Vuelta a España (st. 13)
Spanish rider from Movistar Team suffers bad luck with two crashes -the last one, 2k from the finish- in the eve of the hard mountainous trio of Ancares (Saturday), Lagos (Sunday) and Cuitunigru (Monday), with Valverde in 4th overall
Dogged by bad luck throughout the entire 2012 season, José Joaquín Rojas found again the worst of luck into the telephone squad during stage 13 in the Vuelta a España, the penultimate one on Galician soil over 172 kilometers between Santiago and Ferrol. The Spaniard, already involved in the pile-up that happened in the approach to the Mirador de Ézaro climb yesterday -which caused him pain in his right knee-, went onto the ground twice on Friday: a first crash in the opening phase of the stage, where he hurt his left wrist, and a second one, even more important, while riding into a charging peloton with 2km to go.
Rojas, in tears at the finish due to his bad fortune, was moved to the Hospital Arquitecto Macide de Ferrol, where he was diagnosed a muscular strain in the vastus internus of his right leg. The rider’s evolution in the next few hours will determine if Rojas is able to continue into the Vuelta a España, the Spanish rider reluctant to withdraw. The brave Movistar Team rider continues with his misfortune this year at grand tours, after a triple collarbone fracture forcing him to abandon the Tour de France on stage three.
Into the bunch -reduced by hectic pace in the final- came Alejandro Valverde came again to save his 4th place in the overall before three of the stages that will decide the final outcome in the Spanish grandtour. With Fuente Dé -next Wednesday, after the second rest day- and the Bola del Mundo -Saturday 8- as last chances, the strongest riders in the GC will test their legs on Saturday at the Puerto de Ancares (Cat. 1), the last of five climbs into a short, yet killing 149km stage fourteen starting at Palas de Rei.
Alejandro Valverde: “We through that the break would settle today and reach the finish with many minutes over the bunch so we had a calm day, but it was the other way around as we went through an infamous stage: all day on full steam, up and down, with head and cross winds, what made us reach the finish with very little energy. The three stages coming up are really important, crucial I’d say. You always come into some doubts to this point of the race, with goosebumps on the stomach like no other day, but seeing how I feel today, with very good legs, nervousness is smaller and I’m more calm. I’ll try to get into the fight in these three days and, why not, searching for new victories.”
NORTHERN TRIO OF MOUNTAINS COMING UP
Stage 14: Palas de Rei – Ancares (149.2km)
Km 34: Alto de Castro (Cat. 3) – 4.7km / 5.9%
Km 71: Alto de Vilaesteva (Cat. 2) – 9.5km / 4.5%
Km 90: Alto de O Lago (Cat. 3) – 8.4km / 4.1%
Km 125: Alto de Folgueiras de Aigas (Cat. 1) – 9.7km / 6.7%
Km 149: Puerto de Ancares / Cruz de la Cespedosa (Cat. 1) – 9.5km / 8.1%
Stage 15: La Robla – Lagos de Covadonga (186.5km)
Km 72: Alto de Santo Emiliano (Cat. 3) – 6.2km / 5%
Km 146: Alto del Mirador del Fito (Cat. 1) – 6.8km / 8.3%
Km 186: Lagos de Covadonga (HC) – 13.5km / 7%
Stage 16: Gijón – Cuitunigru (183.5km)
Km 45: Alto de la Cabruñana (Cat. 3) – 4.4km / 5.7%
Km 101: Puerto de San Lorenzo (Cat. 1) – 10km / 8.5%
Km 141: Alto de la Cobertoria (Cat. 1) – 8km / 8.6%
Km 183: Cuitunigru (HC) – 19.4km / 6.9%