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"This Vuelta has been full of surprises so maybe tomorrow could be another surprise especially with teams like Tinkoff and Orica-Bike Exchange also looking to gain time. It could be an explosive race."

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson

VUELTA A ESPAÑA

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
09.09.2016 @ 23:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Chris Froome (Sky) showed that he is not content with second place at the Vuelta a Espana when he crushed the opposition with a dominant ride in the time trial on stage 19 of the Spanish race. Blasting through the flat 37km course in 46.33, he beat Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) by 44 seconds and Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) by 1.24 to take a convincing win. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) lost 2.16 in 11th place but retained the lead with an advantage of 1.21.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Chris Froome: Tomorrow will be an explosive day

Chris Froome claimed a resounding victory in the stage 19 time trial at the Vuelta a Espana, slashing the gap to the red jersey.

 

Froome threw caution to the wind, attacking a blustery 37-kilometre course to set a phenomenal winning time of 46 minutes and 33 seconds in Calp.

 

Quickest through every intermediate time check, that performance was enough to see him go 44 seconds quicker than nearest challenger Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar).

 

More significantly the Brit carved back 2:16 on race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), meaning that with one mountain stage to go he remains second overall, 1:21 back on the red jersey.

 

"I gave the time trial everything I had. I don't think there's much more I could have done today. I left it all out on the road," said Froome after the stage. "It's my last race of the year and I'm happy to still be in good condition.

 

"There's still one more really tough day of racing tomorrow. Let's see. Of course Quintana still has more than one minute of an advantage. We're going to keep fighting all the way.

 

"We'll see (what happens) tomorrow and I'll speak with my team-mates tonight. Quintana with Movistar has a really good team around him and it's going to be difficult to beat him.

 

Quintana had headed down the ramp with a lead margin of 3:37, but quickly began to lose time. Froome took 46 seconds out of the red jersey at the first intermediate, followed by 1:33 at the second split.

 

On riding against the clock Froome added: "For sure you don't enjoy (riding a time trial), but you get a lot of satisfaction when you hear you're setting the fastest time. It's the whole reason you race - the feeling of going head to head with your rivals.

 

“I’m not really the kind of person to keep looking back and thinking ‘what if things were different’. I’m happy with the result today, things went as well as they could have gone. I’m looking ahead and I’m going to keep racing all the way until Madrid

 

“I think my team is still really motivated for tomorrow’s stage, most of the guys had an easy day with the time trial, they did not go completely full gas. This Vuelta has been full of surprises so maybe tomorrow could be another surprise especially with teams like Tinkoff and Orica-Bike Exchange also looking to gain time. It could be an explosive race.

 

“It’s not over yet and I don’t think tomorrow will be just about the final climb because there is more than 4,5000 metres of climbing so it’s going to be a fight from the start.

 

“We could see a lot of scenarios. We’re gonna have to make the right decisions, which moves, which riders to follow.

 

“Today’s time trial was testing. Everything wasn’t so straightforward. It was technical, windy with tough little climbs and some fast descents. You had to be able to do everything to perfection today. It was a really testing route and I think I rode a great time trial.

 

“I haven’t recced the stage specifically but have looked it online, it’s not as steep as some of the climbs we had up until now on the Vuelta. But given it’s the last stage of racing there is a good chance it will come down to a fight between the main GC contenders on the last climb and the bonus seconds could be up for grabs. But it could also be a very explosive stage from the start.”

 

Leopold König confirms his form in Vuelta time trial

Leopold Konig backed up the superb effort of his team leader with the sixth best time on the day, 1:51 back on Froome.

 

Admitting he wanted to honour the Czech national champs jersey, Konig told Eurosport the conditions played a big factor. He confirmed: "My front wheel slipped in the second corner because of the wind. I took it cautious and the wind played a big role. For the lighter riders it's very tough."


Nairo Quintana: I am confident that I can defend my lead

Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) fulfilled the expectations on his own body for the trascendental TT in the 2016 Vuelta a España - 37km between Jávea and Calpe - yet ended his day losing more than planned to a superb Chris Froome (SKY). The Briton took the day’s win by putting more than forty seconds on Jonathan Castroviejo, the Spansh specialist from the Movistar Team seemingly safe on top until his exhibition, and reduced in 2’16” what still is a relatively comfortable gap for Quintana, 1’21” ahead overall before Sunday’s Aitana showdown (197km).

 

Winds became the main actor in today’s effort, as their picking-up way above the forecasts made Quintana starting to lose time faster than expected at the first intermediate check (12km), 46” behind Froome, and keeping that tendency through the second (24km), where Froome proved to be on a league of his own by putting 1’32” on Quintana. Quintana didn’t risk, though, on the technical finale and will focus on protecting himself on Saturday alongside a strong block. Valverde - still leader of the Points classification, yet with only 2pt over Quintana, 6 to Froome,10 to Fabio Felline (TFS)- , Moreno - jumping three places up, now 8th overall - and the entire roster directed by Garcia Acoata and Arrieta will give everything to secure Quintana’s first win in the Spanish grandtour.


Nairo Quintana said:

 

“I did a good time trial, but Chris Froome really flew over today’s course. He set the bar quite higher than we expected. My ‘data’ over the parcours wasn’t bad at all, more on the contrary: I did what I felt I needed to complete a good TT. Wind picked up and blew stronger than initially planned, yet I chose well my gearing for the race and my legs were strong. And that’s the most important thing: keeping that juice flowing and feeling good for tomorrow, which will be a very serious stages. We’ve got quite a gap, and we must take advantage of it and defend ourselves well. Surely I lost more than I hoped, but before the race, I thought I’d need to take more than three minutes before the TT to defend and eventual leader’s jersey, and we fulfilled our task today.

 

“We’ve got a strong team for tomorrow, one with people still feeling fresh. It will be a stage where we mustn’t lose focus, as there will be lots of attacks from the start. People won’t keep their minds cold, and many will want to gain some. Orica have lost their podium spot and will try to recover; Contador will fight to keep his place; Chris will attack; and I have to defend myself. I just have to cover Chris’ moves, wait for the finale and follow him towards the end of this last battle.

 

“I’m cool I know have good legs. Today’s TT was more windy than expected.  Chris was flying but we still have 1:21 on him and I know I have good legs and great confidence in my team. More than Alberto Contador’s moves I expect an attack from the Orica-Bike Exchange guys (Simon Yates, 6th in GC and Esteban Chaves,, 4th in GC) because they will want their place on the podium back. Then Alberto will be the one who has to defend. I will be watching Alberto because you can’t give him an inch, he is such a good strategist, and Chris because he is so strong. But we are ready for a great defence of the red jersey.”

 

Castroviejo: Only a fantastic rider beat me

Jonathan Castroviejo said: 

 

“Today’s goal was winning the stage, and sadly we didn’t fulfil it. It was a difficult course, with lots of pace changes, sections where you couldn’t pedal and profit it you were strong… I didn’t like it really much, but I managed through it well. I had to cope with strong headwinds; probably the early starters didn’t face it, but that’s not an excuse as I was above them. I gave everything and only a fantastic rival like Froome could beat my time. In a Grand Tour, you go through good and bad moments - I can’t really say this was one bad thing to remember, I felt like I left all on the road.

 

“Tomorrow? Surely many teams will ride against us and try to take advantage to improve their GC results; we have to give everything one last time to keep Nairo safe.”

 

Valverde: I will do everything to help Quintana

Alejandro Valverde said: 

 

“I was inside the podium, watching Nair’s time trial, full of nerves. We knew that Froome would do well, yet his TT was fantastic. We’re still keeping 1’21” against Chris and, while tomorrow’s one will be tight, I think we shouldn’t have any problems. Till the very last finish line is covered, we must keep pushing. It will be a beautiful stage for the fans, not really much so for those inside the race.

 

“Castroviejo was one of the candidates to win. He did the TT full gas and I also did it fast, so let’s see. There’s still enough gap for Quintana. The team is OK, tomorrow will be hard but we will se. I will be helping Nairo as much as I can and we have to be happy”.

 

Tobias Ludvigsson impresses with third place in Vuelta TT

Tobias Ludvigsson once again showed his capabilities by finishing third in today’s ranking, as Chad Haga took a strong 18th place.

