Vuelta – Stage 9


Little shake up at the Tour of Spain as Anacona wins the stage and Tour of Italy winner Nairo Quintana takes over the leader’s jersey

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Vuelta – Stage 9

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Stage 9 over 185 kilometres from Carboneras de Guadazaón to the mountain top finish on the first category climb, Aramón Valdelinares was far from the biggest challenge in this year’s Spanish Grand Tour but a battle between the GC favorites was expected and thus delivered.

Stage 9 wins

Photo: La Vuelta a España 2014 – Winner by name … ! 

A group of 31 riders escaped in the day’s breakaway and they worked hard to keep the overall favorites behind as they were approaching the final slope as well as facing lower temperatures and rain. With 15 kilometers to go, the gap was still more than five minutes to the remains of the front group that started to crumble on the last climb.

On that final climb, Winner Anacona (Lampre) took off from the front group to solo his way up the mountain to take the stage while the selection in the GC group got ever smaller. Omega Pharma Quickstep (for Uran) controlled the group with Katusha and ultimately Sky picking up the pace and shedding riders. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador was hanging on to the back wheel of Chris Froome (Sky) as he had no teammates in the group of 25 riders with 4 kilometres to go.

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was the first from the chase group to attack with two kilometres to go but then Contador jumped out of his saddle and danced up the slope and instantly distanced his nearest rivals in the GC. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) bridged the gap to Alberto and with Valdverde being gapped, Quintana took the overall lead of the race.

Stage 9. Dan Martin

Dan Martin on the attack. Photo: La Vuelta a España 2014

Winner Anacona “Today I am in seventh heaven! I have to say thanks to the whole team, from the leadership that has always believed in me even in the hardest times, the DS present today at the race, that passed the fire necessary to me to achieve this victory, to all the staff always perfect in every role. Finally, let me dedicate the victory to myself and the work I have done to get out of bad luck after I moved among professionals. I hope to have continuity in this performance now and still give plenty of those joys to Lampre Merida.”

Nairo Quintana: “Normally, all types of weather are good for me, but I was feeling a bit down due to the heat we had to bear in the first days of racing. I had good legs today and we worked to keep the jersey within this team. My team-mates did really great and I could keep the wheel of the main favourites to snatch this leader jersey.”

“Actually, I just stuck to them until the finish – today’s stage didn’t create a big selection and though I’m in the lead, it’s almost a goalless draw up to this point. I don’t know if we will be able to keep it until the end; it’s what we want, but it will be difficult.”

Stage 9. Quintana leader

Photo: La Vuelta a España 2014

“I don’t do bad at time trials, but I’m not a specialist either. I’ll ride flat-out on Tuesday to defend my chances and keep this red jumper. Today’s result confirms I’m ready to lead the team, but there’s no discussion in here: we’re both leaders, we’re both there, and no matter if it’s Alejandro or myself – the goal is keeping it within the team.”

Alejandro Valverde: “After all that we suffered with heat the other days, these temperatures were quite a drastic change. Considering that this weather does not do too well on me, I think we didn’t have such bad sensations and we can stay happy with today’s result”.

“When Nairo went ahead, I stuck to Froome’s wheel – I couldn’t bring him back to Nairo’s wheel. I just rode on his wheel and jumped in the final 150, 200 meters so I could take one or two seconds. The Sky riders really scared everyone, even Froome himself – I was surprised they rode so fast while their leader did not show the brilliance I thought he could. I’m happy with the white jersey, as much as I was in red, and even more now that Nairo is in the lead”.

“We changed the race leader, but the jersey is still with us. We never hid the situation: for me, Nairo was the reference, while I’d try, as I’ll still do, to stay up-front until the end, but with no pressure. Now we’re first and third and we have a beautiful, demanding TT in front of us, where we will surely do well. I don’t really dislike the TT parcours: it’s a hard one, and when that’s the case, I usually do well.”

