VUELTA: Stage 18, stage to Kiryienka but Horner closes in on Nibali


Vasil Kiryienka wins stage 18 of the Vuelta but Chris Horner wins the GC battle on the final climb and is nibbling away at Nibali’s lead with just 3 seconds separating them after 73 hours of racing in Spain

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Kiryienka produced one of Team Sky’s better performances as he romped solo to a awesome victory. The Belarusian rider had formed part of a 15-man break early in the stage, but shed his rivals 45km from home and then pressed on alone for his first Team Sky victory.

Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) was second, 50 seconds ahead of the third-placed Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) who is riding his seventh grand tour straight.

“Once I’d gone away, I knew I had to keep calm” Kiryienka explained on his team’s website. “On the straight bits of the descent and then try to build time by sprinting out of the corners. I’ve got an aerodynamic position and can descend pretty well, and I was pleased to see how big the gap had got once I’d made it on to the flats. “Then it was a matter of taking food on board, controlling my effort, and making sure I had enough left in the tank for that final climb.”

“Once the road ramped up again, it was a matter of riding just below threshold and then judging my efforts over the steeper sections of the climb. It was hard to concentrate at times because the crowds were so loud and they really spurred me on. It was an incredible feeling when I wrapped up the victory and I was so pleased to be able to pay the team back for all the faith they have shown in me this year, and all the work they’ve put in.”

“It’s a perfect result for the team because we’ve been working so hard to get that elusive win in this last week or so. Our morale has always stayed high but this will have boosted the mood even further. We’ve come close in the sprints, in the mountains, and now we’ve won from a breakaway, so we’re all really happy.”

Battle royal sees Nibli lose more time
It was though the GC battle that everyone was left gobsmacked with. Over five minutes behind Kiryienka who was pressing on for the stage win, the GC riders hit the final few kilometres of the stage and the 21% slopes and the fairly large group just exploded. Katusha tried to light it up and Nibali clung like glue to Horner’s rear wheel but when the gradient reared up, Horner pressed harder on the pedals and slowly but surely, opened up a gap on tghe race leader.

Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) put 25 seconds into Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). “Three seconds” Horner says. “I guess it won’t matter either way if I get dropped on one of the next two stages. We’ll have to see how things go. I can’t stress on three seconds right now.”

“I made up a lot of time today and the gap is smaller; that’s what is important to me. The team is fantastic, I just can’t thank them enough.” At the foot of the climb Greg Rast and Yaroslav Popovych went flat out to ensure a good position for Horner on the climb. Matthew Busche rode next and then Robert KiÅ¡erlovski was the last teammate with Horner before he launched his attack in the closing kilometres.

Horner “When I rode with Saunier Duval back in 2005, I lived in an apartment right over there but I never rode up this climb so I didn’t know it too well. But it was so steep it didn’t matter much. I let my legs recover on the one section that isn’t so steep, maybe that is where I lost three seconds. I’m at my best when the climb is the steepest and there is no draft so I can just go my hardest.”

Horner still wears the white combination jersey as the best-placed rider on GC, points and mountains classifications.

Stages 19 and 20 are both climbing stages, with opportunities to break open the race. Horner: “Saturday’s climb is the better day for me, but when you are going against the best guys in the world, you have to pay attention on every stage.”

“Tomorrow could be a game of tactics. I thought I could take the jersey today but I was three seconds off. I felt confident today and very fresh from the hard work Cancellara did yesterday. But today Gregy and Popo and then Busche and Robert lit it up. It was a good day, I enjoyed it. I just need to keep my form for another few days to get the red jersey and take it to Madrid.”

“Tomorrow’s Alto Naranco isn’t such a steep finishing climb, but Saturday’s climb to the Angliru is an “all bets are off” sort of climb where anything can happen. If Horner hasn’t taken the jersey before then, it will be the final chance to do so. Friday’s stage 19 is 181km from San Vicente de la Barquera to Oviedo.

