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"For the moment the situation is perfect for me. I miss one second for the race lead but that is not so important. In the end the strongest rider will win the Vuelta. The good feelings that I have now are more important than that red l...

Photo: Sirotti






06.09.2015 @ 21:19 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez took a capturing win on stage 15 of the Vuelta a España. Rodriguez attacked in the steep last kilometer of the 12,7 km long final climb to Sotres and finished with 12 seconds ahead of Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and teammate Dani Moreno.


Race leader Fabio Aru (Astana) finished 5th, 15 seconds behind. His smart move and the 10-second time bonus for the win moved Rodriguez now to within a second of Fabio Aru’s race lead. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) lost 51 seconds.


“This is incredible. What a hard climb but what nice win too. The cheering fans helped me a lot as well as my teammates. This is a phenomenal Vuelta. The whole Vuelta we were looking for this stage win. Now we have it and we even play a role for the GC.


"For the moment the situation is perfect for me. I miss one second for the race lead but that is not so important. In the end the strongest rider will win the Vuelta. The good feelings that I have now are more important than that red leader’s jersey.


"Tomorrow we have again a hard stage with possibilities. I will try again but if it doesn’t work I will try another day. I don’t want to use a calculator to find out how much time I need to take before the time trial in Burgos. In the past I calculated too much and it ended badly. I just look ahead from day to day.


"We came to this race to arrive on the final podium. We are on the good way. Tonight we will shortly celebrate and tomorrow we will suffer again. In this Tour of Spain there are still nice things to come. The race is not over yet.


"One second behind Aru but 1.23 and 1.24 ahead of Majka and Dumoulin. Especially Dumoulin can still be dangerous. He lost time today but rode very clever and he will be hard to beat in the time trial. We’ll see,” said Joaquim Rodriguez.


The 15th stage started in Comillas and ended on the first category climb in Sotres/Cabrales. The peloton never gave a nice breakaway group of nine riders much freedom. At the bottom of the final climb the break had only a 1 minute gap, which was neutralized in the following kilometers.


Nairo Quintana from Movistar was the first rider among the favorites to attack on the climb. His attack however, with 10 km to go, was quickly neutralized by the main bunch. All favorites stayed together in the group until the last kilometer, when “Purito” made his powerful attack, which brought him a nice victory.


“The last five years I finished four times in top 4 overall. Very strange but this Vuelta is the less stressful of all my Vueltas. It is hard to explain, but I hope to continue this way. Very tranquillo,” said Joaquim Rodriguez.


"It was a difficult stage, Movistar set the pace looking for the win but I was feeling well and I told myself it was possible to win today. I’m moving closer in the GC but tomorrow’s stage is harder, maybe even harder than the one in Andorra. It’s the last chance for the climbers. Then there is a time trial and I think the last stages will be for the breakaway specialists. My priority is to recuperate and we will see what happens tomorrow.


"We only talk about these three riders [Aru, Rodriguez, Dumoulin] but Majka and Chaves are hanging on. I think it is going to be a matter of a few seconds. There will be attacks tomorrow and we will make the calculations at the top.


"So yes there is Dumoulin but not just him because it will not be your usual time trial. It will be on the third week of a grand tour. It will depend on Dumoulin, how he recuperates. I feel well, I have good sensations but a time trial on the 17th day is something different, and it will be after a rest day, it does not suits me too well.


"I have different sensations than in the Tour. In the Tour, I could not fight with the  favourites, I played second fiddle. Here I have been fighting with the best for a podium finish and stage victories. At the Tour Froome and Quintana were above the rest and I could not fight because I did not have the juice I have here.


It would be fantastic to win the Vuelta but I don’t have the palmares to say that I can win. In two or three days we will know who can win the Vuelta. Unless there are big gaps tomorrow, or a tragedy.


"If I knew I could win I don’t know what I would do. Tomorrow it will be very complicated and trying something far from the finish, with Astana, would be mad. They are a very strong team, stronger than Movistar.


"Federico Bahamontes said that I was wearing the same bib than when he won a Vuelta or a Tour de France, and that he also is a Barca fan like me. It would be cool if his theories were true but it might not be enough."


"You always want to win and you try because we always go to every race to do our best," Moreno said. "It was good, very good for him and for me also. He attacked at the key moment and was able to go forward. We will have to get some control on the race. We hope that tomorrow there will be a bit of rest."


Joaquim Rodriguez is now leader in the points as well as the combination classification. Tomorrow’s stage bring the riders from Luarca to Quiros with again a steep mountaintop finish to Ermita de Alba (185 km).



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