La Vuelta (st. 13)
Nelson’s huge effort sees him shining again on the time trial bike on Galician soil, only bested by Barta (CCC) and race leader Roglic (TJV); hard day for Enric Mas, who remains 5th yet sits now more than two minutes off third place.
/ Today’s route
The final outcome of La Vuelta was expected to get quite defined in Galicia. The race’s only time trial this year was a 33.7km course from Muros to the top of the brutal Mirador de Ézaro, 1.8km at nearly 15%, which required a bike change that Unipublic made possible at a specific area at the bottom of the climb.
/ Weather report
A block headwind (around 30kph from the northeast) was another hardening factor for a TT held on dry roads, despite the eve’s showers, and a constant 12ºC.
/ Keys to the race
- The Movistar Team’s first big moment in this TT came from Nelson Oliveira. The Portuguese specialist rounded off a brilliant performance in La Vuelta so far by clocking the best provisional time at both the intermediate checks and the finish, first man quicker than 47 minutes and a good 48″ ahead of another world-class time trialist: French champion Rémi Cavagna (DQT). His time was only beaten by Will Barta (CCC) and kept close by the main GC contenders.
- After the Portuguese rider finished the two Movistar Team riders still involved in the fight for the GC: Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas. The veteran from Murcia kept his consistency of results over the whole race to finish at around 49′ and conserve his eighth spot overall, while the youngster from Mallorca, who clocked a time of 48’22”, was 16th and concede just over a minute and a half on the day’s winner. Marc Soler, in turn, completed a fine effort to take 12th place.
- The chance of a GC podium thus got slimmer for Mas, who remains in fifth spot overall yet now sits 3’23” behind Roglic, back in the lead with 39″ over Carapaz (IGD, 2nd); 47″ on Carthy (EF1, 3rd); and 1’42” over Martin (ISN, 4th).
Enric Mas: “Today’s performance has been a disaster. I didn’t find any pace, I didn’t keep my position over the TT bike – that’s cycling, you’ve got good days and bad days. It hasn’t been the best stage for me, but it has still been a great lesson, a day I’ll surely help me over the next few years. Currently I’m only thinking about resting up, and starting tomorrow, we’ll try to find the right strategy for this final week, see how we can make things work and hopefully still have a shot at the podium.”
/ Upcoming goals
It will be another demanding test on Wednesday, still in Galicia, during stage 14 of La Vuelta, a long race (205km) with a hilly finish in Ourense. Three Cat-3 climbs will be featured in the second half of a route with not many flat roads – more abundante, though, at the final circuit, which includes the Alto de Abelaira with 22km left to race.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport