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"There are still three very difficult days. Right now no one is happy: Aru, Movistar, Majka. I already have a spot on the podium and I want to win. I’m highly likely to attack."

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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09.09.2015 @ 23:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was always predicted that the only individual time trial in the 70th Vuelta a España would be hard for the general classification riders and Wednesday’s stage 17 was exactly that. With the parcours favoring a specialist against the clock, those with skill sets more in the mountains suffered on the day, including Team Katusha’s race leader Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

"Of course the course was not perfect for me but I have to admit that Dumoulin and Aru were very, very strong today, especially as I felt strong myself too. I thought I would see a good time but in the end I lost two positions in the GC. I am still on the overall podium and not so far from position one and we still have three days ahead of us. I have nothing to lose. I will go on, with all my forces, trying to win this Vuelta a España. It does not stop here!" said a defiant Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

"It was a Purito time trial. I did not have great sensations. I was almost better on the flat than on the uphill. sections. Obviously I would have needed Dumoulin not to ride a good TT to retain the lead. But he did well, very well indeed. I am surprised by Aru.

 

"Losing my place on the podium, winning the race, anything can still happen and that’s what I wanted.  There are still three very difficult days. Right now no one is happy: Aru, Movistar, Majka. I already have a spot on the podium and I want to win. I’m highly likely to attack.”

 

Tom Dumoulin, 24, quite simply stormed the TT course, putting more than one-minute into his closest rival Maciej Bodnar and took the race lead in the process. He now leads by 3-seconds to Fabio Aru (Astana) and 1.15 to Rodriguez. With two rolling stages before Saturday’s last stage in the mountains, chances to distance Dumoulin are growing fewer, but with so much to fight for, there will still be battles for the final podium. While moving to third place on the GC podium, Rodriguez still has ownership of the green points jersey.

 

As the race leader Rodriguez was last from the start house and set out on course with Bodnar the time to beat at 47.05. But Dumoulin, starting eight minutes ahead of Rodriguez, quickly showed he was on a mission to win the stage and take the jersey. At both of the intermediate check points he was well ahead of the challengers and at the finish line he posted the top time of 46.01, averaging more than 50 km/h, a full 64-seconds ahead of Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 68-seconds to a surprisingly strong ride from Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.

 

Only four stages remain in the 2015 Vuelta a España, but with Aru missing only 3 seconds, he certainly will look for chances to attack the red jersey. Rodriguez also has everything to gain and nothing to lose, which should make for exciting racing to close out the tour of Spain. Stage 18 at 204 km begins in Roa, moves over some rolling landscape before a downhill plunge to the finish line in Riaza. An escape artist with everything to gain could use the climb to animate the race and make Dumoulin chase to hold the jersey.

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