VUELTA: Win for JJ in bunch gallop on Stage 16

Stage 16 as expected finished in a bunch kick and Juan Jose Haedo won from Alessandro Petacchi and Daniele Bennati. It was another Juan José, Cobo, who still leads the Tour of Spain overall with Chris Froome at 22 seconds while Wiggins is listed as being at 51 seconds.

After a trio of riders had the TV cameras for company out front of the race only to be caught as the finale approached, it was the final run in to the finish that had the riders at sixes and sevens.  Leopard-Trek’s Robert Wagner  was seemingly confused at which way to go at one point which caused confusion behind him. JJ Haedo however had the run in sussed and while he sprinted for the line, riders crashed behind him and gaps opened up, Froome losing two seconds on Cobo and Wiggins five. Another of the GC contenders, Joaquim Rodriguez, was probably worst off though, crashing heavily.

Leopard Trek director sportif, Luca Guercilena explains what happened at the finish: “We had at first thought we might be able to use the winds to our advantage. We had the plan to form an echelon. The winds were not strong enough to split up the peloton, so we turned our complete focus to the finish. We had planned it perfectly. Unfortunately due to tiredness and the chaotic nature of a finish, Robbie [Robert Wagner] followed the motorbike right around the roundabout instead of heading left towards the finish,” continued Guercilena. “Daniele had to brake too much. He wasn’t able to go straight to the line.”

“While we’re obviously disappointed to miss an opportunity for victory, we can be happy that the team did such good work for Daniele,” said Guercilena. “Stage victories aside, we want to ensure Daniele goes out of the Vuelta with good form. He has only improved from the start. We could have won today. That was clear. He condition would have allowed that. It was a missed chance, but this happens in cycling sometimes. Today it happened to us.”

Saxobank’s Bradley McGee meanwhile thinks the resut would have been the same whether there had been a roundabout or not. “JJ (Haedo) has become really strong going through the mountain stages and he’s in perfect condition which he obviously showed today. He was ready, was in the perfect position in the finale and he was better tactically and physically in the technically demanding sprint where some riders took the wrong turn in the last roundabout. But it would have made no difference. JJ (Haedo) was simply better than everyone today and we hope he can repeat this win on Sunday in Madrid”.

The Team Sky Stage Story
Chris Froome put in a battling ride on stage 16 at the Vuelta a Espana but was forced to concede defeat in his bid to claw back time on the race leader. The Brit narrowly missed out on bonus seconds at the day’s final intermediate sprint and sits 22 seconds behind Juan Jose Cobo (Geox).

Morris Possoni, Team rider: “It’s taken a long time coming for the first pure sprinters’ stage and it was nice for a lot of the climbing specialists to be able to relax a bit. Of course, the GC contenders had to remain alert and stay out of trouble, but for the rest of us it was a fairly straightforward day – even if the pace was still pretty high.”

“I was playing a domestique role early on which meant collecting bottles and guarding both Bradley and Froomey, and then in the final stages it was up to the likes of Dario, Thomas and Ian to lead them and CJ up to the front, with CJ contesting the sprint.”

Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director “It was a tricky finish but we knew there was a roundabout there. Some people went the wrong way around the roundabout at the end and it was a bit narrow with all the fences there. We spoke about [the intermediate sprint] in the meeting. [Froome] said himself that if it comes back together he wanted to give it a try as there were a few seconds on the line.”

“Tomorrow is a hard finish and a long stage so today it was about not making it too stressful and not getting caught out in the crosswinds. The guys did well and Chris [Sutton] was up there at the end but he was a bit isolated in the final. He had some good help from Ian but it was a bit of a shame. We will see what happens tomorrow.”

> Previous Stage (Cobo takes the leaders jersey from Wiggins)

Stage 16
1    HAEDO, Juan Jose    SBS    4h 41′ 56”
2    PETACCHI, Alessandro    LAM    @st
3    BENNATI, Daniele    LEO    @st
4    REYNES, Vicente    OLO    @st  1º
5    HOWARD, Leigh    THR    + 2”
6    DE KORT, Koen    SKS    + 2”
7    MONDORY, Lloyd    ALM    + 2”
8    MAES, Nikolas    QST    + 2”
9    SUTTON, Christopher    SKY    + 2”
10    COBO, Juan José    GEO    + 2”

11    ROCHE, Nicolas    ALM    + 4”
13    FROOME, Christopher    SKY    + 4”
14    NIBALI, Vincenzo    LIQ    + 4”
15    FUGLSANG, Jakob    LEO    + 4”
22    WIGGINS, Bradley    SKY    + 7”
70    STANNARD, Ian    SKY    + 23”

1    COBO, Juan José    GEO    64h 39′ 14”
2    FROOME, Christopher    SKY    + 22”
3    WIGGINS, Bradley    SKY    + 51”
4    MOLLEMA, Bauke    RAB    + 1′ 41”
5    MONFORT, Maxime    LEO    + 2′ 40”
6    MENCHOV, Denis    GEO    + 3′ 06”
7    FUGLSANG, Jakob    LEO    + 3′ 08”
8    NIBALI, Vincenzo    LIQ    + 3′ 49”
9    VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen    OLO    + 4′ 03”
10    POELS, Wouter    VCD    + 4′ 18”

15    MARTIN, Daniel    GRM    + 6′ 47”
18    ROCHE, Nicolas    ALM    + 9′ 18”

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