Vuelta a España (st. 14)
4th place finish for Valverde in Cabárceno; Spaniard stays 20″ behind Contador (TCS) before three demanding mountain-top finishes in the Vuelta: La Camperona, Lagos de Covadonga and La Farrapona
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An attack with just over 2km remaining, into the first slopes leading to the Cabárceno natural park, was enough for Spaniard Dani Navarro (COF) to claim the win on stage 13 of the Vuelta a España, starting at Belorado and finishing in the Cantabria region after the climbs of Estacas de Trueba (Cat-3), La Braguía (Cat-3) and Caracol (Cat-2). A flurry of attacks in the demanding last hill ultimately left Navarro at the front, together with Dani Moreno (KAT) and Wilco Kelderman (BEL), as Alejandro Valverde led the way home for the GC contenders.
The Murcia-born rider controlled several of his rivals’ attacks in search for the win into the final sprint, yet had to resign himself to 4th place in the stage. The overall classification stays the same, with Valverde still 20″ behind Contador (TCS) before the first of three tough, mountain-top finishes in the north of Spain: stage fourteen, 201km from Santander to La Camperona (Cat-1) after crossing the Collada de Hoz (Cat-2) and the 21-kilometer-long San Glorio (Cat-1.)
FIGURES ON VUELTA’S THREE UPCOMING MOUNTAIN STAGES
Saturday, September 6 (stage 14): Santander – La Camperona, 200.8km
77.5km: Collada de la Hoz (Cat-2). 7.1km / 6%
130.9km: Puerto de San Glorio (Cat-1). 20.9km / 5.8%
Finish: La Camperona (Cat-1). 8.3km / 7.5%
Sunday, September 7 (stage 15): Oviedo – Lagos de Covadonga, 152.2km
117.2km: Puerto del Torno (Cat-2). 7.2km / 8.2%
Finish: Lagos de Covadonga (HC). 12.2km / 7.2%
Monday, September 8 (stage 16): Samartín del Rei Aurelio (Sotrondio) – La Farrapona, 160.5km
17.6km: Alto de La Colladona (Cat-1). 7.4km / 6.7%
69.4km: Alto del Cordal (Cat-2). 7.6km / 5.5%
86.2km: Alto de la Cobertoria (Cat-1). 10km / 8.8%
127.1km: Puerto de San Lorenzo (Cat-1). 10.1km / 8.5%
Finish: La Farrapona (Cat-1). 16.5km / 6.2%
Alejandro Valverde: “It was another fast stage from the very start. The break took a while to get formed and they weren’t allowed much room in the finale, either – that meant we always rode at the breakaway’s pace, really, really fast. We finished way ahead of schedule and spent a lot of energy. Our team worked in the beginning of the stage because so many people had gone on the break, with two separate groups, and we didn’t have anyone in. Others took responsibility later on. At the end, I really contested the stage, but couldn’t control everything: it was one attack after another… and I had to stick to our own fight between the GC guys.
“These three stages coming up, more than frightening us, they make us excited, since I think my legs are responding well. I hope to feel tomorrow as good as I did today. Any of the three stages can end up being crucial and all three are demanding. We must stay focused and try not to lose one single second, and if it’s possible, to gain them on the others. We might be probably looking to each other when it comes to the GC fight, at least in the beginning, because the main thing for all of us is not losing any terrain. I never climbed to La Camperona; some people compare it to Ézaro and it’s longer than that, but to be harder, it had to contain slopes over 30%, and it’s not so hard though it really is.
“I want to send a big hug from the whole team to the Pinarello family, especially Fausto, after the passing of Giovanni Pinarello. May he rest in peace.”