Stage Result
1 KIRYIENKA Vasil Sky Procycling 04:46:48
2 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:28
3 HANSEN Adam Lotto Belisol Team 01:18
4 KOHLER Martin BMC Racing Team 01:34
5 MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi Euskaltel – Euskadi 01:42
6 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard 01:53
7 TXURRUKA Amets Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 02:02
8 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 02:13
9 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team ,,
10 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 02:18
11 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
12 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste 02:24
13 SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida ,,
14 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 02:31
15 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi 02:36
16 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura ,,
17 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team ,,
18 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida 02:49
19 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi ,,
20 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt Team Argos – Shimano 02:53
21 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale ,,
22 CHEREL Mikael AG2R La Mondiale 02:59
23 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 03:04
24 HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team 03:06
25 PIMENTA COSTA MENDES José João Team NetApp – Endura 03:38
26 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team 03:42
27 HUZARSKI Bartosz Team NetApp – Endura ,,
28 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
29 BAGOT Yoann Cofidis Solutions Crédits ,,
30 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard ,,
31 VICIOSO ARCOS Ángel Katusha Team 04:04
32 BOLE Grega Vacansoleil – DCM 04:08
33 GENIEZ Alexandre Equipe Cycliste 04:18
34 PAUWELS Serge Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:37
35 CARDOSO André Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 04:44
36 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ,,
37 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team 04:57
38 DE GREEF Francis Lotto Belisol Team 05:01
39 FAIRLY Caleb Garmin – Sharp 05:17
40 PREIDLER Georg Team Argos – Shimano ,,
41 NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi 05:26
42 ROUX Anthony Equipe Cycliste 05:43
43 CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team 06:14
44 DALL’ANTONIA Tiziano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 06:17
45 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 06:35
46 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis Solutions Crédits 06:41
47 GARCIA FERNANDEZ Marcos Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 06:55
48 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team 07:23
49 TIRALONGO Paolo Astana Pro Team ,,
50 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R La Mondiale 07:28
51 CATALDO Dario Sky Procycling ,,
52 CAMANO ORTUZAR Iker Team NetApp – Endura ,,
53 ANACONA GOMEZ Winner Lampre – Merida 07:32
54 BRAJKOVIč Janez Astana Pro Team 07:39
55 COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits 07:42
56 HERMANS Ben RadioShack – Leopard 07:54
57 VALLS FERRI Rafael Vacansoleil – DCM 08:36
58 SIJMENS Nico Cofidis Solutions Crédits 08:40
59 MEIER Christian Orica GreenEDGE 08:48
60 FROHLINGER Johannes Team Argos – Shimano 08:49
61 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Sky Procycling ,,
62 ZANDIO ECHAIDE Xabier Sky Procycling ,,
63 BARGUIL Warren Team Argos – Shimano ,,
64 AZANZA SOTO Jorge Euskaltel – Euskadi ,,
65 PIEDRA PEREZ Antonio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ,,
66 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis Solutions Crédits ,,
67 LONGO BORGHINI Paolo Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
68 LANDA MEANA Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi ,,
69 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team ,,
70 ZAUGG Oliver Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
71 SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC Racing Team 09:08
72 GARATE Juan Manuel Belkin Pro Cycling Team 09:24
73 BUSCHE Matthew RadioShack – Leopard 09:30
74 MORI Manuele Lampre – Merida 10:26
75 PATERSKI Maciej Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
76 PINEAU Cédric Equipe Cycliste ,,
77 KOZONTCHUK Dmitry Katusha Team 10:29
78 FLECHA Juan Antonio Vacansoleil – DCM 11:09
79 OROZ UGALDE Juan Jos̩ Euskaltel РEuskadi ,,
80 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura ,,
81 KNEES Christian Sky Procycling ,,
82 PUCCIO Salvatore Sky Procycling ,,
