.

Bouhanni, who had protested Giant-Shimano sprinter John Degenkolb’s tactics in stage 5, didn’t mind changing his own line considerably to take victory on Saturday.

“I had good legs today. I was a bit surprised I could win. I went early, because I did not want to get boxed in,” he said.

“It was a hard stage, very nervous when the bunch started to split up. My team did a great job to help me stay in good position.”

The 207km stage from Baeza to Albacete saw a two-man break go clear: Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) and Francisco Javier Aramendia Llorente (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

The escapees took six minutes at one point before being retrieved with less than 40km remaining.

Gallery: stage 8

Then, with 25km to go, the bunch split into echelons. The front two groups came back together, and up front were Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Cadel Evans and Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing), Sagan, and Chris Froome (Sky), among others.

Another group was chasing a half-minute down, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Degenkolb.

“It was a crazy end. The wind was causing problems, but in the end we managed to save the day,” said Valverde, who added that he knew Quintana had been caught out.

“I was aware of it. I didn’t know exactly if Quintana was closing or not, but I couldn’t look back. I just had to keep going at the front.”

BMC was driving the pace in the lead group, with Manuel Quinziato and Steve Morabito. But inch by inch, more riders fought their way up to the leaders and it was a sizable group that formed up to contest the finale.

Giant took up the pace going into the final left-hander and through a roundabout with 2.5km to go. Then Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale moved forward for Matthews and Sagan, with Orica on the point coming out of the final turn.

Degenkolb, Matthews, Sagan and Bouhanni battled for the win at the end, with the FDJ rider edging his Orica rival at the line. Sagan crossed third.

“I’ve won twice in a week, so I am happy,” said Bouhanni. “I was close to abandoning a few days ago, and I am happy that I made it to this stage.”

Despite all the action in the wind, when the overall was tallied, Valverde retained the red leader’s jersey by 15 seconds over teammate Quintana, with Contador third at 18 seconds.

Stage 8 results

 

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Junior world ITT champ Igor Decraene dies at 18

August 30, 2014 - 8:09am

Belgian Igor Decraene, winner of the 2013 world junior time-trial championship in Florence, Italy, has died at age 18 after a training accident. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgium cycling lost one of its budding stars on Saturday as the local media reported the death of junior world time-trial champion Igor Decraene.

He was 18.

The RTBF Sport website originally reported that he had been involved in an accident. But the Belga news agency reported later that Decraene had committed suicide. The agency gave no further details.

Decraens won the time-trial title in Florence last year, having also collected the national crown. He was in line to ride for Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s development squad.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Igor Decraene,” the team said via Twitter.

His cycling club, De Tieltse Rennersclub, said via Facebook: “Our thoughts are with his parents, his brothers and his family, to whom we wish a lot of strength and courage in this terrible ordeal.”

The club’s sports director, Koen Dutroit, who told Het Laatste Nieus that Decraene “couldn’t wait to defend his title at the world championships,” said he was stunned by the news.

UCI president Brian Cookson issued a statement, which reads, “This is a terribly sad news. Igor was a very promising rider. Our thoughts are with his parents, brothers, family and friends.”

The Belgian cycling federation said Decraene had been training with the national team in preparation for the UCI world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

“It’s difficult to comment on this terrible news, it will take time,” said Belgian federation president Tom Van Damme.

Editor’s note: The story is developing and will be updated.

 

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Hesjedal changes mindset, goes on the attack at the Vuelta

August 29, 2014 - 3:02pm

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was the best of the rest, finishing second in stage 7. One can't help but wonder how the finale would have played out if the group of four had made it to the end together to contest the stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

ALCAUDETE, Spain (VN) — Two days after getting caught in an ambush in crosswinds that all but ended his GC hopes in the Vuelta a España, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was on the march in Friday’s stage across treacherous roads.

Hesjedal punched into the day’s winning breakaway, the first successful break of this year’s Vuelta, but a late crash dashed his hopes for the stage win. The Canadian rode across the line second at 1:34 behind winner Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), frustrated but content with his efforts.

“I was on De Marchi’s wheel, and my bike just went out from underneath me. It’s pretty frustrating,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “De Marchi and I were doing the lion’s share of the work. Who knows what would have happened. Hat’s off to De Marchi, he was super strong all day. I was in for a shot for the win, so it’s pretty frustrating.”

Hesjedal’s crash was similar to one involving grand tour rookie Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) earlier this week. Roads in southern Spain are covered in dust, grime, and oil, baking under an intense sun without rain for weeks if not months.

“The roads were pretty treacherous out there,” he said. “We were managing it pretty well, but my bike just slipped out from underneath me.”

Hesjedal’s presence in Friday’s breakaway revealed just how much this Vuelta has changed for the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion.

After skipping the Tour de France, he came into the Vuelta with quiet optimism of fighting for a top spot overall.

Those hopes evaporated Wednesday in an otherwise routine stage when Tinkoff-Saxo accelerated in crosswinds to try to split up the bunch. Unfortunately for Hesjedal, he was one of the biggest names caught in their trap, but he questioned Tinkoff-Saxo’s style of the attack.

“I am not a big fan of moves like that. We had just gone through a small village, with cobbles, and then a big descent, so the entire peloton is single-file, and then they drill it,” Hesjedal said. “Someone loses the wheel, and you’re caught out.

“I had Nathan [Brown] with me, but he punctured. Dan [Martin] was in the second group, and most of the team was having to deal with that. It was real hectic, and I didn’t have time to come back,” he said. “There were not a lot of guys in my group working. Basically, it was a 45km time trial. You cannot compete alone against the majority of the peloton.”

Hesjedal lost more than three minutes, and admitted he didn’t have great legs in Thursday’s explosive finale up La Zubia, losing even more time.

“The legs just weren’t there, so I rode up at my own pace,” Hesjedal said. “I have a different mindset now. The GC is over for me. We still have Dan [Martin], and we’ll ride to protect him. We’ll also be looking for other opportunities.”

Hesjedal was rewarded with the day’s most combative rider’s prize for his efforts. Garmin-Sharp’s second second-place stage finish — Martin was second in stage 3 — will only fuel their drive to win a stage before this Vuelta is over.

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Froome dodges bullet, confidence building day by day at Sky

August 29, 2014 - 2:58pm

Chris Froome (Sky) may have finished the Vuelta's stage 7 a bit battered and bloodied, but he also finished a couple seconds ahead of his rivals, showing his determination and GC ambitions. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

ALHENDÍN, Spain (VN) — Chris Froome (Sky) dodged a bullet Friday, avoiding serious injury in an early-stage crash. He later sprinted, with his right knee and elbow covered in bandages, to take a couple seconds on his GC rivals.

Temperatures and tempers were on the rise during Friday’s transition stage over rough, bumpy roads across Andalucía’s barren olive grove country. Froome couldn’t avoid other riders crashing in front of him, and went skittering to the ground, giving everyone inside the Team Sky bus a scare.

“I’m OK, but you definitely get the feeling that when bad luck comes, it comes more than once,” said Froome, who also crashed in a pre-race warm-up last week in Jerez de la Frontera. “All things considered, I’m feeling alright, and I think I got off relatively unscathed. It’s good to have another day behind us.”

When Froome went down, there was confusion in the bunch because the day’s main breakaway was just forming prior to the third-category Alto de Illora. Some teams kept pulling, trying to control the break or place a rider into the group, while others were urging the pack to slow down.

“I narrowly avoided the crash,” said Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). “Froome lost a minute because he had a mechanical, but no one was pulling at the front. Everyone was expecting it to regroup, and to get through the rest of the day ‘tranquilo.’”

Froome initially struggled to regain contact, but Team Sky pulled back into formation and paced him back into the front pack after a quick visit to the medical car.

“When the crash happened, a Giant-Shimano rider went down in front of me. I swerved to try to avoid that, and went down,” Froome explained on the team’s website. “The guys paced me back. It took us a good 15km before we got back into the peloton.”

Froome then had a parting shot in the finish, darting clear out of the GC group, enough to take two seconds on Contador and the others.

Despite the scare, Froome is now in fourth place overall, just 20 seconds behind race leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Friday’s transition stage across the olive groves of Andalucía was hardly a walk in the park. The demanding parcours and rough, dust-and-oil-covered roads made for a tension-packed day of racing.

“Easy? Just ask Froome, he crashed,” Contador said after Friday’s stage. “The roads were super-slippery, and you had to be very careful. It took more than 40km before the break got away, so we were really going fast behind.”

The first week of the Vuelta closed out Friday with Froome looking a lot more credible than he did when the season’s third grand tour started in Jerez de la Frontera.

Though he may be one of the best contemporary grand tour riders, Froome came to the Vuelta with more question marks than confidence. Froome missed weeks of training to recover from his injuries that provoked his early exit from the Tour de France, preventing him from defending his yellow jersey.

Even Sky’s team boss Dave Brailsford said Froome wouldn’t know how he was going until the race hit the mountains. Froome answered those doubts Thursday in the short but steep climb up La Zubia.

Froome’s determination and aggressive racing in the first week have served as a spark within the Team Sky bus. When Froome was confirmed for the Vuelta, the team left home such riders as Ian Boswell to bring a stronger core group of experienced riders to protect Froome for a podium campaign.

One of those riders is Peter Kennaugh, who will be one of the key men for Froome in the mountains in the final week.

“The vibe has been pretty good from the start. Everyone is having a laugh. Everyone is working together, the spirit is really good,” Kennaugh told VeloNews. “Everyone knows their job. We’re all motivated to see Chris racing well.”

Kennaugh said he cannot understand speculation about Froome’s condition coming into the Vuelta.

“Maybe he wasn’t as good for the Tour de France, but Froomey in January is still better than 95 percent of the peloton,” Kennaugh continued. “I was always confident that he could do what he did [Thursday]. He’ll just keep getting stronger as the race goes on.”

Froome gave a hint that he was taking the Vuelta very serious when he sprinted to win a two-second time bonus at an intermediate sprint midway through stage 5.

“Why not take those bonus seconds when you can? Chris doesn’t forget that he lost the Vuelta [in 2011] by 13 seconds,” Sky sport director Dario Cioni told VeloNews. “It’s not easy to take two seconds in the race. It shows Chris is serious about this Vuelta.”

And if there was any doubt about Sky’s leader, he erased them in Thursday’s summit finale, riding to second in the stage, and erasing uncertainty about his form.

Without overlooking the potential dangers of crosswinds in Saturday’s sprinter’s stage to Albacete, the next major test comes in Sunday’s climbing stage to Valdelinares. The finale will be much better suited to Froome’s climbing style, with a second-category climb quickly followed by the 8km, first-category summit finish.

And following Monday’s rest day, Froome’s ace in the hole is waiting with the 36.5km individual time trial at Borja in stage 10. If Froome is anywhere near the same level the peloton’s seen over the past few years, he should be able to take important, if not decisive, gains on the Spanish mountain goats.

“The time trial will be very important for Chris,” Sky’s Dario Cataldo told VeloNews. “We have to keep Chris out of trouble, and protect him leading to the climbs. We are confident after what we are seeing so far.”

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