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With a time of 9.51, Moreno took a surprise home win in the 8.2km time trial of the Vuelta a Andalucia, beating Kelderman by 2 seconds; Contador finished fourth and took the overall lead

Photo: Sirotti












18.02.2015 @ 18:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Javier Moreno (Movistar) became a hugely surprising winner of the short 8.2km time trial that was held in the afternoon after the crash-marred opener in the Vuelta a Andalucia. Riding on home soil, he covered the technical course in a time of 9.51 which was 2 seconds faster than Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and 4 seconds faster than Jerome Coppel (IAM) while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished fourth and took the overall lead.


Javier Moreno has always had a reputation as being one of the best riders in the early part of the season and in the Vuelta a Andalucia he has a rare chance to ride for himself as none of the Movistar captains are at the start of the Spanish race. However, the climbers has never been a great time triallist and so there were no big expectations for the local hero when he took to the start of the 8.2km afternoon stage in Coria del Rio.


However, the Spaniard was apparently inspired by riding on his home roads as he had a storming ride to cover the technical course in a time of just 9.51. None of the big time trial specialists like Bob Jungels (Trek(, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), Jesse Sergent (Trek), Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka), Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) were able to do better and so the Spaniard took a surprise win.


The win was made even more remarkable by the fact that he was one of the many riders that had hit the deck in the morning stage and so went into the stage 3.27 behind overall leader Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal). However, he was apparently unhurt as no one was able to beat his impressive time that was posted early in the stage.


It was another crash victim who came closest as Wilco Kelderman proved great early-season form by stopping the clock in a time 9.53. Unfortunately, the Dutchman had also lost time this morning and the same was the case for IAM GC rider Jerome Coppel who again underlined his credentials as prologue specialist by finishing third.


As Ligthart could only manage 64th, it was fourth placed Alberto Contador who dealt his rivals an early blow by taking the leader’s jersey. The grand tour star was just fractions of a second faster than Jungels and this was enough to deny the Luxembourger a stint in the red jersey.


Much was expected from the battle between Contador and Froome and it was the Spaniard who got the upper hand. Despite being usually the better time triallist, Froome suffered on the highly technical course and he could only manage 10th, losing 8 seconds to his archrival, and now sits in fourth in the overall standings.


Contador will wear the red jersey when racing resumes tomorrow when the riders will tackle a mostly flat 191.7km stage. However, there’s a small category 3 climb just 9km from the finish before the riders descend to the uphill finishing straight in Lucena. The stage is the final opportunity for the sprinters, meaning that Contador and Tinkoff-Saxo should have a rather easy jersey defence.


A short, technical course

After the crash-marred morning stage, the riders were back in the saddle for a short 8.2km stage in the afternoon. Taking place in the city of Coria del Rio, the stage offered several turns and two short, sharp climbs, making it a time trial for explosive riders more than for time triallists.


The first rider down the ramp was Danilo Napolitano (Wanty) but it was Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) who was the first rider to post a significant time. Stopping the clock in 10.19, the Latvian took a comfortable lead and narrowly held off the challenge from teammate Pirmin Lang who was just 0.2 second slower.


Best time for Pineau

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) had a disappointing ride and instead it was Marco Canola (UnitedHealthCare) who again underlined his good condition. Stopping the clock in 10.15, the Italian was four seconds faster than Saramotins.


Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) had a good ride to slot into second with 10.18 but it was Jerome Pineau (IAM) who created a big surprise. The Frenchman continued the strong IAM showing by posting a time of 10.04 to take a comfortable lead.


Moreno takes the lead

Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) had a good ride to slot into the top 10 but all eyes were now on Peter Kennaugh (Sky) who got close when he missed the lead by just 4 seconds. Moments later Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) did even better as his time of 10.06 was enough for second place.


Less than one minute after Wellens had reached the finish, Coppel powered across the line to take the lead with 9.55 but he didn’t even lead the stage for 30 seconds. Moreno was the next rider on the course and he went 4 seconds faster.


Good ride by Izagirre and Intxausti

Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) did well to move into the top 10 before Vasil Kiriyenka (Sky) underlined his great TT skills by stopping the clock in 10.04. Moments later, Movistar continued their excellent showing when Gorka Izagirre posted a time of 10.02 to slot into third.


Jesse Sergent (Trek) who was among the favourites could only manage 10.09 while Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) had a good ride to make it into 10th. He was pushed down one spot when an excellent Benat Intxausti continued the super Movistar showing by moving into third.


Disappointment for Froome

Jungels was the next to cross the line and he was less than a second faster than the Basque while Ivan Basso (Tinkoff-Saxo) had a great ride to make it into 13th.  However, all eyes now were on Froome who could only manage 10.05.


Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Soudal) had an excellent ride with 10.08 before Kelderman got close by moving into. Sylvain Chavanel was disappointed as his time was only good enough for 10th while Bauke Mollema (Trek) was far off the pace with 10.22.


Good ride by Contador

Contador was now approaching the finish and he crossed the line in 9.57 to make it into fourth. Among the late starters, only Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) and Stefan Schumacher (CCC) were real specialists and as both had crashed this morning, they were far off the pace.


As expected, Ligthart could do nothing against the specialists and so Moreno became a surprise winner of the stage.



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