Pedrero (13th) and Rojas (15th) -a race-leading sixth time in the break- give Movistar Team presence at Vuelta's stage 19 break in Gijón, where De Gendt (LTS) succeeds. L'Angliru showdown tomorrow
Despite originally missing out on the 19-man group that led the way early, the Movistar Team fought to bounce back and get into the fight for success on day 19 of the Vuelta a España, a 150km route on Asturian soil from Caso to Gijón. José Joaquín Rojas and Antonio Pedrero created a 9-man counter that fought its way back to the front, up and down the Alto de la Colladona (Cat-1), bridging back as the bunch rode more than 18 minutes behind.
The efforts by the two Spaniards to make it back prevented him from saving any energy that could help them contest victory into a world-class field, Belgian Thomas de Gendt (LTS) claiming the honours into a nine-man selection forged at the Alto de San Martín de Huerces (Cat-3). Both Antonio (13th, 49" behind) and José Joaquín (15th, 2'50" down) were sadly left out of that group.
Rojas, into the break for the sixth time in this year's Vuelta -the rider with most appearances at the front, tied with Villella (CDT) and De Marchi (BMC)- and a big candidate for the Most Courageous rider's prize at the end of the race in Madrid, will fight together with his team-mates one last time for a coveted stage victory into a hellish stage 20: 118km starting at Corvera and heading into three infamous climbs with La Cobertoria (Cat-1), the Cordal (Cat-1) and the legendary Alto de L'Angliru (HC; 12.5km at 9,8% average, 23.5% maximum slope).
José Joaquín Rojas: "I'm always willing to keep trying, even more so if stages like today's don't start in the best of possible ways. The 19-man break went away in the beginning without any of us. However, as we've proven during the whole Vuelta, we're a courageous group who never lets itself being taken down, and we forced a counter-attack to bridge back. We reached that move down with almost no energy left, so it was more difficult in the finale. We've tried it every single day, but we might have lacked that bit of good luck to win. However, the most important thing for me I'd like to underline for everyone is the strength of this whole group, the courage of the young lads that came to this Vuelta. They deserve everything good. The 'Super Combative' prize in Madrid? I think I would deserve it if I get it, there are some reasons why I should win it: six breaks, always being up there with the stage contenders or close to them… Don't doubt that I'll be again into the escape tomorrow if there's energy left in my legs. We came to this Vuelta to fight, and we've got another day tomorrow to prove it."
Tour of Britain: Late move by Dowsett in rainy stage six
Alex Dowsett sought, in turn, to give the Movistar Team some presence at the front during stage six of the Tour of Britain -187km from Newmarket to Aldeburgh-, covered under cold and rain and finishing with yet another bunch sprint, won by Caleb Ewan (ORS). The Briton, 9th on his home Essex at Thursday's TT, went for one of his trademark, late attacks with 3km from the finish to try and catch the bunch off-balance. However, the speed by Sky and Orica did not allow Alex going any further than a few seconds. The squad directed by José Luis Arrieta -affected by a 8" split into the bunch at the finish- will have plenty of terrain to seek for a good result on Saturday, the route to Cheltenham (185km) featuring lots of hills including the Bourton (Cat-2) and Creve (Cat-2) ascents in the finale.
GP Québec: Jasha, Winner on the attack in Canadá
Tighter than ever was the 8th edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (201km), the first of two WorldTour events in Canada this weekend, as Peter Sagan (BOH) took his second sprint win in the race ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Michael Matthews (SUN). No less than fifty riders reached the final slope of the Grande-Allée together despite the attacks into the final lap by two of the Movistar Team's riders, Jasha Sütterlin and Winner Anacona. It was Jasha himself (19th) who brought the Blues their best result at the sprint, with Jesús Herrada (20th) and Carlos Barbero (30th) also near the top contenders. A more negative note to the day, though, came halfway through the course as Héctor Carretero suffered a crash and sustained bruises to his right leg's thigh, fortunately with no other major injuries.
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport