Sunday, September 04, 2011

Vuelta stage 14

Mikel Nieve put on a strong performance in yesterday's stage to the top of the Farrapona to inch closer to a top 10 overall placing. Nieve stayed with the main favourites almost all the way to the line to distance riders like VDB, Nibali, Purito, Moreno, Martin and Fuglsang to name but a few. The going got a bit too tough for Nieve in the last kilometre and he ended up ceding 10 seconds to Wiggins, Froome, Mollema and Menchov on his way to a highly-impressive ninth place. Heading into today's stage to l'Angliru, he's 13th on GC, a minute down on number ten, Moreno.

The team as a whole had an outstanding performance. Isasi and Azanza formed part of the main break and animated the racing throughout, while Txurruka had a dig with five kilometres to go. Txurruka looked as swashbuckling as usual but couldn't put enough time into a hard-chasing lead group and was swallowed up with three to go. Isasi showcased his increasing strength on the climbs by staying with the likes of Moreno and Bruseghin far up the Farrapona, while Verdugo took huge pulls at the head of the pack to set up Nieve. Azanza had a crash coming off a descent leading into the final climb and was reeled in by the pack, but he still had enough left in the tank to set a high tempo in the peloton on the first half of the climbs. All in all an impressive performance from the team. Stage results:
  • 9, Nieve, 0:55
  • 24, Txurruka, 2:02
  • 33, Isasi, 4:21
  • 38, Verdugo, 6:45
  • 47, Azanza, 11:42
  • 101, Martínez, 23:45
  • 104, Oroz, s.t.
  • 166, Antón, 30:20
  • 169, Cazaux, s.t.

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