Vuelta a España (st. 13)
Movistar Team suffers its worst day of the 2013 Vuelta with the abandon of Lastras with a triple fracture and the crash of Intxausti while contesting the stage win in a successful ten-man break.
It was the most unfortunate day for the Movistar Team on stage 13 of the Vuelta a España, a 169km trek from Valls to Castelldefels which saw Warren Barguil (ARG) taking a late attack into fruition after an initial, 18-man breakaway including Beñat Intxausti. The Basque rider from the telephone squad was able to make the ten-rider selection at the demanding Rat Penat (Cat-1), 50k from the finish, but wasn’t able to contest the finish after a crash with 6k remaining. Intxausti fell down when passing through a short tunnel, and despite a quick reaction, the Amorebieta rider was left out of contention.
Even worse was the incident at 12km, when a pile-up at the front of the bunch caught Pablo Lastras. The Movistar Team’s road captain was left at the tarmac with huge pain in his left shoulder. Forced to abandon, the Madrilian was moved to the Hospital Juan XXIII in Tarragona, where further checks revealed fractures in his left side: the collarbone, the scapula and the 2nd rib. Also, Alejandro Valverde suffered a mechanical that forced him to change bikes with Iván Gutiérrez and pedal for more than thirty kilometers with a machine having a very different measure than his. Despite the misfortune, the Murcian always kept the front of the race, helped by Capecchi, Herrada and Szmyd to stay in 3rd position overall, fourty-six seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (AST). The trio of Pyrenean mountains is set to start tomorrow with stage 14 covering 156km from Bagá to the Coll de la Gallina (Cat-1) in Andorra, preceeded by Envalira (HC, 87km), Ordino (Cat-2, 116km) and La Comella (Cat-2, 139km).
Beñat Intxausti: “The day started really bad with that pile-up taking Pablo out of the race – he’s really necessary for this team, and I want to send him all my support. We spent the whole day out of balance. The race was incredibly fast, and I was lucky to get into a big break, with such strong riders. I got through the selection at the Rat Penat and we all ten had good cooperation within ourselves. We knew we were getting to the finish and started planning about our strategy, but then, into a tunnel, I took a turn right into the apex, I lost control and though I could get back on the bike fast, the chain was off, the gear was a bit messed up… and the car was blocked behind at the convoy. The race was really on and my chances were over. It was sad, because even though I wasn’t the fastest nor the strongest, such finishes always give you a chance. We will pass this page and start thinking about tomorrow. We came here with the intention of helping Alejandro out and we’re still there. These three days will start deciding the race and we’ll try to stay as close as possible to him so he can crown it.”
Alejandro Valverde: “We kew it was a day to stay always at the front and everything was fine until Pablo crashed out of the race. It’s really, really sad, because having him by our side is crucial. I rode over a small bump on the road after the incident and broke my rear wheel – Iván Gutiérrez had to give me his bike. It was all so strung out that despite losing so much time changing bikes, I could get into the bunch without losing its sight. That proves how hard we rode today. His bike was too big for me and I had to spend more than 30k in huge pain and discomfort. Even after that, just before the Rat Penat, a spectator hit me on my arm and I suffered a lot during the beginning of the climb. At least we could get through the day the best we could and we’re still into contention, strong and feeling well. Three hard days are coming up now – we hope to recover as much as possible tonight, because these stages will require our maximum. Let’s hope rain stays out in the Pyrenees.”