VUELTA: Stage 15 win for Geniez of FDJ


Vincenzo Nibali looking in control of the GC battle behind Alexandre Geniez of FDJ who stays away for the stage win.

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In the toughest Tour of Spain for many a year, the climbs keep on coming at the riders as Nibli and Horner continue their battle for the Red jersey. The Italian still holds the upper hand after the two of them along with Valverde all finished on the same time after the longest stage so far.


Fittingly with the race entering France, Alexandre Geniez of FDJ wins stage 15. Photos:

Chris Horner: “I think Nibali and myself were still the strongest, but Rodriguez and Valverde were putting in strong attacks. KiÅ¡erlovski (Horner’s teammate) did a big effort to try to break the group apart, but we had five or six guys that were really on top form today so basically we just all watched each other to the line. If we keep this up, nothing will change. We might need someone to have a bad day before we can make another selection.”

With just over 6km to go, Kišerlovski went to the front and upped the pace on the final climb, but the gradient wasn’t really steep enough or long enough to result in much damage, and the GC favorites came to the finish line together, led by Vincenzo Nibali of Astana. He remains in the red leader’s jersey by 50-seconds to Horner after more than sixty hours of racing. Third place is held by Alejandro Valverde of Movistar at 1:42.

Horner: “We played some tactics with speed up, slow down, but I remembered this climb and that it wasn’t so difficult. It was more to keep Valverde and Rodriguez from being able to put in one of their sprint attacks. I can handle the acceleration from Nibali but the acceleration from those two is more difficult.”



“I wanted to be sure they didn’t jump over the top of me. Nibali and I were alone together for a few minutes and I was hoping we could gain some more ground, but we hestitated just a slight bit and they brought us back. You can’t give them any hesitation – they are two of the best riders in the world,” he said of Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who holds fourth place.

It was a long stage of 225km in the Pyrenees, taking more than six hours to complete on the narrow mountain roads. But unlike yesterday’s dismally wet and cold conditions, Sunday’s stage was mostly dry after an earlier shower moved through the region dropping some rain to leave patches of wet on the roads.

The stage began in Andorra with a large group forming from initial breaks that were later pared down to only six. One of the hard working escapees was Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) who slipped away before the last climb to take a solo win by 3:03 to Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and 3:07 to Nicolas Roche of Saxo-Tinkoff who went ahead to try and gain back some time he lost the day before.

It was the third day in a row that the win came from a successful breakaway.

Monday is another difficult day in la Vuelta for stage 16. The shorter 146.8km stage begins in Graus and ends in Aramón Formigal. Then Tuesday brings the second rest day before the big push for Madrid. The final stages of racing include more climbs, particularly on stages 18, 19 and 20, meaning there is still time for Chris Horner to gain back time on leader Vincenzo Nibali.

Horner concluded: “My form is still good and the legs are good, even though today was long and cold. But I‘m hoping to see another warm day in Spain. I think the podium is doable for sure, but right now I’m still hoping to make a move. I’m just playing it mountain stage by mountain stage.”

Horner currently leads in the Combination classification and wears the white jersey to signify that he holds the best placement on GC, points and mountains ahead of all other riders.



Third overall Valverde feeling good
The rider in third place overall, Alejandro Valverde said after the stage “I was feeling good, but looking at the rivals, they weren’t doing bad either. We tried some accelerations at the Peyresourde, but it was really difficult: they were really strong and it wasn’t easy to drop them.”

“I’m doing great, not bad at all. There’s still a long way to go in this Vuelta, and despite all favourites being so close to each other, one or another excelling at some point but not so much, we will try to profit from every chance we have. It was a better day in terms of weather today.”

“Still, the big problem yesterday was spending so many days above 30ºC, even close to 40ºC at the climb on Friday’s stage, then shifting to four or five degrees on top of the Envalira on Saturday. We might have not brought the best clothes for that descent, but the change was brutal. I’m happy with this podium, but we won’t surrender – if there’s a chance, we will go for it.”



Nicolas the Brave
Saxo-Tinkoff’s Nicolas Roche (above) launched an attack with 30 kilometers to go and he established contact with his teammate, Zaugg and they now formed a Saxo-Tinkoff duo chasing the last man standing in front, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) while trying to avoid the other favourites bridging the gap.

