Thursday, June 20, 2024

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 14: Palas de Rei – Puerto de Ancares 149.2 km

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HomeRaceRace ReviewsLa Vuelta a España 2012 - Stage 14: Palas de Rei -...

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) may well be intent on replicating an amazing feat this year, as today he took his third stage, taking the race to the others and exploiting his amazing uphill sprinting abilities by out-kicking Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) at Puerto de Ancares, the first of three consecutive stage summit finishes.

It’s been a while in the Vuelta since anybody won (at least) three stages whilst in the leader’s jersey – in fact we reckon the last time was in 1995 when Team ONCE rider Laurent Jalabert won a total of five stages, four of them whilst in the race lead, on his way to dominating the event by winning overall, leading his squad to the Team Competition, as well as taking the Mountains and Points Classifications too.

Puerto de Ancares
Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez took the race to the others, rode the climbs superbly and out-kicked Alberto Contador to take another stage.

It’s not the outcome that Contador planned. He had clearly wanted to use this stage to launch his attack on the race lead, putting his Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank troops to work much of the day to peg the large 16-man break to a reasonable advantage, limiting it to a maximum gap of three minutes, then with 40K left to race they started riding hard to pull back the cabeza de carrera and thinning out the peloton into a shredding single pace line, “strung out like a ’70s rock star” reckoned Eurosport’s Dave Harmon.

Puerto de Ancares
The Saxo Bank boys were on a good day today and rode perfectly to set up Contador for the stage.

Having a good day in the break had been Aussie stage winner Simon Clark (GreenEDGE), who won top points on three of the five climbs today, to take over from Valverde with a lead of 11 points as the leader in the Mountains Classification.

Into the last climb of Puerto de Ancares, Alberto Losada (Katusha) took off from the front of the disintegrating break, and held off the ‘heads’ well, but it never looked like he was going to see the finish in front.

With 3.3K to go, Contador’s Polish teammate Rafal Majka sprinted to the front of the rapidly-thinning group with his boss on his wheel, kept his best speed up for 10 seconds then swung left out the way, shouting at Contador to “go for it”, but Bert had a comfortable Valverde sitting on his wheel, with Daniel Moreno bringing Rodriguez up to the pair quite easily, as they all eased a little, feeling it was a little too early to show their cards.

Puerto de Ancares
Bert kicks it at 70% effort to see who’s coming with him.

Valverde looked round and saw that Sky were distanced, Sergio Henao leading Rigo Uran and Chris Froome several seconds behind, in a group with Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Andrew Talansky (Garmin), and pushed on again taking Contador with him.

Rodriguez wasn’t panicking though, and rode steadily onto them again, with his teammate Moreno getting across and taking up the pace to keep it more constant and stop the others’ accelerations dropping Rodriguez, as well as to put as much time into Froome as possible. Eighth overall this morning with his eyes on overtaking Nico Roche, Talansky got away from the Froome group and dug hard, making contact within sight of the 2K to go banner.

Past the banner Contador attacked hard on the left, staying out the saddle for the best part of 300 metres on the 13% gradient and gapping the rest by 10 seconds, whilst Uran dragged Froome past a slightly fading Talansky and onto Valverde’s wheel.

Surprisingly, Froome didn’t rest up and took off almost straight away in pursuit of Contador in his now-familiar head-bowed elbows-out style, and looked for a moment like he was the strongest, but before he had time to assess the situation, Valverde and Rodriguez had caught him, taking their turn to put in a big attack.

Boom went Froome, his attack using up the last of his sparkle, and as his body language now said ‘I wish I hadn’t attacked there’, he knew he had to just ride in steadily to the finish and minimise his losses which turned out to be only 38 seconds from the stage winner.

There’s a lot of racing still to be done, but it’s looking increasingly likely that these three are your top three.

‘Purito’ Rodriguez dropped Valverde and in less than a minute had charged through the crowd-and-tree-lined single track road, caught Contador and swept passed, looking sublimely calm whilst Contador bared his teeth and looked like he was really hurting.

And yet, in a show of defiance Contador took off again at 500 to go, trying to shake off his compatriot, but Rodriguez took his wheel easily enough, and began his sprint for the line sufficiently early and with the power to put a further five seconds into Contador. “Bye Bye Bertie” said Harmon, but with only 22 seconds separating them and another two huge days in the mountains to come, that’s perhaps a bit premature to call.

Lagos de Covadonga tomorrow, should be good!

We were there the last time the race went up this amazing Asturian climb a couple of years ago – Rodriguez joked around with us that day and tried to hitch a lift, but this year he’ll be tackling the climb in an entirely different frame of mind.

Results - La Vuelta a España 2012 - Stage 14

Stage Result

1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 4:10:28
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:00:05
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:13
4 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:35
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:38
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin – Sharp 0:00:44
7 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:56
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:04
9 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:01:13
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:17
11 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
12 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre – ISD 0:01:26
13 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:01:51
14 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:56
15 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
16 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:19
17 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
18 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
19 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
20 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
21 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural
22 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin – Sharp 0:02:57
23 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan 0:03:10
24 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
25 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:03:19
26 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:03:23
27 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:25
28 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:03:31
29 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:03:38
30 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:03:45
31 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre – ISD 0:03:47
32 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team 0:04:08
33 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:04:23
34 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:04:28
35 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:04:52
36 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:05:34
37 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:05:39
38 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
39 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:46
40 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
41 Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural 0:06:00
42 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:06:37
43 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:07:11
44 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:07:38
45 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team 0:08:41
46 Hernani Broco (Por) Caja Rural 0:08:59
47 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:09:49
48 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
49 Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Nissan
50 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
51 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica – GreenEdge 0:10:48
52 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:11:04
53 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:11:58
54 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
55 Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) Andalucia
56 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
57 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale
58 Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre – ISD
59 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi
60 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
61 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
62 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
63 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
64 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
65 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
66 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos-Shimano
67 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin – Sharp 0:12:18
68 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:12:34
69 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:12:44
70 Sergio Carrasco Garcia (Spa) Andalucia 0:13:18
71 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team 0:14:08
72 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team
73 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:14:58
74 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge
75 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
76 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:15:11
77 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan 0:17:32
78 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
79 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
80 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
81 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
82 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan
83 Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eri) Orica – GreenEdge
84 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
85 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team
86 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team
87 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha Team
88 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
89 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
90 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
91 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
92 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:17:39
93 Laurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan 0:18:37
94 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:19:32
95 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
96 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
97 Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
98 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre – ISD
99 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
100 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team 0:19:57
101 Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Spa) Andalucia 0:22:07
102 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:23:14
103 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin – Sharp 0:24:18
104 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
105 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team
106 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
107 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin – Sharp
108 Bruno Pires (Por) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:24:3