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"When Quintana and Majka attacked on the last climb, it looked suddenly bad for me. I thought a while they would again kick me off a Vuelta podium, but I decided not to panic."

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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12.09.2015 @ 22:04 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The last mountains stage was the last chance to attack red jersey Tom Dumoulin. The 176 km stage from San Lorenzo de El Escorial to Cercedilla featured four category 1 climbs and did not disappoint. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) tumbled from first to sixth overall, Fabio Aru (Astana) took over the red jersey and Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez moved from 3rd to 2nd overall. The stage win was for Spanish rider Rubén Plaza (Lampre-Merida).

 

On the day’s penultimate category 1 climb, the Puerto de la Morcuera, Fabio Aru delivered the coup de grace. Tom Dumoulin could not follow the attack and lost everything. Aru could count on teammates that Dumoulin did not have anymore. Moreover more teammates, dropping from a huge break of the day, came to help Aru. The same way Joaquim Rodriguez could take advantage from the presence of Eduard Vorganov and Alberto Losada in the front.

 

“What a historical stage was it today. First it looked that Giant-Alpecin had control over the situation but then there was the second part of the stage with the coup of Astana. I have to congratulate them with what they achieved. Fabio Aru was maybe not the strongest guy today, but he had a super team and they let us suffer a lot. I suffered the whole last week but I am happy I will finish as runner-up in this Vuelta a España. When Quintana and Majka attacked on the last climb, it looked suddenly bad for me. I thought a while they would again kick me off a Vuelta podium, but I decided not to panic and with the help of Alberto Losado I managed not to lose too much time. If I will finish as the number two of this Vuelta it is surely thanks to my teammates. All of them. The work of guys like Kochetkov, Smukulis or Vicioso is not always visible on TV but they help me so much. To finish second after three weeks is beautiful. To do better was impossible. Aru deserves the victory,” said Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

“We expected a stage where anything could happen. Astana were brave. They went all out to isolate Dumoulin. I was scared I could lose my second place. Majka was very strong and he was helped by Quintana. I have benefited from the help of Astana and Alberto Losada, who’s finishing this Vuelta strongly.

 

"If I had been told in Marbella that would finish second like that I would have signed right away. I don’t think I could have done better. But, like the others, if you ask me if I can be second before the start, I reply that I prefer to race and see what happens.

 

"It’s not easy for Dumoulin to lose the red jersey on the last day. He should not forget that he is young and that he will have other chances. Next year, I’d like to ride the Tour de France, as well as the Olympics.”

 

When Quintana and Majka attacked on the last climb, the Puerto de Cotos, Rodriguez’ virtual 2nd place overall was in danger. The two riders gained some minute time, but that was not enough to pass Rodriguez in the GC. In the end Rodriguez finished 55 seconds later than Majka in Cercedilla and saved with 12 seconds his second place overall.

 

Tom Dumoulin arrived almost 4 minutes later and dropped to 6th overall. Stage winner of the day was Rubén Plaza. The Spanish rider was part of the early break, but went already solo with more than 100 kilometers to go. Second place in the stage took José Gonçalves of Caja Rural (+1.07), while the daily podium was completed by Alessandro De Marchi of BMC (+1.08).

 

With one flat and short stage to go, Joaquim Rodriguez still holds the green points jersey and the white combination jersey.

 

Tomorrow will be held the final stage of 97,8 km from Alcalá de Henares to Madrid.

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