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"I was aware that attacking at more than 110km from the finish was quite foolish, but my feelings were so good, I knew the course well and I wanted to exploit all the remaining energy in the last suitable stage."

Photo: Sirotti






12.09.2015 @ 20:00 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Ain't no mountain high enough, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell used to sing anticipating the motto of Rubén Plaza, who did one of the most exciting masterpieces of the recent years. The Spanish rider from Team Lampre-Merida, who had already won the Gap stage in the Tour de France, obtained an outstanding succees in the 20th stage of the Vuelta a Espana.


He completed a solo attack of 117 km, after having covered 58 km in the first breakaway together with 37 riders.


After a few meters in the stage, a breakaway escaped from the bunch and Lampre-Merida could rely on three riders, Valerio Conti, Nelson Oliveira and Plaza. In the first part of the second climb, the Puerto de la Morcuera, Plaza decided to begin a solo action which seemed foolish but which meter after meter, climb after climb became an impressive winning feat.


No other former member of the breakaway could catch the Spanish rider from Lampre-Merida, who reached the finish with 1'07" on Goncalves and 1'08" on De Marchi.


Plaza obtained the 23rd victory in his career (2nd in 2015, both in grand tours) and gave Lampre the 25th seasonal joy. The team of team manager Brent Copeland has obtained 7 successes in the grand tours (4 in the Giro d'Italia, 1 in the Tour de France and 2 in the Vuelta a Espana) and it's the most winning team among the ones which obtained victories in the grand tours.


In the overall classification, Nelson Oliveira, who obtained a very good 11th place in the stage, climbed up to 21st place, at 44'44" from the new leader Aru.


"I was aware that attacking at more than 110km from the finish was quite foolish, but my feelings were so good, I knew the course well and I wanted to exploit all the remaining energy in the last suitable stage in order to aim for a victory,” Plaza explained. “I noticed that the breakaway group was not united anymore and so I decided that it was the best moment to attack, despite the long distance to the finish.


“There was a moment when we were 10 in front and I heard they were 25 chasing behind. I knew it would be chaos, riders have always failed to collaborate in such big breaks in this Vuelta. So I tried to form a small group but I failed and then I went solo in La Morcuera. It’s an area I know. 


“I knew if they made it into the break, it would be chaotic, whenever there’s been such a big group there’s never been any real collaboration. 

“So I tried to get away in a smaller group over [the first climb] of Navacerrada and when that didn’t work out, I went for it as soon as we started  La Morcuera.


“When I went for it, my aim was to make it all the way to the finish. I know these climbs well. It was all about being consistent and I had to calculate my strength right down to the last gram of energy. This is the last stage of the race I could possibly win, and I said it was all or nothing.


“The advantage became immediately fairly large, I focused my attention on my performance and, thanks to my legs, I defended it and I obtained such an amazing victory. I'm having a perfect season, I thank my team mate, my team and all the fans."



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