The many attacks from the favourites behind quickly took a great deal of the gap to Nicolas Roche who was now supported by Rafal Majka. They weren’t able to catch Geniez but over the final 2 kilometres, Roche was alone trying to make it to the finish line ahead of his GC rivals.

“The plan” says Nicolas, was to have a lot of options during the stage and everything worked out as planned. First Chris Anker Sørensen did a tremendous piece of work and after my escape, I bridged to Oliver (Zaugg) who lead me to Majka and did a good job taking me to the final bit where I really dug deep to keep the other guys behind but we succeeded and it was a great team performance.”

Stage winner no longer an Unknown
It took a little time for the stage winner Alexandre Geniez to realize what it he had done. “My first pro victory was in the Tour of Austria in 2011 and it happened just the same way”, he said. “To win the queen stage of the Vuelta, it is exceptional for me. I would like to win more often but we climbers do not have as many opportunities as the sprinters. I’ll remember this all my life. This morning, I first wanted to position myself at the front of the race to eventually be useful to Thibaut Pinot. I wanted to go as far as possible to win a mountain stage. I am satisfied with my day.”

Stage Result
1 GENIEZ Alexandre Equipe Cycliste 06:20:12
2 SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida 03:03
3 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 03:07
4 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 03:20
5 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team @ st
6 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard @ st
7 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team @ st
8 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale @ st
9 HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team 03:23
10 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
11 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste 03:45
12 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi 03:56
13 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura @ st
14 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling @ st
15 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:55
16 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard 05:08
17 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi 05:24
18 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team 05:46
19 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 06:13
20 TXURRUKA Amets Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 06:35
21 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team 06:39
22 CARDOSO André Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 07:00
23 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff 07:15
24 LANDA MEANA Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi 07:24
25 BAGOT Yoann Cofidis Solutions Crédits 08:13
26 ROUX Anthony Equipe Cycliste 08:17
27 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team 08:28
28 CHEREL Mikael AG2R La Mondiale 08:32
29 DE GREEF Francis Lotto Belisol Team 08:55
30 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team 09:14
31 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team 10:59
32 GARCIA FERNANDEZ Marcos Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
33 PIMENTA COSTA MENDES José João Team NetApp – Endura 11:58
34 PREIDLER Georg Team Argos – Shimano 12:16
35 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Sky Procycling 12:51
36 MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi Euskaltel – Euskadi 13:06
37 PATERSKI Maciej Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 14:18
38 SIJMENS Nico Cofidis Solutions Crédits 15:07
39 GARATE Juan Manuel Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
40 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida @ st
41 SZMYD Sylwester Movistar Team 15:16
42 FROHLINGER Johannes Team Argos – Shimano @ st
43 ZAUGG Oliver Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
44 FAIRLY Caleb Garmin – Sharp @ st
45 ANACONA GOMEZ Winner Lampre – Merida @ st
46 SARMIENTO TUNARROSA Jose Cayetano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
47 VALLS FERRI Rafael Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
48 CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team 15:20
49 CANCELLARA Fabian RadioShack – Leopard 15:49
50 OROZ UGALDE Juan Jos̩ Euskaltel РEuskadi 16:23
51 BRAJKOVIč Janez Astana Pro Team 16:26
52 KOHLER Martin BMC Racing Team @ st
53 ELISSONDE Kenny Equipe Cycliste 16:57
54 COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
55 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura 18:16
56 PAUWELS Serge Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 21:00
57 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
58 MEIER Christian Orica GreenEDGE @ st
59 ZANDIO ECHAIDE Xabier Sky Procycling @ st
60 KOZONTCHUK Dmitry Katusha Team @ st
61 GUSEV Vladimir Katusha Team 21:03
62 VICIOSO ARCOS Ángel Katusha Team 21:07
63 BUSCHE Matthew RadioShack – Leopard 21:29
64 RAST Gregory RadioShack – Leopard @ st
65 GASTAUER Ben AG2R La Mondiale @ st
66 HUZARSKI Bartosz Team NetApp – Endura @ st
67 EDET Nicolas Cofidis Solutions Crédits 23:05
68 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
69 KIRYIENKA Vasil Sky Procycling 23:25
70 BOLE Grega Vacansoleil – DCM 24:14:00
71 ISAYCHEV Vladimir Katusha Team 25:41:00
72 HOOGERLAND Johnny Vacansoleil – DCM 25:45:00
73 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale @ st
74 HERMANS Ben RadioShack – Leopard @ st