Stage 9. Alberto Contador

Photo: La Vuelta a España 2014

Alberto Contador: “I noticed that some of my rivals were in difficulties and I wanted to use the opportunity. I still lack condition to keep the pace at maximum intensity, but I’m very happy. I don’t know exactly how much time I took on some of my opponents, but the important thing now is not to catch a cold and to get some rest”, says Alberto Contador after crossing the finish line.

“Whenever I have the legs, I have to try. I haven’t been able to prepare properly for the Vuelta to ride for the GC as a goal. I hope to improve day-by-day, but I’m aware that there are other riders, who have been training meticulously ahead of this race. Perhaps today they didn’t have a good day, but the Vuelta has just begun”.

“It’s always important to be ahead and if it’s because you’ve left your opponents further down the mountain, better, but I don’t think it’s important yet. We aren’t even halfway through the Vuelta and we still have many mountains to climb. I don’t know how I’ll perform in the time trial. It will be a moment, where we will see which shape everybody is in”.

“On a normal stage, you’re able to hide a little more, but in the time trial, it’s just you and your shadow. Let’s see, I hope to do a good race, although I think there will be better riders than me”.

Joaquim Rodríguez: “It was tough. At one time I had a bad moment because of the cold as we were all soaked by the rain. In the end I am happy with how the race evolved and how well the team worked for me. They pulled very hard, making the final climb hard, until the moment when Contador attacked. Initially I had to let him go but very quickly I was able to make my return to the front”.

Chris Froome “”Conditions were really tough out there,” he said. “I think we can take a lot of good away from that stage in terms of how we rode as a team. I’m so so proud of how the guys rode today, they did such a good job. They kept me at the front throughout the stage.”

“In the final I didn’t have the legs to follow the top guys when they went. But I think given where I’ve come from on the back of the Tour and the build-up into the race I’m really happy with how things have gone so far. I can definitely feel I’m starting to pick up that race rhythm back into my legs and I’m looking forward to the second half of this race.”

Froome will hope his time trialling prowess will enable him to claw back time across a 36.7km course on Tuesday. “I’m going to go and see the time trial course tomorrow and see what we’re up against,” he added. “It’s relatively short compared to time trials elsewhere. But I enjoy time trialling and I’m hoping to make the most of it.”

“I think we’ve come to see that Contador is going extremely well. He’s got over his injuries pretty quickly and he’s going well, as are Nairo Quintana and Rodriguez. The usual guys we expected for the general classification. It’s a huge fight here and it’s going to be a big race all the way to the end. Every second here or there is going to count.”

1. Anacona Gomez Winner, Lampre-Merida 4:34:14
2. Lutsenko Alexey, Astana Pro Team 0:45
3. Cunego Damiano, Lampre-Merida 0:50
4. Moreno Javier, Movistar Team225 1:04
5. Bilbao Pello, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 1:12

12. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo 2:16
13. Team Katusha
14. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team
16. Valverde AlejandroMovistar Team 2:39
17. Aru Fabio, Astana Pro Team
18. Froome Christopher, Team Sky
19. Uran Rigoberto, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step,,
20. Martin Daniel, Garmin Sharp
69. Kennaugh Peter, Team Sky 10:46
70. Yates Adam, Orica GreenEDGE
104. Evans Cadel, BMC Racing Team 16:30
159. Millar David, Garmin Sharp 26.42
177. Craven Dan, Team Europcar
180. Rowe Luke, Team Sky 26:50

1. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team 35:58:05
2. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03
3. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team 0:08
4. Anacona Gomez Winner, Lampre-Merida 0:09
5. Froome Christopher, Team Sky 0:28
6. Rodríguez Joaquim, Team Katusha 0:30
7. Aru Fabio, Astana Pro Team 1:06
8. Gesink Robert, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 1:19
9. Uran Rigoberto, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 1:26
10. Barguil Warren, Team Giant-Shimano

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