Vuelta a España (st. 6) / Tour du Poitou-Charentes (day 3)
Movistar Team spends precious energy seeking for Alejandro Valverde's win in Luintra as Simon Yates (OBE) takes final attack to fruition; Dani Moreno takes 6th. At Poitou-Charentes, Oliveira finishes 3rd in decisive TT
Sacrifice without benefit. The Movistar Team spent the final third of the demanding stage six in La Vuelta -160km from Monforte de Lemos to Luintra, with a fast opening hour, temperatures peaking up to 35ºC and plenty of climbing in the last 80k- pushing hard in search for a stage win with Alejandro Valverde. However, a marvellous Simon Yates (OBE) timed his efforts perfectly into the last ascent, Pombar -not rated-, and make the final try by Dani Moreno fruitless, the Madrilian having to content himself with 6th at 21" from the Briton.
Erviti, Sutherland, Herrada, Castroviejo, Fernández and a sensational José Joaquín Rojas relentlessly pursued solo leader Omar Fraile (DDD) and subsequent lone attacker Matthias Frank (IAM), who reached the last climb with 40" at the 6km-to-go banner. As Dani Moreno started the Blues' decisive effort, the race situation suggested him to go on his own, so other teams would feel forced to take the lead of an eventual pursuit.
Yates' action, though, left 'Bala', without a win today -8th, at 29"-, yet the Spanish superstar remains 2nd overall -28” behind Atapuma (BMC)- as Nairo Quintana conserves his 4th place (+38”). La Vuelta will leave Galicia on Friday, heading towards Puebla de Sanabria in Zamora (159km), before the mountains come back in full force on Saturday with the grueling La Camperona ascent in León.
Alejandro Valverde: “Eventually we couldn't win, even if we tried so hard. We took so much time pushing and at the end, the two of us, Nairo and myself, were a bit along, something logical when you put so much on the table. The plan was obviously contesting the stage with me, but once I saw Dani was pushing alone into the penultimate climb, 5km from the finish, I told him to attack and go after Frank and try to win the stage himself. Having only him to take command of the group until the end – it just wasn't feasible, they would kill us with attacks. Yates, unfortunately, was stronger. It was a hard one. Nairo? He's here to do what he's thought to do, we couldn't put him to work there. I had a good chance today, but… All in all, the team has shown again to be doing well, we got through another day in good overall position, and that's what will count at the end”.
Poitou-Charentes: Chavanel dominates; Oliveira (3rd) to fight for GC podium tomorrow
It was also a close call for the Movistar Team at their second front of the day, the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, whose decisive 23km individual time trial was covered this afternoon as final sector of a packed 3rd day of racing in Châtellerault. Local hero Sylvain Chavanel (DEN) completed a sensational effort, closing in on 52kph average, to beat Wilco Kelderman (TLJ) and Nelson Oliveira by 30 seconds. The Portuguese specialists completed another remarkable performance in a day when three other Movistar Team members finished with the top 15 -Dowsett, Moreno and Arcas-. The French event ends Friday with a difficult circuit in Poitiers (171km), where Oliveira will try to conserve his third spot overall.
Picture ©: Photo Gomez Sport / Luis Ángel Gómez