Spaniard takes 2nd in Córdoba, where he opened his GT stage account in the 2002 Vuelta, after an unequal fight against four Liquigas riders as part of a late attack with 4k remaining
Movistar Team again in a leading role, Pablo Lastras again as main character. The Spaniard from the telephone squad was a step behind repeating, nine years later, his first win in the Vuelta a España. Back in 2002, into an identical finish, Lastras opened in Córdoba his palmares in the Spanish grandtour; today, only the Slovakian cannibal Sagan (LIQ) could avoid Lastras notching a second stage win in this year’s Vuelta in one of the routes he had marked with an X beforehand. The climb through a diferent side to the one of San Jerónimo (Cat. 2), 20k from the finish, cleared up the main group -with Bruseghin and Pardilla always into the GC group- and left the outcome of the race opened until the tricky descent to Córdoba.
Lastras tried it another time with 12k from the finish, but his attack was aborted by a Liquigas squad which saw Lastras as their main rival for the stage victory. An intuition Lastras ratified shortly later when, with 4k remaining, he became the only rider to follow the Italian squad’s train: Sagan, Nibali, Capecchi and Angoli. Despite the figure inferiority, Lastras contested the win until the very last meter and came in 2nd place across the finish, a step behind glory but well happy after complying with his labour. GC-wise, Movistar Team’s hopes for the overall, Bruseghin and Pardilla, are still in 9th and 10th with just under a minute behind leader Chavanel (QST).
Pablo Lastras: “I’m into a special romance with Córdoba. I won here my first stage in the Vuelta, the 2008 Vuelta a Andalucía where I took overall also ended here and I had clear in mind where I should move: in the finale. Summiting on front and taking risks on the downhill. I don’t have much fear on the bike; big respect instead, but nevertheless I was scared today. The Liquigas were descnding really fast, but safe; I’m convinced they came here to recon the downhill. I knew I was into inferiority there, but at some point i had to take the turns because they left gaps and they could have got someone alone on front. I tried it until the end and it’s not bad to come in 2nd in this situation. Sagan is a rider touched by a magic wand, but I had to pay attention to all four because anyone could win. I tried to surprise them through the most difficult side, but I couldn’t. It was a pity, because I had in mind to win here and offer the flowers to Chente García Acosta. He was one of my role models in cycling and represented a serious loss for the team in this race.”
Chente to be moved to Pamplona
While his teammates are still on course, Chente García Acosta is still into the Neurotraumatological Hospital in Jaén, where he’s still staying after the serious crash forcing him to leave the Vuelta a España for the first time in fifteen participations. The Spanish rider had a difficult night -he barely slept an hour- due to total immobilization affecting his rib fracture, but shows calm and, if everything goes right into the following hours, he will be moved to Pamplona in order to be operated from his ulna and radius fracture -the vertebra is still to be evaluated by the doctors for the upcoming days-.
Good performance in Poitou-Charentes
In turn, the other Movistar Team block into competition was completing today the key day in the Tour de Poitou-Charentes on French turf, with two sectores including a 104k morning road stage and a 20k individual time trial in the evening. In the first one, José Joaquín Rojas, after his second place yesterday, fought again for the win but had to content with a fifth place behind Anthony Ravard (ALM). At the ITT, won by new leader Sergent (RSH), the telephone squad performed well overall, with Rojas 14th, Plza 19th, Herrada 21st and Rui Costa 24th. Before Friday’s final stage, Rojas is the best rider overall from Yvon Ledanois’s group.