VUELTA: GC Contenders stick like glue to each other

Chris Froome put in a brave attack on the final climb but was forced to hold station as stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana ended in stalemate. Igor Aton, finally had his day in the sun winning stage 19.

Returning to the Basque country for the first time in 33 years and riding for the Basque team (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Igor Aton was a popular winner as he soloed in 41 seconds clear of Movistar rider Marzio Bruseghin and a break that dominated the stage.

It was however the battle for the GC that was the focal point of the race and whilst the day ended with Chris Froome still 13 seconds down on Cobo, the Kenyan born brit certainly took the race to the rider in red. His team, including third overall, Bradley Wiggins did their best to ‘soften up’ Jose Cobo but he was having any of it and was stuck like glue to Froome right the way to the line where Cobo finished inbetween Froome and Wiggins.

Ian Stannard, Team Sky rider: “I had a very busy start to the day because it my job was to look out for Froomey and to try and get him into contention to contest the first intermediate sprint after 19.7km. We were among several teams who made sure no breakaway attempts were allowed to stick before that occurred, but it was (Joaquim) Rodriguez, (David) De la Fuente and (Bauke) Mollema who took the bonus seconds in the end.

“That took it out of me for a while and I suffered all the way up the Puerto de la Granja. That was when I took on the water carrier role with Xabier Zandio and we were pretty much constantly heading and forth to the cars to keep everybody cool and hydrated.

“As we approached Bilbao I then headed towards the front of the bunch and helped lead out Froomey and Brad onto that last climb which they took on two times. Once that had happened my job for the day was done and I was able to roll home in the gruppetto. It was like a sauna today.”

Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director: “It went pretty well in terms of the way we applied ourselves but unfortunately Cobo was just too strong. We tried to put him under pressure right from the start and Thomas Löfkvist was unbelievable today. He did some really good work for the team during that second half of the race and then Bradley then took up the mantle for Froomey on that final climb.

“Froomey did everything he could to try and shake Cobo but he just stuck to his wheel. When Mollema went soon after that, Bradley was strong enough to keep up with him, which was good to see and he was able to defend his third-placed position.

“Froomey will be wearing the white jersey again for Cobo tomorrow but unfortunately we couldn’t get the red jersey off him no matter how hard we tried. We will see what happens tomorrow.”


Only two stages remain before the Vuelta finishes.

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Stage 19
1. ANTON, Igor    EUS    3h 53′ 34”
2. BRUSEGHIN, Marzio    MOV    + 41”
3. NERZ, Dominik    LIQ    + 1′ 30”
4. ZUBELDIA, Haimar    RSH    + 1′ 30”
5. SÖRENSEN, Chris    SBS    + 1′ 31”
6. DE LA FUENTE, David    GEO    + 1′ 33”
7. FUGLSANG, Jakob    LEO    + 1′ 33”
8. NIBALI, Vincenzo    LIQ    + 1′ 33”
9. CAPECCHI, Eros    LIQ    + 1′ 33”
10. MOLLEMA, Bauke    RAB    + 1′ 33”

13. MARTIN, Daniel    GRM    + 1′ 33”
14. ROCHE, Nicolas    ALM    + 1′ 33”
16. FROOME, Christopher    SKY    + 1′ 33”
17. COBO, Juan José    GEO    + 1′ 33”
18. WIGGINS, Bradley    SKY    + 1′ 33”

1. COBO, Juan José    GEO    77h 59′ 12”
2. FROOME, Christopher    SKY    + 13”
3. WIGGINS, Bradley    SKY    + 1′ 41”
4. MOLLEMA, Bauke    RAB    + 2′ 03”
5. MENCHOV, Denis    GEO    + 3′ 48”
6. MONFORT, Maxime    LEO    + 4′ 13”
7. NIBALI, Vincenzo    LIQ    + 4′ 31”
8. VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen    OLO    + 4′ 45”
9. MORENO, Daniel    KAT    + 5′ 20”
10.NIEVE, Mikel    EUS    + 5′ 33”
11. FUGLSANG, Jakob    LEO    + 5′ 50”
12. SÖRENSEN, Chris    SBS    + 7′ 04”
13. MARTIN, Daniel    GRM    + 7′ 22”
14. BRUSEGHIN, Marzio    MOV    + 8′ 52”
15. LAGUTIN, Sergey    VCD    + 8′ 57”
16. ROCHE, Nicolas    ALM    + 10′ 31”
17. POELS, Wouter    VCD    + 11′ 42”
18. KISERLOVSKI, Robert    AST    + 13′ 27”
19. RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin    KAT    + 14′ 31”
20. SASTRE, Carlos    GEO    + 19′ 51′

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