 

Coach Luke Roberts said after the stage: “Tobias’s form has been improving throughout the race and he’s had his eye on a top result in today’s time trial. He rode a very strong race and was only bettered by two absolute specialists.”

 

Excellent dress rehearsal for European Championships for Lampaert

Yves Lampaert finished just outside the podium, whilst teammate David De La Cruz jumped one place in the overall standings, despite having mechanical problems.

 

Runner-up this year at the National Championships, Yves Lampaert displayed again his prowess against the clock, on Friday, when the Vuelta a España scheduled the sole ITT of this edition, one which took the riders from Xabia to Calp (37 kilometers), over a rolling and technical terrain. One of the Lampaert starters, Yves set the fastest time at both checkpoints, before becoming the first rider to go under the 48-minute barrier at the finish line and thus going into the hot seat.

 

At the end of the tricky stage 19, during which also the wind made the riders' life more complicated, the 25-year-old Belgian – a Grand Tour debutant – was fourth in the rankings, with a time of 47:59, just two seconds shy off the podium. Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the individual time trial, ahead of Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) and Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin), while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) held onto his red jersey.

 

"I'm happy of my performance, especially as it comes after three tough weeks of racing. The ITT was held on a hard parcours, made even more difficult by the headwind, but at the same time was a good test before the European Championships of next week. The parcours will be more or less similar, and I'm satisfied with my result", said Yves Lampaert, Etixx – Quick-Step's top finisher on Friday.

 

”always motivated to ride a good time trial and I was even more motivated today because I’ve been picked by Belgium for next week’s European championships so looking ahead to Plumelec, today was a good test. The parcours was hard, there was a lot of wind. I feel good. I’m happy with my Vuelta, we have a strong team with four wins and maybe it’s not finished. It’s my first Grand Tour and I’m very satisfied.”

 

Bad luck mars time trial for De La Cruz

The team's GC man, David De La Cruz, didn't enjoy a smooth ride in the tough test against the clock, as a flat rear wheel in the first 15 kilometers forced him to change the bike. The bad luck didn't stop here, another mechanical, which occurred a few kilometers later, meaning the 27-year-old Spaniard had to change the front wheel this time. Still, despite suffering these setbacks, he put in a strong ITT and even managed to gain a place in the overall standings, going up to 9th.

 

"Must say I'm pretty content with my ride and with the fact I felt good and had strong legs. Unfortunately, I had these mechanicals and lost around 40-50 seconds, which could turn out to be important tomorrow. I don't know Alto de Aitana, but I will do my best, as I'm determined to finish in the top 10", explained David De La Cruz, the only Spanish stage winner at this edition of the Vuelta a España.


Excellent top 5 for Campenaerts, best ever TT for Bennett, Gesink ready for Saturday

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Victor Campenaerts time trialled to fifth place in the Vuelta a España stage 19 today in Calpe. Campenaerts clocked 48 ​​minutes, 20 seconds for the 37-kilometre stage – nearly two minutes behind stage winner Chris Froome (Sky) with 46-33. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains in the overall lead with LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett moving up to 11th.

 

"It went well, I had the power in my legs to ride a good time trial,” Campenaerts said. "More than this was impossible. Since my selection for the Vuelta, I've been working for this stage. We previewed the time trail several times and I was able to go full-gas.”

 

Campenaerts rode in the Belgian champion jersey.

 

"Every time, it’s an honour to race with this jersey, especially so in a grand tour.”

 

George Bennett rode a good time trial and placed 25th, enough to move up the overall classification.

 

"Normally, I'm not good at time trials. And often, I lose places in the general classification after a time trial. In the beginning, it was hard and I did not know what to expect. When I passed the rider who had started ahead of me, I thought I was riding a good time trial. 

 

"I was sure that it was a good time when the sports directors complemented me at the finish. It is nice to be able to ride so well at the end of a grand tour.”

 

 Sports Director Addy Engels was in the car behind Victor Campenaerts and George Bennett.

 

"Victor rode a good time trial as we had hoped,” Engels added. “George showed that he is in good shape. For a non-specialist as he is, it was a good ride. We are happy with the result.”

 

Robert Gesink rode mostly with his mind on tomorrow's summit finish stage up Aitana.

