Movistar Team are keeping their winning options untouched in the 26th Vuelta a Castilla y León, after the Queen stage was covered on Friday, with its finish on top of the Cat. 1 Alto de Laguna de los Peces.
The telephone squad’s main option for the race, Xavi Tondo, has jumped into the 2nd spot overall after taking 5th place across the finishing line, where Italy’s Filippo Savini (COG) surprised the main favourites with an attack at the 2km mark, allowing him coming home with 6 seconds over Mollema and Pozzovivo and nine over Igor Antón and Tondo. The punctures made a crucial impact into the final result, with main favourite Alberto Contador and Xavi Tondo himself getting dropped in the Alto del Peñón, a demanding Cat. 1 climb preceeding the final ascent. Both would get into the main field in the descent between the two cols, but another mechanical left Contador with no chances for the GC, and thus opened the way for other candidates to contest it in tomorrow’s decisive ITT in Zamora.
It will be an 11km effort where the new race leader Mollema (RAB) will be taking off from the starting ramp with only 3 seconds over Xavi Tondo, who sets Movistar Team into the first row of the grid -Pardilla is also into the top-ten- in order to claim the final victory after his brilliant performance in the recentVuelta al País Vasco. “It was a really hard day,” Tondo explained, “because he went through nearly everything: wind, echelons, crashes, punctures… There was too much fear towards Contador because we know what he’s made of. It was a pity he had that flat tire, because it’s always nice to battle with the same weapons. At the end, Savini made a strong attacked and surprised us. I was caught with one kilometer left while riding solo on the break two years ago, and I knew I had to wait for the final flat to search for my chances in the ITT tomorrow. Gaps are really short and there are some strong timetriallists like Coppel, Cioni or Mollema himself, but we’ll try to be there, we’re really willing to do well. Theoretically, I had to be already on vacation at this time, but last week in País Vasco, Eusebio Unzué told me about making it to here and I didn’t hesitate to say yes, because this is one of my favourite races.”