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"Astana locked everything and set the pace until the last climb. We knew it was not a difficult climb for Dumoulin. If they want to win, they will have to attack really, rather than set a high pace.”

Photo: Unipublic




10.09.2015 @ 20:13 Posted by Andy Pedersen

As the 2015 Vuelta a España nears the conclusion of the 70th edition, so do opportunities to attack the race lead for precious seconds still needed to take Tom Dumoulin off the top step of the podium.


With Team Katusta’s Joaquim Rodriguez in third place needing 1.15 and Fabio Aru of Astana (2nd place) needing only 3 seconds, the GC riders tried what they could to gain time on Thursday’s stage 18. But Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) responded to everything thrown at him and still holds the race lead by a slim three seconds with only 3 stages still to go.


“Astana controlled with a very impressive fast rhythm until the last climb, hoping to isolate Dumoulin, but that didn’t work out. Dumoulin is strong. In my opinion it would be better to save the forces to attack him many times instead of imposing a high pace. We tried to play our game but it was not so easy. Finally we all came together at the finish. Let’s see what happens in the next two days,” said team leader Joaquim Rodriguez, who finished 6th in today’s stage.


"Astana locked everything and set the pace until the last climb. We knew it was not a difficult climb for Dumoulin. If they want to win, they will have to attack really, rather than set a high pace.”


With teammate Eduard Vorganov in the large break, Angel Vicioso and then Joaquim Rodriguez tried to make a move from distance at 35 km to go, but Astana closed down the move and continued their quick pace on the undulating 204 km from Roa to Riaza.


Attacks came from the breakaway, especially from Aru as he tried to distance Dumoulin, but the race leader was always close on the wheel and didn’t appear to be suffering on the stage.


In the end, Nicolas Roche (Sky) and Haimar Zubeldia of Trek Factory Racing managed to go clear from the break, with Roche able to out-kick the Basque rider at the line with a winning time of 5:03.59. Third place on the stage went to Jose Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) while the group of GC favorites including Rodriguez arrived at 38-seconds.


Alejandro Valverde from Movistar was the first rider from the favorite’s group, taking 4th place, ahead of Esteban Chaves of Orica-GreenEdge (5th place) and Joaquim Rodriguez.


The general classification has Tom Dumoulin ahead by 3-seconds to Aru after 73:45.13 and 1.15 to Joaquim Rodriguez. “Purito” continues to hold the green points and white combination jerseys.


Stage 19 is 185,8 km beginning in Medina del Campo and ending in Ávila. It’s another day of up and down for the 162 riders still competing in the Vuelta a España.



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