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"It was a shame Mikel had his crash on the second day. Without that he could have pulled off a better result. He was struggling a bit following the crash and he wasn't ever 100%," Frost says

Photo: Sirotti






12.04.2014 @ 21:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today's time trial was a quiet one for Team Sky after home rider Mikel Nieve fell out of GC contention in yesterday's stage. A crash on stage 2 left the Basque at less than 100% and this cost him a top result in his home race.


Danny Pate led the line as Team Sky brought the Vuelta al Pais Vasco to a close on the stage six time trial.

24 hours after a stirring victory from Ben Swift, the race was decided in the same location around Markina-Xemein.


The team's GC hopeful Mikel Nieve battled to 24th overall following a stage two crash which hampered the local rider's progress.


Alberto Contador held off a late challenge to confirm an impressive overall victory in the Basque Country.


The Spaniard ran second in the closing time trial, setting a powerful time just seven seconds shy of stage winner and time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).


That allowed Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to fend off the attentions of Michal Kwiatkowski after the young Pole elevated himself five places up the general classification over a long and technical 25.9-kilometre test.


Undeterred, the end result saw the yellow jersey of Contador put a further eight seconds into Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) to win the race overall by a commanding 49 seconds.


Second overnight, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) could only manage the eighth quickest time, a result which dropped him to fifth overall, 1:07 behind his great rival Contador. Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R-La Mondiale) was another rider to leapfrog Valverde, snatching the final spot on the podium amid a significant reshuffle.


A searing opening split had seen Martin put a large chunk of time into his rivals, with the German eventually clocking an unbeaten time of 38 minutes and 33 seconds.


After the stage Sports Director Dan Frost admitted that, while the team were unable to influence the time trial, the race had provided a productive six days.


He said: "Overall we can be satisfied with the race. Today we knew we weren't going to play a significant role in the time trial. We still approached it in the right way. We went through the full routine for practice and did our full TT set up.


"It was a shame Mikel had his crash on the second day. Without that he could have pulled off a better result. He was struggling a bit following the crash and he wasn't ever 100%. In terrain like this if you aren't in top condition you'll go quickly out of the back of the peloton.


"Obviously the stage win yesterday is a real highlight for the team. It wasn't a stage we had necessarily counted on winning but Swifty had different ideas and did a great ride."



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