75 ARNDT Nikias Team Argos – Shimano @ st
76 ARAMENDIA LORENTE Javier Francisco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
77 KNEES Christian Sky Procycling @ st
78 PINEAU Cédric Equipe Cycliste @ st
79 IRIZAR ARANBURU Markel RadioShack – Leopard @ st
80 STAMSNIJDER Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
81 CAMANO ORTUZAR Iker Team NetApp – Endura @ st
82 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team @ st
83 COURTEILLE Arnaud Equipe Cycliste @ st
84 BARGUIL Warren Team Argos – Shimano @ st
85 MORI Manuele Lampre – Merida @ st
86 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team 26:49:00
87 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling @ st
88 NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
89 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team @ st
90 ZEITS Andrey Astana Pro Team 27:36:00
91 POPOVYCH Yaroslav RadioShack – Leopard @ st
92 PETROV Evgeni Team Saxo-Tinkoff 30:36:00
93 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
94 MORENO BAZAN Javier Movistar Team @ st
95 VANOTTI Alessandro Astana Pro Team 31:28:00
96 TIRALONGO Paolo Astana Pro Team 32:37:00
97 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 35:09:00
98 LASCA Francesco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
99 LODEWYCK Klaas BMC Racing Team @ st
100 VAN DER SANDE Tosh Lotto Belisol Team @ st
101 VANENDERT Dennis Lotto Belisol Team @ st
102 GUTIERREZ PALACIOS Jose Iván Movistar Team @ st
103 PAOLINI Luca Katusha Team @ st
104 VANSUMMEREN Johan Garmin – Sharp @ st
105 EIJSSEN Yannick BMC Racing Team @ st
106 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
107 MONDORY Lloyd AG2R La Mondiale @ st
108 BONO Matteo Lampre – Merida @ st
109 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt Team Argos – Shimano @ st
110 DALL’ANTONIA Tiziano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
111 SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC Racing Team @ st
112 HOWES Alex Garmin – Sharp @ st
113 FERRARI Fabricio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
114 RASMUSSEN Alex Garmin – Sharp @ st
115 FARRAR Tyler Garmin – Sharp @ st
116 TOSATTO Matteo Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
117 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R La Mondiale @ st
118 GRAZIATO Massimo Lampre – Merida @ st
119 HOWARD Leigh Orica GreenEDGE @ st
120 CATALDO Dario Sky Procycling @ st
121 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura @ st
122 BERARD Julien AG2R La Mondiale @ st
123 BARTA Jan Team NetApp – Endura @ st
124 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
125 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team @ st
126 ERVITI OLLO Imanol Movistar Team @ st
127 AZANZA SOTO Jorge Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
128 RATTO Daniele Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
129 WAGNER Robert Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
130 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
131 WURF Cameron Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
132 PETIT Adrien Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
133 PETERSON Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
134 VEIKKANEN Jussi Equipe Cycliste @ st
135 PIEDRA PEREZ Antonio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ st
136 PUCCIO Salvatore Sky Procycling @ st
137 DOCKER Mitchell Orica GreenEDGE @ st
138 HANSEN Adam Lotto Belisol Team @ st
139 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE @ st
140 VERDUGO MARCOTEGUI Gorka Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
141 LONGO BORGHINI Paolo Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
142 HUPOND Thierry Team Argos – Shimano @ st
143 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
144 URTASUN PEREZ Pablo Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
145 TANNER David Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
146 FLECHA Juan Antonio Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
147 DODI Luca Lampre – Merida @ st
148 RICHEZE Ariel Maximiliano Lampre – Merida @ st
149 MøRKøV Michael Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
150 POULHIES Stéphane Cofidis Solutions Crédits

1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 60:20:21
2 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard 00:50
3 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 01:42
4 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 02:57
5 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 03:43
6 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 03:49
7 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste 04:59
8 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura 06:18
9 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi 07:46
10 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team 09:11
11 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 09:21
12 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 11:17
13 SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida 12:03
14 HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team 13:31
15 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi 14:49
16 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team 15:56
17 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team 17:34
18 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard 18:03
19 CARDOSO André Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 21:27
20 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff 22:17



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