Vuelta a España (st. 5)
Andrey joins 25-rider escape taking Molard (GFC) up to GC lead, as Clarke (EFD) wins three-man sprint in Roquetas de Mar. Valverde, Quintana still within overall top-ten.
Celebrating his 32nd birthday on Wednesday, and just 48 hours after his contract extension with the Movistar Team, Andrey Amador again showed his magnificent commitment in every race he takes part in with the Blues with a long break on stage five of the Vuelta a España, 188km from Granada to Roquetas de Mar. Raced under hot conditions and with amazing speeds, the long fight for the winning escape made the peloton arrive to the coastal town in Almería almost three quarters of an hour ahead of schedule.
Amador was part of a 25-man move which didn’t settle after it sticked, 55km into the stage -few minutes after the first hour of racing was complete-, riders continuing to launch one attack after another at the front. Andrey himself went on the move, 50km from the end, seeking to bridge to what eventually became the winning trio: Simon Clarke (EFD, 1st), Bauke Mollema (TFS, 2nd) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC, 3rd). As the Costa Rican was caught and the pace again picked up at the decisive climb to El Marchal (Cat-2), Amador was forced to just fight to keep up with a second pursuit group. Andrey eventually took 11th, 2′ behind the three, while Rudy Molard (GFC), part of the first echelon behind them, became the new race leader.
It was otherwise a day with no incidents for Alejandro Valverde -now 5th in the GC, plus new Combined classification leader- and Nairo Quintana (9th) in the eve of the race’s visit to Bala’s home region Murcia, with a chance of gusty winds in the run-in towards San Javier (155km).
Andrey Amador: “It was a very demanding day, one when you know the breakaway is going to make it to the end, with a huge fight to make the right move. There were lots of moves from the start and everyone in the team had clear in mind that one from the team had to join those crowded moves. We also wanted the race to go fast today and be represented in such a break, but with everything I had to do to join the move, I was so tired already after we were let go. As the three went, there was some point when the gap was so big we were basically losing the stage, and I tried to attack to reduce that gap a bit and help others continue the chase, but it wasn’t possible to gain time back. It’s sad I couldn’t be up there in real contention. Still, I’m feeling great, similar to the legs I found in the Tour. I’d like to lose a big of weight in the upcoming days; I don’t know if I’m a bit ‘swollen’ because of the heat or other reasons, but I’m still not finding myself where I really want to be. Let’s hope we can improve that during the race. Our leaders remain in one piece and well positioned – and the key to this race will be staying in perfect condition before that final week. I’m hopeful I can be of help again.”
Alejandro Valverde: “It was a really hard stage: 3,000 meters of elevation gain, scorching hot conditions – and a truly demanding start. We were able to ride a bit easier in the finale, but before that, the pace was incredible. I don’t think the race should change much with Molard leading – it was just about Sky wanting to give the jersey away, because it’s great responsibility and work at the front of the bunch every day. I think they did perfectly today, keeping control for the entire stage but not really pushing to bring them back. I’m still feeling good, really eager to get to my home region Murcia tomorrow. There could be some crosswinds in the finale, but tomorrow’s stage shouldn’t be as hard as today’s.”
Nairo Quintana: “It was a grueling stage, with a very aggressive start. We got Andrey at the front to avoid any danger in the finale, and we stayed focused in the peloton should have anything happened. Andrey is showing great condition, here in the Vuelta as during the rest of the season. He’s doing an excellent job, and we hope to have him continue to do well in the remainder of the Vuelta.”
- 01 Simon Clarke EF - Drapac 4h36'07"
- 02 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo "
- 03 Alessandro De Marchi BMC Racing Team "
- 11 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +2'00"
- 26 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +4'55"
- 28 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team "
- 32 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team "
- 35 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team "
- 42 Winner Anacona Movistar Team "
- 119 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +11'11"
- 133 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +17'24"
- 01 Rudy Molard Groupama-FDJ 18h27'40"
- 02 Michal Kwiatkowski Team Sky +41"
- 03 Emanuel Buchmann Bora-Hansgrohe +48"
- 05 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +53"
- 09 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team +1'14"
- 29 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team +3'59"
- 46 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +8'51"
- 76 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +18'01"
- 80 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +18'52"
- 126 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +35'51"
- 135 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +40'22"