Vuelta (st. 7) / Poitou-Charentes (finale)
Valverde, Quintana remain 5th, 7th overall in Vuelta a España after great effort by Movistar Team in Capileira; Lindeman (TLJ) wins through long break.Malori, Castroviejo confirm podium finishes in Poitou-Charentes
The first real mountain climb in the 2015 Vuelta a España responded to a story usually seen in modern Grand Tours: a winning break -crowned by Dutchman Bert-Jan Lindeman (TLJ9 into a five-man escape formed after few kilometers in- and plenty of looks between the main GC contenders on stage seven, 191km between Jódar and Capileira (Cat-1), where intense heat and hard work from the Movistar Team caught some of the favourites unprepared.
The pace by Sutherland, Ventoso and Erviti until the foot of the ascent, plus good work from Rojas, Amador and a remarkable Moreno and Visconti into the hardest slopes, progressively reduced the main bunch until a mere 20 riders starting the final kilometer together. There, an attack by Fabio Aru (AST) -who finished 7" ahead of the rest of favourites- and successive accelerations from Majka (TCS) and Nairo Quintana dropped back Moreno (KAT), Landa (AST) or even Chris Froome (SKY), 27" down on the main group containing Valverde (7th) and Quintana (8th). The duo now sits in fifth and seventh overall, with Esteban Chaves (OGE) still in red.
Saturday will see both Valverde and Rojas smiling alongside their Murcia people on stage eight, 182km from La Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia, over roads steadily descending towards sea level and an intense finish over two climbs of the Cresta del Gallo (Cat-3).
Nairo Quintana: “We put some considerable time on Froome, though there's still much left to race. It could have happened to anyone, even myself, with such intense heat, and more than a physical thing, I think Froome's loss was caused by that. It was a really difficult day with those temperatures. Anyway, as Aru put some seconds on us, we can say we were hunting and hunted at the same time. We're still in the mix, not losing much time, and we hope to change a bit our strategy to improve this result, profiting from our two chances to put some time over the rivals. At the moment, pretty much everyone is riding around our team."
Alejandro Valverde: "I didn't see Froome neither doing well nor bad, basically because I didn't see him during the whole stage; we were always riding on the front. It's good to put some seconds on him, but the Vuelta is still to start, really. The first huge climb is always demanding and the heat we suffered today added an impact to that. Fortunately, we responded well and as well Nairo as myself are on a good place. We still have two chances to win and we will try to take advantage of that in the upcoming stages."
Poitou-Charentes: Triple podium finish; Castroviejo takes 10th in last sprint
In turn, Poitiers held the finale of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes in France, which, contrary to previous years, didn't see a Movistar Team winner, despite two of the Blues, Adriano Malori (2nd) and Jonathan Castroviejo (3rd), finishing on the GC podium behind German Tony Martin (EQS). A team-mate of the latter, Italian Matteo Trentin, took the win into a sprint of a stronger field than in other occassions, as Castroviejo and Sütterlin claimed 10th and 12th. The Movistar riders, dominators of yesterday's ITT in Loudun, also won the teams' classification.