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With a powerful attack 500m from the top of the final climb, Moreno rode to a solo win in the Vuelta a Burgos queen stage; an impressive Taaramae took the overall win despite working as a domestique

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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DANIEL MORENO

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MICHELE SCARPONI

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REIN TAARAMAE

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VUELTA A BURGOS 

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08.08.2015 @ 16:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Daniel Moreno (Katusha) made up for the disappointment of his two second places when he took a dominant solo win in the queen stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. The Spaniard attacked 500m from the top of the final climb and put 13 seconds into Rein Taaramae (Astana) who had been working for leaders Michele Scarponi and Miguel Angel Lopez, setting the pace for the entirety of the ascent. However, the Estonian was stronger than his teammates and ended up winning the race overall with a 2-second advantage over Scarponi.

 

In 2012, Daniel Moreno won the Vuelta a Burgos overall after having claimed two stage wins along the way. However, he failed to win the traditional queen stage to Lagunas De Neila which was still missing from his palmares.

 

This year he has been a bit on the back foot in the Spanish race as he has been left frustrated with two second places in the puncheur finishes. Furthermore, his Katusha team lost significant time to Astana in the team time trial and so he faced an uphill battle in the Lagunas De Neila stage if he wanted to change things on the final day.

 

It ended up being missing partly accomplished for Moreno as he took the elusive stage win that had escaped him three years ago but it was not enough to take the overall victory. Instead, it was a hugely impressive Rein Taaramae who turned the race on the Astana hierarchy on its head by taking the biggest stage race victory of his career. In fact, the Estonian had been setting the pace for every single metre of the final 7.5km climb but still turned out to be stronger than team leaders Miguel Angel Lopez and Michele Scarponi.

 

At the bottom of the final 7.5km climb, Marc Soler (Movistar) had a 10-second advantage over a small group of favourites that was led by Mikel Landa and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana). As soon as the road ramped upwards, Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Egor Silin (Katusha) took off and they quickly passed the fading Soler.

 

Rein Taaramae took over the pace-setting in the main group which was now whittled down to just the Estonian, Michele Scarponi, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Jesus Herrada, Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Tiago Machado, Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Pierre Loger Latour (Ag2r), Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) and David Belda (Burgos), with Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne), Mikel Bizkarra (Murias Taldea) and Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural) chasing a little further back. Meanwhile, Anacona dropped Silin who fell back to the peloton.

 

With 5km to go, Anacona only had a 7-second advantage over the peloton from which Machado and Silin had been dropped. Taaramae continued to ride at a fast pace, keeping the lone Anacona under control.

 

With 4km to go, Anacona had been brought back while a suffering Silin finally had to surrender after having yo-yoing off the back for a little while. 500m later, both Movistar leaders cracked as Fernandez and Herrrada were dropped, leaving just Anacona in the group for the Spanish team.

 

Taaramae led the 8-rider group under the 2km to go banner and rode on the front for another 700m before Belda made a brave move. As Taaramae didn’t respond immediately, he quickly got a big gap.

 

As they approached the flamme rouge, Latour took off in pursuit of the lone Spaniard and he bridged the gap with 800m to go. Meanwhile, Taaramae just kept riding on the front, slowly reeling the two attackers in.

 

Latour dropped the fading Belda while Anacona was dropped from the main group. The group went straight past Belda before Torres moved to the front.

 

Torres’ pace was too much for Lopez who was dropped and this was the signal for Moreno to take off. The Spaniard had seemed to be suffering but he had apparently been bluffing and made a big attack.

 

The Katusha captain quickly passed Latour while the group splintered to pieces, with Taaramae even passing the fading Lopez.  Scarponi was desperately chasing but he was also passed by his Estonian teammate who approached Moreno.

 

However, it was all too late and Moreno had plenty of time to celebrate his win while Taaramae rolled across the line in second. Latour held onto third while Scarponi finished the stage in fourth.

 

Taaramae limited his losses sufficiently to take the overall win with a 2-second advantage over Scarponi in a 1-2 for Astana. Moreno moved into third, 7 seconds further adrift, while previous leader Lopez had to be content with fourth at 12 seconds.

 

Moreno won the points jersey while Fabio Duarte (Colombia) was the best climber. Lopez was the best young rider, Lluis Mas (Caja Rural) claimed the sprints jersey and Astana was clearly the best team.

 

With the Vuelta a Burgos done and dusted, the most important preparation race for the Vuelta a Espana is over. The grand tour is the next major Spanish race and kicks off in just 14 days.

 

The queen stage

After yesterday’s first small climbing test, the Vuelta a Burgos finished with the traditional queen stage which brought the riders over 170km from Comarca Pinares to the well-known summit finish at the top of the climb to Lagunas De Neila. The first half only included a category 2 and a category 3 climb but in the finale, the hostilities started. Here the riders would tackle three category 2 and one category 1 climb before they reached the bottom of the final ascent.

 

It was the usual Spanish summer conditions when the riders gathered for the start. The 86 riders who finished yesterday’s stage were all present as they rolled out for their neutral start.

 

A big group gets clear

As expected, it was a brutally fast start with lots of attacks which made it hard for Astana to control the situation. Hence, it was a very big group that escaped the peloton after the frantic opening phase.

 

Javier Moreno (Movistar), Rudiger Slig (Katusha), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r), Carlos Barbero, Lluis Mas (Caja Rural), Fabio Duarte, Brayan Ramirez, Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), Matthieu Boulo (Bretagne), Giorgio Cecchinel (Southeast), Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Juan Carlos Riutort (Burgos) managed to get clear which allowed Mas to beat Gougeard and Barbero in the first intermediate sprint. Later Duarte led Valencia, Gougeard, Barbero, Cunego and Boulo over the top of the first climb at the 52km mark when the peloton had been distanced by 2.06.

 

Katusha start to chase

Mas beat Valencia and Ramirez in the second intermediate sprint at the 70km mar when the gap was 2.42 and it had gone out to 3.22 when Duarte led Valencia, Ramirez and Cunego over the top of the second climb. That climb was too tough for Selig who fell back to the peloton and decided to abandon.

 

At the 100km mark, the gap had gone out to 4.45 as Astana was still not in chase mode. It went out to 4.54 before Katusha took over and started to bring the gap down as the race entered the hilly second part,

 

More KOM points for Duarte

When Duarte led Valencia, Ramirez, Boulo, Gougeard and Cunego over the top of the next climb, the Russian team had reduced the deficit to 3.14 and when Mas won the final intermediate sprint ahead of Valencia and Gougeard it was just 2.14.

 

On the next climb, Katusha continued their fast pace-setting and made the peloton splinter to pieces. At the same time, Duarte applied the pressure in the front group from which several riders were dropped. Again the Cololmbian won the KOM sprint ahead of Valencia, Gougeard, Moreno, Boulo and Cecchinel.

 

Duarte takes off

At the top of the climb, the gap was only 1.27 and now Astana took control of the peloton. As they hit the category 1 climb in the finale, only Gougeard could keep up with Duarte and the Frenchman finally had to surrender too. While Mikel Landa whittled the peloton down, most of the early break was caught and as they approached the summit only Duarte was still surviving.

 

With 32km to go, the gap was 1.15 and when Duarte crested the summit 2km later, he only had an advantage of 1.00. Luis Leon Sanchez and Landa worked strongly in the peloton on the descent and with 22km to go, Duarte was only 25 seconds ahead.

 

Duarte is caught

The Colombian still had such an advantage with 15km to go but 2km later, it was over. Sanchez and Landa continued to set the pace of the small main group and led them onto the late category 2 climb.

 

The two Spaniards didn’t respond when Marc Soler (Movistar) launched an attack and he managed to build an advantage of 10 seconds by the time he reached the summit and he still had that advantage when he started the final 7.5km climb where the drama unfolded.

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