lunedì 15 settembre 2014

La Vuelta 21: Miracles rarely happen

Not yesterday. 
Adriano Malori won a short final tt against almost nobody, dued to the changed weather condition - he rode dry, it was rainy for the others - and to the abandons of his main contenders (Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara, Dario Cataldo...). That was expected and Malori deserved to win given that he endured the whole three racing weeks. Very good Jesse Sergent for TFR.
Alberto Contador won La Vuelta against a strong, generous, brave Chris Froome, who gave all but it wasn't enough, and against Valverde, who in my opinion was in a splendid shape, better than Froome's, but worse directed. Team Tinkoff-Saxo raced well but Team Sky raced WOW, planning and puting in place a smart strategy. Team Tinkoff-Saxo didn't need that: Contador was so strong he could control. And it was absolutely unespected after his crash in the Tour de France. He deserved to win given that he demonstrated to be the strongest.
On the final podium Froome was on the wrong step (as 3rd) and La Gazzetta says that happened also in 2011.
Once again La Vuelta has been the most beautiful among the Grand Tours. In the next days I'll take the time to sum it up.

Adriano Malori:
"I’ve been working as a teammate for the whole Vuelta except for yesterday, when the team told me to save energ. But with 4,000 metres of climbing, you can imagine how hard it was to save myself. But I felt very good. I immediately realised I was riding one of my best time trials of the season and that was confirmed by the watts I put out. I beat riders such as Jesse Sergent, who also rode before the rain, so I can be happy.
I'm super happy. I didn't know how things could turn out today after all the work I had to do for my team leaders during the whole Vuelta. Luckily, the team gave me a free ticket to recover during yesterday's stage and I could tackle this time trial at 100% focus. We knew it could rain and also that all favourites but the GC contenders, riders like Dennis, Sergent or Vandewalle, started during the first hour. When I knew I had taken eight seconds on Sergent, which looked to me like a strong favourite, I realized I had many chances to win. He put to seconds on me through the intermediate, but the second part was more for strong rouleurs, suiting me better. The watts I produced were close to the highest level I found in my time trials this season, and that means I finished the Vuelta in good condition. It's a prize for as well the team as for myself. After what happened with Nairo, leaving with three stages and Alejandro's podium is quite a thing. Now we travel to Ponferrada really excited about what we can do in the Worlds - I hope to do well there." 

Jesse Sergent:
“I felt like I had a good ride. I checked the course three times, looked at the map in the race book, pretty much had every corner in my head. But it was definitely a surprise this morning to see that the course was not pan flat like it showed in the race book; there was a pretty steep down hill, steep uphill, the corners were not too bad, only a couple where you had to be careful. But it was not as straightforward as we all thought.
I really tried to lay it on the line, everywhere on the course, and with it only being 9k I didn’t maybe have the chance to ride my own pace up the climbs and try and bring it back on the flats, I really had to go full-gas and take the risk of blowing up.
It was like a sprint at the start and then nearly going 90kmh down a hill to a full brake into a right hand turn and already it starts climbing.  It was definitely a lot of changes in speed and that’s one thing that hurts the most after three weeks of racing.
It’s the last day of a Grand Tour, and everyone has different feelings at this point. The last few days have not been easy for me, and throughout the tour I have been a little bit up and down, but today I felt like I had it. And days like today, especially for riders like me who don’t get many chances in a Grand Tour, I really wanted to make the most of it and leave it all out there.
It’s hard to finish second because I feel like I have really been chasing a win in the time trial this year, but there has always been someone faster. It’s been a little bit hard - every TT this year I have been competitive but it would be nice to have one victory instead of a whole heap of top fives. But it’s motivation for the two time trials that are left: the World’s TTT and the individual. The team time trial, I think, we have a chance.”

Alberto Contador:
"I am very happy with this victory. It’s a dream for me to win three Vueltas. I’ve had many highs and lows over the past two months, but I didn’t want to finish the season with a fall. The public have encouraged me, they’ve been incredible. They’ve given me the strength to get to this point. This victory is for them."

Team Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Steven De Jongh:

"It's simply an astonishing achievement by Alberto. Coming back from an injury like that after declaring himself out a couple of weeks before the Vuelta and not only rides well but takes the win, is just amazing. We entered the race hoping that we could get a stage win in the last week of the race but as the race progressed and Alberto felt stronger by the day, we had to change strategy and go for the overall classification. So, with two stage wins in the pocket, the combined jersey as well as the overall win, we couldn't be happier"

Chris Froome:
"I did everything I could, I have no regrets. We pushed together [in Team Sky] as a unit.
Alberto was very impressive in this Vuelta, if I've learned anything in this year's Vuelta, it's not to let him get any time because I'm not going to get it back from him.
I wouldn't say it's a cause for concern, I know how I came into this race and i definitely rode myself in. 
I definitely owe this result to my teammates, they stood behind me and supported me even when I had a few bad days earlier on in the race. I think in the end it paid off and I was able to come away with a second place, which given how I came in, I can be happy with that.
I look forward to seeing what the Tour route holds, although right now I'm still focussed on the Vuelta and what I did here.
I'm looking forward to a good winter. The Vuelta had a very high standard and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Alejandro Valverde:
"I'm really satisfied with this third place and my performance through the last three weeks. Save for misfortune with Nairo's crash, the team was a-plus. I think having Nairo still with us during the second part of the race would have changed things and make the race different for us. Still, I think this podium is a fair prize to all the work we did - we also claimed three stage wins, which is also prestigious and important. It's yet another podium finish for me in the Vuelta - already six since I became a pro. I don't think this hasn't been done many times before and I'm really happy. My season has been really consistent: I won races right from the beginning in Andalusia, I was there in the classics, the Tour... but despite all of that, I don't feel tired. Contrary to what usually happens, every seasons seems to me like shorter than the previous ones, more than when I was younger. I'm still excited about the sport, the racing, willing to give my best in what's left this season, with two beautiful goals in the Worlds and Lombardy."

Samule Sanchez:
"We put on a very good race for cycling fans and I am proud to have contributed to it. As for the team and me, I can say we always worked at the top level and we fought together to get the best result possible. For sure I was a little bit step under the first five riders in the overall. But I am happy about that because my year was a bit peculiar. Now I will prepare for the world championships in Spain." 

John Degenkolb:
“I’m really happy. It’s hard to find the right words. Today, when Alberto crossed the line or when I saw that it was still wet for him and I realized it was going to be hard for him to beat Malori’s time, I was a little bit more relaxed. I went full gas today to maybe also get some points but in the end, everything is fine. The green jersey is a great reward for the whole team. I’m really happy to win my first green jersey in a Grand Tour.
It’s very unique for me. It’s been another very beautiful Vuelta. I like Spain, because of the variations of landscapes and weather conditions. I like the Vuelta. It’s unbelievable, it’s great to be here in Santiago for the celebrations, I really enjoyed the three weeks of racing. It gave me a lot of motivation and a lot of energy for the coming weeks.”

Team Katusha DS José Azevedo.
"This is very nice after three weeks on the road to win the Teams GC on a big tour. It’s also well deserved for the team. We fought to win a stage and a big effort came from every team riders so to be on the podium is good. We also finish with all 9 riders. We planned to come here with a very strong team and everyone prepared 100% in their condition to be here. The nine riders all acted as professionals as they came to this Vuelta. We explained from the beginning that the strategy of the team would be to ride for our leader Joaquim Rodriquez. It was our goal and everyone had the same mentality. When you look at our team you don’t see the separation of nationalities, you see one team. I don’t see any stages where we could have done more. We took our obligations to control the breaks and Katusha was at the front over and over. I am very proud of our team and they deserved to stand on the podium today. The spirit of the riders and staff was so perfect these three weeks. We saw dedication from every single person on Team Katusha"

Joaquim Rodriguez:
"In the end I am happy with my fourth place. Of course I hoped for more but I did everything I could to achieve more and I think I finished in the correct place. In cycling it’s all about force and three other guys appeared to be stronger this time. At times I missed that little something extra. Perhaps I lost unnecessary time in stage 16 when I felt I had the power to go faster, but the tactics of the race decided otherwise. But it makes no sense to look back. Done is done and that’s cycling. It’s more than pedaling – it’s a combination of race circumstances, tactics, competitors and weather. But the fact to stand on the overall podium with my teammates in Santiago de Compostela makes me happy. As a team we performed so well. It is nice to give this present to the fans and our sponsors.
It was a pleasure to be cheered so much by the fans on the roadside. They yelled ‘Purito!’ and ‘Katusha!’ and that pushed me forward. I believe I am popular with the fans because I am a fighter and I like that I’m a fighter. I never give up. In the end 2014 did not bring what I’d hoped for. It started so well with the WorldTour victory in Catalunya, but then came crashes in both the Amstel Gold Race and the Giro d’Italia. It disrupted my buildup during the season, but you cannot say that the season was a disaster. Perhaps without these things happening I would have been at the same level as I was in 2012 and 2013. But my season is not yet over. The World Championships and Lombardia are both races which I am looking forward too."

Team Belkin DS Erik Dekker:
“That was a problem. Our strongest men rode in the rain. That’s not what you want of course. Fortunately, Wilco remained upright. It’s nice that he gained one spot.
A lot has happened. We’ve had some bad luck with Robert Gesink. He had to leave the race as seventh overall, but hopefully his wife is fine. That’s the most important thing. We always focused on our chances. We tried to win a stage, but unfortunately that did not work out." 

Wilco Kelderman:
“It was very wet and slippery. On the straights, I was able to go as hard as I wanted, but still, rain is never beneficial for your time.
It’s been a slightly disappointing Vuelta. I wasn’t as good as hoped and suffered a lot. I can’t name any real highlights, but hopefully this race will make me stronger.” 

Stef Clement:
“Ten seconds before my start, it started to rain. I did what I could, but already missed the first corner. On the straights I was able to push my watts, but in the corners I really lost a lot of time. It’s been dry the whole Vuelta and today, it rained. Well, things like that happen, unfortunately.” 

Laurens ten Dam
“It was a tough Vuelta. Just like in the Tour, I was there in the first mountain stage in, but after that I had some small problems. I’m really tired now. My season is done after today. I’ll enjoy a vacation and prepare for next year."

1 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team 0:11:12  
2 Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:08  
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09  
4 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:00:17  
5 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar  
6 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:18  
7 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale  
8 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
9 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 
10 Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
11 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:19  
12 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:21  
13 Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica Greenedge 0:00:22  
14 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:24 
15 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:27  
16 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol 0:00:28  
17 Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:29  
18 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:30  
19 Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol 0:00:38  
20 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:39  
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 81:25:05 
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:10  3
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:50  
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:25  
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:48  
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:09:30  
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:10:38  
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:11:50  
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:12:50  
10 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:13:02 
11 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:16:44  
12 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:19:54  
13 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:24:20  
14 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:25:04  
15 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:25:27  
16 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:29:52  
17 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka 0:32:00  
18 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:37:25  
19 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:42:04  
20 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 0:52:51  
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
1 Team Katusha

domenica 14 settembre 2014

Tour of Britain 8: Roofs of London

Two stages, two stories, one city. The big one: London. Its roofs in a stunning curious view from the sky. 
My eyes could barely stay on the race, distracted by the famous buildings, ancient, modern and contemporary, in that messy but typical mix. 
The Thames, more brown than blue, quite moved. A huge crowd. And I wonder how London can stop two days for cycling while in Florence Worlds have been a national emergency... That was: the big city, London, all for cycling, all day. 
In the TT Wiggins finally could show his new bike and a very good shape. In the final rr stage a break went away of course but of course got caught and they went to the sprint. Kittel won, as it often happens. On Cavendish and a very good Ruffoni.
Race winner Dylan Van BaarleThe Dutch Dylan Van Baarle won Tour of Britain for Garmin-Sharp. I'm sorry for Alex Dowsett who was awarded with the Combactivity Prize: he was probably hoping for something more... but hey, he gave us the most exciting day in that - sum up - boring race!



1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:09:51  
2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:00:08  
3 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09  
4 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura 0:00:14  
5 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling 0:00:15  
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:16  
7 Ryan Mullen (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction 0:00:20  
8 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
9 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:24  
10 Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC Racing Team 0:00:25
1. Kittel
2. Cavendish
3. Ruffoni
1 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp 32:22:50  
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:10  
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:22  
4 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:37  
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:42  
6 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar Team 0:00:46  
7 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:00:50  
8 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team 0:00:54  
9 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura 0:01:09  
10 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:10
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

1 Mark McNally (GBr) An Post-Chainreaction

1 Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team
1 IAM Cycling

Doping: Matteo Rabottini caught and fired - Idiot(s)

Matteo RabottiniYEAH! not only one idiot, not only Matteo Rabottini who fucked his career. Also that fucking team, that fucking management of Scinto and Co. ENOUGH with those people! 
On Friday the UCI revealed Rabottini had tested positive for EPO in an out of competition test on August 8. The team immediately fired him (they knew nothing of course!!!)
Davide Formolo (Cannondale) will take Rabottini's place in the Italian World  Championships team.

La Vuelta 20: Froome hit by a branch (pic)

Embedded image permalink"And people ask me why I ride with my head down?! "

sabato 13 settembre 2014

Tour of Britain: Up Down Again

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The break-away arrived again in Tour of Britain... but Alex Dowsett wasn't in it this time. 
It was: Ista (IAM), Van Baarle (GRS), Konovalovas (MTN), Bialablocki (VGR) Vermote (OPQ).
A day to celebrate for OPQS that won stage and for Garmin that leads the GC with Van Baarle. 
There is still a stage though... and it's a tt. 

Julian Vermote:
"Today I was really surprised with how good I felt, because except for one day here I've ridden on the front. We won with Mark Renshaw and then Michal Kwiatkowski won and took the leader's jersey, so there was a lot of work to be done by us and I was happy to do it. Five days out of six I pulled for the team, one of those stages I was on the front the whole stage. But every day I recovered well. Even then, it's not easy for me to win a stage because I am not a sprinter. Today the team said I should go, and if the move would not win the stage, maybe Kwiato and I could work together in the final kilometers. I went into the breakaway at the right moment and we knew we had a good chance right away, especially after seeing what happened yesterday. We worked well together. On the second-to-last climb I decided to go, because I knew it was possible for a victory.  I knew it was a risk and I made sure I went full gas. I really wanted to win a stage because so many riders on this team have at least one victory. Now I have joined them and I am super happy. I know my place on the team and I love to help my teammates, but it's also nice when you can go for your own result when the opportunity is there. My teammates were so happy for me after the finish and it shows that the work I do for all of them, and the team, includes big rewards for myself too." 
Embedded image permalinkMichal Kwiatkowski:
"As you see, it's hard racing here at Tour of Britain. The peloton couldn't control this breakaway. Luckily we had a strong Julien Vermote there. He really deserves this win. He pulled so much for us, for me every single day and today he took a beautiful victory. Congratulations to him. We're really happy about it. Of course, I wanted to also take back the yellow jersey but Van Baarle was still in front. It's hard to control everything in a race. We accelerated on the second-to-last climb and dropped Dowsett, but it was hard to close the gap on the group between Vermote and us. But OK, I'm only 19" down. There is the time trial tomorrow which I said earlier in this race that it would be important, even if it's short. Anything can happen. I have done well on short time trials like the one of tomorrow. So we will see. But today we are going to celebrate the big victory of Julien."


1 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 5:12:34  
2 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka 0:00:23  
3 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:20  
5 Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
6 Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling  
7 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
8 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling  
9 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
10 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
11 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Team Raleigh  
12 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar Team  
13 Marcin Bialobloski (Pol) Giordana Racing Team  
14 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky  
15 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura  
16 Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling  
17 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo  
18 David Lopez Garcia (Esp) Team Sky  
19 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
20 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
1 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp 30:22:02  
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:19  
3 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:25  
4 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:35  
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:36  
6 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar Team 0:00:45  
7 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:47  
8 David Lopez Garcia (Esp) Team Sky 0:00:49  
9 Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling 0:00:51  
10 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team 0:00:59  
11 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka  
12 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:01:07  
13 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura 0:01:22  
14 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:25  
15 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Great Britain  
16 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:27  
17 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:32  
18 Steve Lampier (GBr) Giordana Racing Team 0:01:35  
19 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Team Raleigh 0:01:48  
20 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:11

La Vuelta 20: The Impossible Show Down

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From Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil to Puerto de Ancares, the last 185,7 km to grab or lose la Vuelta.  
"We are not going to set for 2nd" Team Sky boss had said and so it was on Team Sky guys to go on the attack and to drop Alberto Contador. At the start Froome's delays was 1'19'' and the last tt is too short to make a big difference. 
So there we go. The peloton struggles to give birth to a living break. The first to go are Danilo Wyss (BMC) and Christophe Le Mevel (Cofidis): aborted. Then Dmitry Kozontchuk (Katusha), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale), Winner Ancona (Lampre-Merida) and Vincent Jerome (Europcar): aborted too. Finally five riders are out the front: Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), George Bennett (Cannondale), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis), Maxime Mederel (Europcar). Ten Dam and Bennett got quickly dropped, Wout Poels joins. The pace is so high that the peloton split several times. But this one is the right one: the break-away sticks, in the peloton they take a breath.
Froome: Enjoyed great battle with ContadorJust one: no time to relax, no time to chat, no time for anything but pulling at a crazy speed. Team Sky and Team Astana seem to collaborate, Contador is happy to stay on the wheels. Till the last climb. The very last one. 
Now Chris Froome is supposed, has to, must drop Alberto Contador and grab la Vuelta. Or set for second. The break-away is caught, Purito's attack neutralised. Vasil Kiryienka goes in front and the peloton is down to few riders: all Team Sky, Froome on 7th, Contador, Barguil, Valverde, Rodriguez and Aru
Now. It's now. There is no other option but attacking. And Chris Froome attacks, Alberto Contador like a sickness on his shadow. Never dropped, still glued, still there. And finally Contador drops Froome. It was impossible. This Contador is too strong, definitely stronger than Froome who gave all and even more. Not set but second. That is.
Behind it's another story...

Team Tinkoff-Saxo DS Steven De Jongh:
"We knew that Sky wanted to control things to stir things up and to try to shake Alberto. However, everyone else but Alberto was dropped and I think Alberto played his cards excellently. He never lost his cool and had the situation totally under control. On the final kilometer, he went for the stage win and in one fierce attack, he quickly created the gap and took a beautiful victory consolidating his lead. Of course, the race isn't won just yet. There's a time trial tomorrow and even though it's short, you can't rule out accidents. Now, we're waiting for the weather report and we're going out tomorrow morning to check out the technical spots on the course"

Chris Froome:
"Emptied the tank out there today, what a battle! Thank you for all the support."

Alejandro Valverde:
Movistar Team"I never felt like there was a real threat on my podium finish today. I had good legs and everything was more or less under control through the whole climb. When Purito jumped away I kept my pace in the pursuit, and then, when Froome did, I took sort of a sprint to save some energy and not waste it afterwards with another pursuit to chase them back. However, Froome's pace change was really strong and there was a point when I had to stop and keep going on my own pace. The problem is - you never know if it's the time to stop following them, and actually they two, Froome and Alberto, stopped with their action just ten seconds after.
I still kept my own pace and managed the gap until the end. When Purito dropped I was able to accelerate and catch him, and when I did, I knew the podium was more or less done - in the final slopes, as I saw it was impossible to get back to the lead, I put an easier pace. From tomorrow's TT, I know more or less what you can see on the profile, though it's also known that there might be rain, and thus it might become more risky. It will surely be beautiful for the fans to enjoy with us. We can make it to the overall podium again tomorrow; it would be my sixth time in the Vuelta and I'm really happy about it, as well as the whole, great season we've done so far."

Joaquim Rodriguez:
"My attack was not for show – I attacked to win. I wanted to gain time. I wanted to surprise everyone when I attacked. In the end it was too hard for me but I went for it. I had to. I knew if I was in front it would work better for me to have a gap before Contador and Froome started attacking each other. I have to be realistic – those two are on a higher level at this Vuelta. I’m happy I could stay with Aru in the end as he was my closest competitor for 4th place
I’m very happy with the work of the team this entire Vuelta. It’s a pity that I could not offer more than a fourth place, but I gave the maximum. We were so close to a stage win a few times, like with Moreno. It looks easy to win a stage as we’ve always done in the Vuelta with Katusha, but that’s not always the case. This Vuelta was hard and every day we rode faster. It certainly wasn’t boring for TV watchers but for us it was very hard. I’m proud of the team. Katusha is the strongest team and we will win the teams general classification. We kept fighting every day and there has been tremendous team spirit
For me this has been a difficult year with a lot of bad luck, but I’m happy and the season is not over yet. After one week with my family I will concentrate on the Worlds"

Samuel Sanchez:
"We were only missing (Tour de France winner) Vincenzo Nibali in this Vuelta. These are the best GC riders in the world, so I can satisfied about my placement. It was a tough year and I worked so hard to get this result. It was a spectacular race during these three weeks, beginning with the team time trial in Jerez and finishing with the individual time trial in Santiago tomorrow. To understand how hard it was, you only have to look at the riders' faces."

Warren Barguil:
“I nearly abandoned the stage early on. I had pain in my knee yesterday after hitting my knee in the convoy but I thought that it would be fine and didn’t want to show others that I was in pain as that would have given them the opportunity to attack me. It was OK on the climbs when the muscles are warm but on the flat it wasn’t good.
Fortunately I could count on my team who helped me. Without them I would have nothing. I gave it everything on the final climbs and didn’t think about anything. I gave so much had to lie down after the finish line.
Thankfully the last day is tomorrow and my objective of a top ten is nearly confirmed. I will give everything to keep my eighth place tomorrow evening.”


1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 5:11:43  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:16  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:57  
4 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:18  
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:21  
6 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:02:51  
7 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:02:55  
8 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:02:58  
9 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:03:15  
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:03:20  
11 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:03:22  
12 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:26  
13 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03:51  
14 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:05:21  
15 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
16 Andre Fernando S Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp  
17 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:05:34  
18 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka 0:05:40  
19 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:06:04  
20 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:07:27
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 81:12:13  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:37  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:35  
4 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:57  
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:46  
6 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:10:07  
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:10:24  
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:12:13  
9 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:13:09  
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:13:15  
11 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:16:25  
12 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:19:59  
13 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:24:29  
14 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:25:00  
15 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:25:36  
16 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:30:03  
17 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka 0:31:14  
18 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:37:22  
19 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:41:51  
20 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:52:04
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 169 pts
1 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 58 pts
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 6 pts
1 Team Katusha