 

"I don’t want to call it a day off, but I was able to just have a training day. Tomorrow, it is first a battle to get into the escape group and if that succeeds, it is then a fight to stay clear of the peloton.

 

"I already had a top finish on the Aitana stage one time and that gives me the motivation to do it again. I felt good in the last week, and I’m hoping for the same tomorrow.”

 

Talansky moves into the top 5, Formolo big loser in Vuelta TT

It was a good day for Green Argyle in Alicante where Andrew Talansky gained a spot on the Vuelta a España general classification and Davide Formolo solidified his place in the top ten overall.

 

Talansky covered the 37-kilometer time trial between Xàbia and Calpe in 48:27. His time was good for seventh place, 1:54 slower than stage winner Chris Froome (Team Sky). More critically, Talansky finished nearly two minutes faster than Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange). The Briton had started the day 1:31 ahead of Talansky on the general classification. Talansky’s ride saw him jump ahead of Yates into fifth place.

 

“Realistically it was only ever Simon Yates that we could pass,” said sport director Bingen Fernandez. “The others were too far in front.”

 

“It was a good time trial for Andrew,” Fernandez added. “Actually, he started a little bit slow, but that was the plan. You never know if he could have gone even faster though. He did a great time trial that saw him move up one more spot. We’ll have to see tomorrow with the big stage how he’s going to finish the race, but he did a good stage today.”

 

While Talansky saw Friday’s stage as an opportunity to gain time, Formolo hoped to limit losses. The Italian is not a time trial specialist and needed a special ride to protect his general classification ambitions.

 

“We were expecting a tough day for Fomolo,” said Fernandez. “Maybe it was even tougher than expected. He’s tenth in GC, which is still very good.”

 

Cannondale-Drapac started the Vuelta with one leader and heads into the penultimate stage of racing with two riders in the top ten overall.

 

“It’s been a good surprise with Formolo,” said Fernandez. “With Andrew, we knew if he is good, he can do a top ten, a top five. We didn’t know this with Formolo. He’s young and he has never raced for the GC. This is his first time he was solid every single day for a stage race. It’s a very good surprise.”

 

Alberto Contador: I will try something on Alto de Aitana

With today’s time trial and tomorrow’s mountain stage the only opportunities left to attack the GC before Madrid, Alberto Contador was focused on giving his everything over the 37km TT course between Xàbia and Calp. By the end of the tough, windy stage Contador posted a time of 48’30”, placing him eighth on the day, and seeing him jump one place on GC to third.

 

Contador said after the stage: "I got off to a good start and the first part of the time trial went very well. There was a strong wind but I knew it was there I could make a difference on Chaves. Maybe it cost me a bit in the end. Then it became tougher and I had a hard time keeping a steady pace of watts, it was stop and go. I didn't feel the way I would have liked, the effort took its toll but I'm satisfied with the result.

 

“I think it’s a scenario I wouldn’t have wanted at the begining of the Vuelta, but I had to ride like this. The truth is that it is a shame things got wrong-footed from the beginning of the Vuelta. Because of my crash and other factors, I currently am not facing the best possible scenario, I would have liked to be fighting for another goal, but after all, we can't complain. Froome did an extraordinary race today and we couldn’t do more. Maybe they still have options, but they will, obviously, have to make a move tomorrow. It will be all or nothing for them and we'll see whether we can take advantage of that. I will try something on the Alto de Aitana.

 

“In the Formigal stage there were special circumstances and it wasn’t all because of me, also Quintana was attentive to make the break. Sometimes, if you dont’ have the legs you want you have to look for alternatives. I think it was a beautiful show and this Vuelta will be mainly remembered for that stage. Tomorrow, we will give it all.”

 

The rolling course with a testing climb in the first half was also subject to strong winds so the riders had to be attentive throughout. Starting the race at a fast tempo, Contador posted the third quickest time at the first time check, immediately showing his intent to keep chasing the top spot to the end.

 

He held a strong rhythm, posting strong splits and eventually coming home with a time that would see him finish eighth, 1’57” down on the stage winner. Importantly, Contador was faster than two of the three riders ahead of him on GC which saw the gap close slightly ahead of tomorrow’s tough mountain test.

 

Steven de Jongh gave his thoughts on Contador’s  ride, saying:

 

“He did a very consistent time trial and took time on all but one of his main rivals by the finish. It was tough out there with the wind and you had to pay attention on the downhills as it was tricky with the disc wheel, but he handled it well. Froome was exceptional today, but Alberto put in a strong fight and moves up on some of his rivals.

 

“Tomorrow is definitely a very hard stage and I think a lot of things can still happen. Maybe Froome will have a go, maybe Chaves will want to try to get back on the podium. So I think it will be a very interesting stage.”

 

Manuele Boaro was the next fastest for Tinkoff, in 28th position, as the rest of the guys focused on making it safely through the stage to support their leader in the final two days of the race.

 

Zoidl does first ’decent’ TT for a while, Felline fails to achieve podium target

Fabio Felline and Riccardo Zoidl put in their best efforts for the stage 19 time trial Friday to finish in 9th and 12th places respectively.

 

After almost three weeks jammed with brutal climbs, the predominantly flat 37-kilometer course offered a drastic change, and after 18 grueling races, it was anyone's guess how the body, and legs, would react.

 

Their team caught up with Trek-Segafredo's top two finishers to get their reactions following the race against the clock.  Zoidl and Felline had distinctive goals going into the time trial, and had vastly different responses afterward:

 

Zoidl said: "It was a really hard time trial, especially with the wind as it made you have to push all the time, but I felt quite good. It's been a long time since I did a decent time trial, so it was a little objective for me to have a good run today. The feeling was very good, for the power and everything, and I am really happy with my performance."

 

Felline added: "The time trial is always special; you need to be perfect with the perfect legs. Today I was not bad, but not super for the podium or victory. But what is important is to always give the maximum, and I gave the maximum I could today.

 

"I had a special director in the car today: Luca (Guercilena, general manager) was following me, and one month ago he helped Fabian (Cancellara) win a gold medal in the Olympics. And for sure, tonight I will have a good evaluation for my time trial to learn as much as possible.

 

"He managed me all the race, and when my speed would fall he would be on the radio to tell me to go with more power. Finally, it was impossible for me to give more, and when I saw the gap to the best time when I finished, it was not a small gap.

 

"The numbers on my SRM (power meter) were not bad, I gave a good performance, but not enough for the victory. When I started this morning, I began with the goal of the podium. And, to finish in 9th place… I gave everything I had; it's like that."

 

Scarponi: I defended myself well

“It will be an "all against all" stage,” said Michele. “For now ’m happy to have gained two positions in the GC.

 

"The course was very nervous and I thought to defend myself. I know the climbs we will do tomorrow well and I'm sure someone will pay for today’s effort”.

 

"The goal was to earn positioned and we did it. Tomorrow we will see who has saved most strength in the legs,” commented sport director Alexandr Shefer.

 

Monfort: Tomorrow I want to be in the break

For Lotto Soudal, Thomas De Gendt brought a nice thirteenth place home for Lotto Soudal. Monfort finished 26th and keeps his eighteenth position in the classification.

 

Monfort said:

 

"I'm pretty satisfied with my time trial. I had a good feeling and I managed my pace. Yes, it is true that I finished far down but we must compare what is comparable. Tomorrow, it'll be a pretty terrible stage with a Vuelta that is not yet fully decided. For my part, I want to be in the break ... If there is one…”

 

Samuel Sanchez abandons the Vuelta with dislocated shoulder after time trial crash

Samuel Sánchez’s individual time trial ended in disappointment when he crashed with 7km to go, losing significant time and dropping out of the top ten on the General Classification.

 

Sánchez started strongly and was sitting in a good position in the first two intermediate time checks. It was with 7km to go that he came through a corner and lost control of his bike on a narrow section of the road.

 

As well as requiring a bike change it was clear that Sánchez was injured in the process. He managed to finish the time trial and was taken to hospital for X-Rays of his ride side.

 

Silvan Dillier and Ben Hermans put in solid time trial performances, finishing in 15th and 20th place respectively. BMC Racing Team continues to lead the team classification, 14’26” in front of Movistar with one difficult stage to go before the final stage in Madrid.

 

Immediately after the stage BMC Racing Team Doctor Daniele Zaccaria said:

 

“Samuel is currently on his way to the hospital where he will undergo X-Rays of his right side which was the main point of impact when he crashed. We will then assess his injuries and make a decision as to whether he is fit to race the final two stages of the Vuelta a Espana.”

 

Sports Director Valerio Piva added:

 

“Samuel Sanchez crashed seven kilometres from the finish. He was going fast on a narrow road that was half-blocked, he had the sixth or seventh best time, and he slipped in the corner. It was a spectacular crash. He is injured, I don’t think he will be at the start tomorrow.

 

“Samuel was very strong. He was around sixth or seventh place and during the time trial he was so concentrated. We arrived at more or less 7km to the finish where the road was narrow and divided in two. It was not possible to go on the other side and out of the corner he was really fast and the bike slid out. He crashed very fast so I saw immediately that it was a very bad crash. The bike was destroyed so we gave him a new bike but it was clear that he was not able to continue. He finished the stage but I am really scared that tomorrow he cannot start. Maybe the Vuelta is finished here for us. All of the nice days that we had until now finish like that. But ok that is the sport, that is cycling and I hope that it is nothing bad for him. It was a bad day for us.”

 

It has later been confirmed that the  nasty fall left him with an acromioclavicular joint dislocation of the right shoulder.

The acromioclavicular join dislocation will rule Sánchez out of the remaining two stages.

 

Dr Daniele Zaccaria said:

 

“Samuel was taken immediately to the Hospital Marina Baixa Villajoyosa after his crash where they performed a number of X-Rays and tests to determine his injuries. Given the heavy impact of the crash he is lucky to have not broken any bones. His main injury is the acromioclavicular join dislocation of his right shoulder but he also has a large contusion and is unable to walk properly. He underwent a head CT scan as he was experiencing some dizziness but was cleared of any concussion.

 

“Samuel will require at least a week off the bike, following which he will ride on the rollers before returning to the road. We will continue to monitor his recovery and hopefully he will be able to race at the beginning of October.”

 

Samuel Sánchez said:

 

“I had a brutal crash with 7km to go in a corner to right. I was doing a good TT and I think I was able to finish it in the top 5 or 6 and gain some GC positions. Right now the physical pain is nothing compared to my soul. I am only two days from the final and we did a big sacrifice to be here fighting with the best riders. I know this is sport and cycling but it's hard to accept it now. The important thing is I haven't broken  anything even if my right shoulder is dislocated. I hope to recover fast and give my best in this final of season in the Italian races in October.”

 

Silvan Dillier also crashed:

 

"I crashed in the final u-turn, I was set for a good time trial. I'm a bit disappointed,” he said.

 

Chaves: We are still in the fight

Colombian Esteban Chaves and stage six winner Simon Yates both gave their all forORICA-BikeExchange on the stage 19 individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espanatoday, setting the scene for an epic penultimate stage tomorrow.

 

Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) won the stage and edged closer to race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) moved up into third overall with the general classification to be decided tomorrow.

 

Seven minutes separates the top six with Chaves now in fourth and Yates in sixth. The decisive stage 20 will be challenging, covering five categorised climbs before a tough summit finish on the Alto de Aitana.

 

Esteban Chaves said:

 

“It was a hard TT. Froome had already caught me at the halfway point. We knew it could happen because he’s a great champion and an Olympic medallist. I don’t know how much time I lost to Contador, but we are still in the fight. Tomorrow is a tough stage, but it’s good for riders like me who weigh less than 60kg. The race is not over until it’s finished and we will try to do our best with the team. There’s a lot of vertical gain left and we will give everything to be on the podium ”

 

Sport director Neil Stephens praised the efforts of the team and spoke of the windy conditions on the course.

 

“It was very windy out there today,” said Stephens. “There were some strong gusts that actually blew the riders around a bit, coupled with an already demanding course, it made for a really hard day.

 

“They say that the time trial is the ‘race of truth’ and there is certainly nowhere to hide out there. Everyone is tired at this point in such a hard race, but our guys gave it everything and you can’t ask for any more than that.

 

“Tomorrow is going to be a big day, on paper it’s the second hardest stage of the whole Vuelta and there is a lot of climbing to cover in 193kilometres.