83 GASTAUER Ben AG2R La Mondiale ,,
84 BERARD Julien AG2R La Mondiale ,,
85 VANSUMMEREN Johan Garmin – Sharp ,,
86 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step ,,
87 TANNER David Belkin Pro Cycling Team ,,
88 EIJSSEN Yannick BMC Racing Team ,,
89 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
90 IRIZAR ARANBURU Markel RadioShack – Leopard ,,
91 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling ,,
92 POPOVYCH Yaroslav RadioShack – Leopard ,,
93 RAST Gregory RadioShack – Leopard ,,
94 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE 11:42
95 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team ,,
96 HUPOND Thierry Team Argos – Shimano 11:55
97 VERDUGO MARCOTEGUI Gorka Euskaltel – Euskadi 12:13
98 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team 12:59
99 RATTO Daniele Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 13:36
100 ZEITS Andrey Astana Pro Team 13:56
101 SZMYD Sylwester Movistar Team 14:20
102 BONO Matteo Lampre – Merida 14:22
103 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team ,,
104 MORENO BAZAN Javier Movistar Team ,,
105 TOSATTO Matteo Team Saxo-Tinkoff 15:32
106 POULHIES Stéphane Cofidis Solutions Crédits 22:16
107 ERVITI OLLO Imanol Movistar Team ,,
108 GUTIERREZ PALACIOS Jose Iván Movistar Team ,,
109 RASMUSSEN Alex Garmin – Sharp ,,
110 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step ,,
111 WAGNER Robert Belkin Pro Cycling Team ,,
112 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale ,,
113 STAMSNIJDER Tom Team Argos – Shimano ,,
114 LODEWYCK Klaas BMC Racing Team ,,
115 SARMIENTO TUNARROSA Jose Cayetano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
116 FARRAR Tyler Garmin – Sharp ,,
117 EDET Nicolas Cofidis Solutions Crédits ,,
118 VAN DER SANDE Tosh Lotto Belisol Team ,,
119 BARTA Jan Team NetApp – Endura ,,
120 VANENDERT Dennis Lotto Belisol Team ,,
121 WURF Cameron Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
122 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team ,,
123 DOCKER Mitchell Orica GreenEDGE ,,
124 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura ,,
125 MøRKøV Michael Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
126 HOWARD Leigh Orica GreenEDGE ,,
127 ELISSONDE Kenny Equipe Cycliste ,,
128 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling ,,
129 HOWES Alex Garmin – Sharp ,,
130 FERRARI Fabricio Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ,,
131 PETERSON Tom Team Argos – Shimano ,,
132 COURTEILLE Arnaud Equipe Cycliste ,,
133 ISAYCHEV Vladimir Katusha Team ,,
134 ARAMENDIA LORENTE Javier Francisco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ,,
135 HOOGERLAND Johnny Vacansoleil – DCM ,,
136 PETIT Adrien Cofidis Solutions Crédits ,,
137 GRAZIATO Massimo Lampre – Merida ,,
138 URTASUN PEREZ Pablo Euskaltel – Euskadi ,,
139 DODI Luca Lampre – Merida 22:23
140 LASCA Francesco Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 22:25
141 RICHEZE Ariel Maximiliano Lampre – Merida 22:33
142 MONDORY Lloyd AG2R La Mondiale 22:44
143 ARNDT Nikias Team Argos – Shimano 22:48
144 PETROV Evgeni Team Saxo-Tinkoff 23:28
145 PAOLINI Luca Katusha Team 24:07:00
146 VANOTTI Alessandro Astana Pro Team ,,
147 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
148 GUSEV Vladimir Katusha Team 24:37:00
DNF VEIKKANEN Jussi Equipe Cycliste –
DNS CANCELLARA Fabian RadioShack – Leopard

1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 73:39:35
2 HORNER Chris RadioShack – Leopard 00:03
3 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 01:09
4 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 02:24
5 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 03:43
6 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 05:44
7 PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste 06:14
8 KONIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura 06:35
9 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel – Euskadi 07:51
10 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team 11:10
11 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 11:15
12 SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida 12:14
13 HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team 12:30
14 ARROYO DURAN David Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 13:48
15 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi 16:46
16 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team 18:28
17 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack – Leopard 19:37
18 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff 20:21
19 CAPECCHI Eros Movistar Team 23:26
20 CARDOSO André Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 23:55


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