Brilliant ride by the Catalan with lots of attacks, last man to stay behind Contador's (TFS) wheel in L'Angliru; Ecuadorian takes 11th place at finish, superb within the top favourites at the end of his first Grand Tour
Until the very last day of pure competition in the 2017 Vuelta a España, the young riders from the Movistar Team showed their courage and determination even in the hard conditions of stage 20, over 117km and through the climbs of La Cobertoria (Cat-1), the Cordal (Cat-1) and the legendary Alto de L'Angliru. Marc Soler was the most active rider at the front early into the day's break, a group of twenty riders also containing Nelson Oliveira and selected by the huge pace into the climbs, with several attacks from Marc himself.
Soler, who started off the Cordal into a three-man group with Marczynski (LTS) and Andersen (SUN), and even reached the summit solo with a handful of seconds, saw his lead abruptly ruined as he crashed into a wet turn right during the dangerous descent of the penultimate climb. The incident did not cause him any injuries, and he got back on his bike quickly to rejoin the leading group. An attack by Pantano, Contador (TFS) and Enric Mas (QST) from the main bunch into the downhill even allowed Marc, who was half a minute behind Marczynski at the least steep parts of L'Angliru, to reach the Polish rider back and remain at the front at the start of the hardest slopes, together with Contador and Mas.
Marc managed to keep Contador's pace at the first stretch of the 'Hell', the infamous last 6km, but soon cracked and ended up caught by the GC group. A brilliant Richard Carapaz was staying with the top contenders and was able to follow Froome's (SKY) speeds until the famous section of La Cueña les Cabres, just over 2km from the end. The youngster from Ecuador took 11th place at the finish, 1'46" behind Contador, with Soler in 18th (+3'56") and Rojas in 25th, 6'29" down.
The Movistar Team will spend their Saturday night and Sunday morning travelling down to the Madrid capital territory -a long road trip for the staff, a more pleasant flight for riders and DSs- before covering Sunday's homage ride (117km) from Arroyomolinos to the city's Cibeles square. The telephone squad came today just over six minutes short to winning the team GC for the tenth time in their history.
Tour of Britain: Gorka Izagirre 1km short to contest win at Queen stage
At their second event of the day, the hardest stage of the 2017 Tour of Britain -185km from Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham-, the Movistar Team completed a nice performance, with riders all over the numerous splits which tried to avoid yet another bunch sprint (the sixth in as many road stages this year), won by Dylan Groenewegen (TLJ).
As well as Alex Dowsett, part of a dangerous move including Kwiatkowski (SKY) and Martin (KAT) with 50km to go, and Jonathan Castroviejo, off the front at the slopes of the decisive Creeve Hill, Gorka Izagirre forged a three-man attempt with Boasson Hagen (DDD) and Smith (WGG) which got to just 1.3km from the finish and a potential stage win. Daniele Bennati ended up as Blues' best in 6th place, his best result at this year's race, in the eve of Sunday's closing towards Cardiff -180km, final city circuit-.
Rory Sutherland was a DNS on Saturday due to a injury to his ribs into a crash on Wednesday, its effects worsening day by day till the Australian had to call it a race.
Rory Sutherland no tomó la salida este sábado a causa de una lesión en las costillas derivada de una caída sufrida durante la jornada del miércoles, cuyas molestias se vieron acrecentadas con el paso de los días.