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“That was a really good performance from Nieve, but Pete had hoped to fare better. Pete felt bad the whole day and fell off the pace on the first ascent of the Ganitza. That’s a shame because he had eyes on the GC, but otherwise...

Photo: Sirotti






07.04.2014 @ 19:30 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Nieve was one of only six riders left in a drastically reduced peloton who stayed together over the final climb of the day, and after a breakneck descent into Ordizia, he sprinted home just 36 seconds adrift of the day’s stage winner.


Contador had produced a typically dominant climbing display, and latched on to Alejandro Valverde’s wheel on a brutish final ascent before leaving his Spanish compatriot in the dust and time-trialling his way to victory.


The Tinkoff-Saxo rider crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of Valverde, and with no bonus seconds being awarded in the race, Contador will carry that advantage over his Movistar rival into Tuesday’s second stage.


Team Sky had kept Nieve well positioned throughout the day, and ensured the home favourite was in the first 10 riders when they circumnavigated a tight left-hand corner immediately before the road ramped skywards one last time.


By the time the final summit came, just 6.7km from home, Contador had amassed an unassailable lead however, and took control of the yellow jersey after finishing the stage off in devastating style.


After the stage, Sports Director Dan Frost was pleased with Nieve’s performance, but revealed Peter Kennaugh had struggled during the opening day of action.


“That was a really good performance from Nieve, but Pete had hoped to fare better. Pete felt bad the whole day and fell off the pace on the first ascent of the Ganitza. That’s a shame because he had eyes on the GC, but otherwise, the boys rode really well.”

“Xabi [Zandio], Vasil [Kiyryienka] and Danny [Pate] were right there with Nieve leading him on to that final climb and they did a good job to support him.”

“Once the climb began it was a free-for-all and it was good to see Nieve was able to stay with some of the best climbers in the world. Contador and Valverde were in a league of their own today though.”

“Nieve is not the most explosive of riders but he acquitted himself well and is in a good position now.”

“Tomorrow’s stage is a little less hilly, so we’re hoping Ben [Swift] can stick with the group and then we can lead him out for the sprint. We have to make sure Nieve is well positioned as well though.”

“Being from the Basque Country, this is an important race for him, and the support he’s been receiving on the roadside has been really nice to see.”



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