Vuelta (st. 16) / Tour of Britain (st. 2)
Quintana remains 8th in Vuelta a España as Valverde struggles in slopes of Ermita de Alba to concede 1’30”, now 9th overall
A finale of almost unbearable ramps, the hellish Ermita de Alba in Quirós -after 185km with six other categorized ascents from the very start in Luarca-, reduced gaps to a one-to-one without any attacks on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España, which Schleck (TFR) se llevó el triunfo después de que la fuga del día alcanzase hasta 22’ sobre el pelotón, donde Movistar Team se defendió con todas sus fuerzas.
Nairo Quintana, well protected before the last climb, finished 12th in the stage, fourth within the favourites after a late surge from Rodríguez (KAT) awarded him the race leadership with just 1” over Aru (AST). In turn, Alejandro Valverde struggled as in previous days to the wear and tear of a long season for him, but constance and will to perform at his best kept him inside the GC top-ten: he stays in 9th spot -Nairo is now 8th-, less than 4’ away from the lead. The Movistar Team has also closed in on Sky, now 2nd at 2'30" in the teams' classification.
La Vuelta now goes down to the outskirts of Burgos for the final rest day, before the 40km ITT on Wednesday that will most probably set things straight in the GC.
Tour of Britain: Bitter 2nd place for Lobato in Colne
Just seven seconds kept Juanjo Lobato away from a convincing victory on stage two of the Tour of Britain, over 157km in a loop around Lancashire, from Clitheroe to Colne, which saw big protagonism from Movistar Team. A brief attack from Alex Dowsett, together with Williams (ONE), and most notably Fernández’s move after the Bleara Moor hill, 45km from the finish, lightened up the race as one of Rubén’s seven fellow escapees, Petr Vakoc (EQS), held on to the win and the leader’s jersey.
Behind, Lobato -the new Points jersey leader- clearly dominated the bunch kick, with Gorka Izagirre (9th), Fernández, Antón and Intxausti also present. Tuesday will bring a marathon stage -216km- from Cockermouth to Kelso, with lots of climbing and the Cat-2 Dingleton ascent just 25 kilometers before the line.