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I hoped I could time trial up it. The problem was the team GC, and when I attacked on the descent ahead of that climb I had a good gap but Movistar straight away brought me back."









11.09.2015 @ 20:27 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Christian Knees rode hard in the stage 19 breakaway at the Vuelta a Espana while Mikel Nieve held on to his top-10 position overall. Knees forced his way into a 24-man move after a fast start out of Medina del Campo and looked to make something happen on a day which always looked likely to suit an escape.


With the best-placed rider over half an hour down, Giant-Alpecin pronounced themselves happy with the situation and sat up, allowing the gap to spin out to 13 minutes to leader Tom Dumoulin.


Knees attacked ahead of the final climb but the fight for the team classification saw him closely marked on the run for home. In the end Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was able to slip clear a take an impressive victory. Knees crossed the line ninth in Avila, finishing in a group 1:17 back.


Mikel Nieve was able to retain his ninth place overall despite more attacks among the GC contenders on the final climb of the Alto la Paramera. With Ian Boswell in the group for support late on, Nieve finished well to sit 4:19 back heading into the final weekend.


Dumoulin and nearest rival Fabio Aru (Astana) overcame a crash and went toe to toe at the finish, with Dumoulin capturing a further three seconds on the cobbled run-in, extending his lead to just six seconds with two days to go.


Team Sky’s website caught up with Knees following a hard day in the break and the German talked us through the move and how it played out.


He told "The whole Vuelta up until now has been hard, but especially the last couple of days. We've been trying to hold onto the team GC which has meant having to count the Movistar riders trying to get into the break.


"Yesterday unfortunately we had to give away the lead. Today the break went quite early. The last few days there has been plenty of fighting to get in there. I just followed the moves and a break went of 24 riders.


"Looking at the guys who were in there, my plan was to go early and before the last long climb as there were several good climbers in there. I hoped I could time trial up it. The problem was the team GC, and when I attacked on the descent ahead of that climb I had a good gap but Movistar straight away brought me back.


"(Tiago) Machado went and no one really seemed to mind about that move - so it was quite unlucky in that sense. On the final climb there were attacks and I just couldn't follow all of them. At some point of course you feel your legs. I rode my own pace up there and was able to catch riders one by one. Then I attacked at the top of the climb and went with one Movistar guy on my wheel. I was hoping some of the guys would slow up or start looking at each other but that didn't happen. In the end I pulled a ninth place for the team but I was happy to be able to give it a go."



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