 

“It could be quite defensive tomorrow, at this late stage in the race it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams trying to hold on to what they already have, but we will see. Either way it will be a massive stage.”

 

Katusha: We saved energy for the mountain stage

It was long predicted that today’s Individual Time Trial for Stage 19 in the 71st Vuelta a España could provide a shake-up in the overall general classification of the race. Most of the names at the top of the leader board moved around a few places, most notably Alberto Contador moving onto the podium for third place, but Team KATUSHA’s Egor Silin rode well to protect his 17th place and remains the best placed rider for the team.

 

”This was a long and hard time trial, especially with the head wind. Plus it’s stage 19 and the power is gone from the legs for many that are tired. For us we knew there was not a chance for us to win this TT as we do not bring a specialist here. The only rider who went full gas was Egor so he could defend his top 20 on GC. The others were allowed to ride at medium effort. We are here to fight for another stage win tomorrow – it is probably our last chance so the guys were allowed to save their power for that,” said sports director José Azevedo.

 

“Our guys have had such a good attitude in this Vuelta. We’ve been present in 90% of the breakaways and we also have one stage win, plus we were close to the win two other times. We’ve come to this Vuelta without a leader so the guys are all free to fight for their own results and this is what they have done. KATUSHA has done a good race. We aren’t fighting for a top 10 on the GC but we have been clear in our goals for stage wins and the guys have given everything for this. We also have brought 3 young riders who are doing their first grand tours, and they have shown their qualities and possibilities for the future,” said Azevedo.

 

Rossetto hopes to complete first grand tour despite injuries

Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) said:

 

“I like time trials but I like them less when it’s windy. Usually I enjoy it but today there was a lot of headwind and you’re getting swung around in the technical sections. I’m no acrobat, especially after my crash. It’s hard to assess my performance with all the fatigue accumulated since the start of the race. I rode the course once at warm-up and then I tried to go full gas but it was too hard because of the wind. I crashed earlier in the race, I’ve got stitches… I’ll try to enjoy myself a last time tomorrow and then hopefully I will make it to Madrid for the first time in my career.”

 

Difficult time trial for Pardilla at the Vuelta

Caja Rural - Seguros RGA’sSergio Pardilla put in a good performance to end the day in 16th place in the general classification.
 
Sergio Pardilla said: 

 

“This was a very difficult day for me with lots of wind in the first sector. However, psychically, I felt very strong today and even though it didn’t show on the time, my legs were really good. Tomorrow is another hard day with lots of climbing. We will try to make it into the breakaway and do a good stage. We are ready to fight”.

 

Bora-Argon 18: There was nothing to win for us

BORA - ARGON 18 were not the ones to play a big role on 37 kilometer course. The goal was to save energy for the last two days. Tomorrow will be a good chance for a break in the last mountain stage finishing on the Alto Aitana and the team is keen to present their colours at the front of the race. On Sunday another podium result in a sprint finish in Madrid is possible for Michael Schwarzmann and Rudi Selig.

 

"We have to be realistic. Today there was nothing to win for us. I told the boys to go at a steady peace without pushing to the limit. A lot of other guys did that also today. We need all the remaining energy for the last two stages where we want to try again something. Tomorrow José [Mendes} can show that he really had a good shape here and just missed a little luck sometimes. On Sunday our sprinters have another chance, but need all their energy tomorrow in the hard mountain stage to survive. So it was an easy day in the office for us today,” said Enrico Poitschke, sports director

 

Fraile saves energy for last shot at the mountains jersey

For the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders, today’s 37km time trial was a low stress affair. With no time trial specialist lining up for the African Team, the plan was to get through the stage safely and conserve as much energy as possible for tomorrow’s tough climbing stage.

 

Merhawi Kudus was the best placed rider on the stage, 6’24” down on Froome. Omar Fraile also got through the stage without any hassle and our Basque climber will be focused on tomorrow’s tough mountain stage. Fraile currently sits 2nd in the King of the Mountains competition, 3 points behind Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and there are 35 points on offer tomorrow.

 

Sports director Alex Sans Vega said:

 

“With no GC rider or time trial specialist, today was a straight forward day for us. We had no issues out on the course and now we have some big objectives for the final 2 stages of the Vuelta, which we are concentrated on.”

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