15 September 2013

Vuelta a España Stage 21: Leganés to Madrid

Yesterday the clouds and mist descended on the final climb of the 2013 Vuelta a España.

On the climb of the Angliru the first of the top ten to get dropped was Leopold Konig (TNE). Then on the first ramp of the steepest part of the climb Vincenzo Nibali launched an attack. But he was was brought back, and then he attacked again. But by now it was only the Chris Horner (RSL) led trio with Alejandro Valverde (MOV) and Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT) who could retain his wheel. But as the mist came down and the crowds closed around it was soon time for Horner to go to the front and press on.

First Valverde dropped off the pace a little, but pulled back, but then Rodriguez and Valverde both fell a short gap behind Horner and Nibali. But then out of one corner Horner launched an attack and Nibali appeared to have stalled. The gap was established and was only going to increase from there to the line.

In the end as the GC contenders had been making their way through breakaway riders only Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) was able to stay ahead. But next over the line some 26 seconds later was Chris Horner taking some vital bonus seconds and the clock then ticked over to see what sort of lead he would have. Valverde was leading the chase group and Nibali could have sprinted for the extra seconds for third. But when they crossed the line some 28 seconds further back it was Valverde who took the only remaining time bonus.

Rodriguez came in 1'45" behind the stage winner, Domenico Pozzivivo (ALM) 2'20" and Nicolas Roche (TST) 3'42" down. So the final GC should look like this:

  1. Chris Horner
  2. Vincenzo Nibali +37"
  3. Alejandro Valverde +1'36"
  4. Joaquin Rodriquez +3'22"
  5. Nicolas Roche +7"11"
  6. Domenico Pozzivivo +8'00"
  7. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +8'41"
  8. Samuel Sachez (EUS) +9'51"
  9. Leopold Konig (TNE) +10'11"
  10. Daniel Moreno (TST) +13'11"
So along with being in the red jersey Chris Horner also has the white jersey for best all around rider, Valverde remains in the Green for points leader and Nicolas Edet (COF) has done enough to win the king of the mountains. Euskaltel- Euskadi who were dead before the start of La Vuelta have emerged as the best team some 1'02" ahead of Movistar and with a saviour in the shape of Fernando Alonso.

Today's final stage will be a mainly ceremonial loop around the capital from Leganés before heading back into the centre of the city and a 5.7km circuit taking the race over the finish line 8 times before opening it up for those sprinters that have survived this tough race to fight it out.

The race is over for the GC contenders but too many times this race the sprinters teams have lost out on what should have been a stage to showcase their sprinters. Maybe finally in Madrid there will be a final bunch sprint which isn't chasing down a last few lone escapees.

Then when Chris Horner crosses the line he will not only be the oldest man to complete La Vuelta but will also be the oldest man ever to win a Grand Tour race.

No comments:

Post a Comment