Vuelta a España (st. 12)
Gutiérrez, Erviti crash with no relevant consequences as Gilbert (BMC) opens his victory account in the rainbow jersey in Tarragona. Valverde stays in 3rd overall in the Vuelta
The 2013 Vuelta a España had its most calm day to date on Thursday, with 164km between Maella and Tarragona covered under the usual script of a breakaway, a chase and a bunch sprint. World road champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) beat Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) in a difficult finish with roundabouts, several turns and pace changes which made the organisers change the usual ‘security zone’ for bunch sprints to the final 5k. The choice made things more calm to Alejandro Valverde -in the middle of the elite group across the finish- and the Movistar Team, which suffered only two minor incidents during the stage.
A small journey out to the fields by Iván Gutiérrez, with no consequences, and a pile-up catching Imanol Erviti with 50k remaining -the Navarran suffering some bruises in his right leg and a slight blow to his hip- were the only incidents for the telephone squad, protecting well his team leader -Valverde stays in 3rd overall- in the first of two days leading the Spanish grandtour into the Pyrénées. Friday will bring a more complicated scenario as the Rat Penat -just 4.3km at an average 11%- is tackled with 50k from the finish in Castelldefels.