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"I missed energy in the finale after my attack, but I jumped away because I felt well. I wanted to give it a try, I wished to follow the other moves."

Photo: A.S.O.








23.08.2015 @ 19:01 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The first hill-top finish of the 2015 Vuelta a España created bigger time gaps than expected prior to today's Cat-3 Alto de La Mesa / Caminito del Rey ascent, end of a 158.7km trek that included high temperatures, continuous stress and a big pile-up which fortunately saw no big injuries for the Movistar Team. Despite some road rash for Giovanni Visconti, it did have an impact on the GC contenders, with Vincenzo Nibali (AST) losing almost 2' to the stage winner, Colombian Esteban Chaves (OGE).


Despite Nairo Quintana being the most courageous of the favourites, joining a lead quartet created by the Cómbita-born rider and also featuring Roche (SKY), Dumoulin (TGA) and the day's victor, heat and the early situation of this first climb in the Vuelta made him pay foor the effort. The Colombian finished alongside Joaquim Rodríguez (KAT) in 6th place, 26" back, while Alejandro Valverde joined Chris Froome (SKY) and Dani Moreno (KAT) in a second gorup in 8th spot, 31" down, with all other GC players behind the Movistar duo.


The riders directed by Arrieta and Garcia Acosta, really notable all day with Sutherland, Erviti, Ventoso, Moreno and Visconti pushing at the front while Amador and Rojas led the two leaders out just before the climb, will tackle on Monday a theoretically easier stage three. It will contain the Alto del León (Cat-1) far from Málaga's finish (158.4km), yet with some slight slopes in the approach to the Andalusian city.


"I tried because I felt good," Quintana said. "I wanted to have a go, and then after that I wanted to follow but I wasn't able to. The heat affected me in the final kilometres. But I have to congratulate my fellow countryman. He was very strong and he deserved the win.


"It was interesting to get a bit of an advantage and we've put some time into some rivals. Today shows that I'm here to chase the win, despite the fact that this is the first time I've ridden both the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year.


"We were lucky because we were very close to getting caught up in that crash. But that's the Vuelta. You get nervous finishes, hard climbs, crashes and things you just don't expect"


“It was a difficult stage, with that big crash also affecting me," Visconti said. "Fortunately, I could bridge back to the group and help my team-mates out until the bottom of the last climb. I saw Nairo and 'Bala' doing really well, especially the former, who finished second out of the GC favourites. I think we can't ask for anything else in this first day: both of them avoided the crashes, some of our main rivals conceded more time and that's a good sign for us."



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