Britain’s Simon Yates reclaimed overall leadership of La Vuelta with victory on the final climb of stage 14 to Les Praeres.
Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates had seen Jesus Herrada take the red jersey earlier in the week, but the Spaniard’s challenge faded over the closing 30 kilometres of Saturday’s gruelling trek.
Yates made his move with some 700 metres to go, breaking clear with neither Miguel Angel Lopez or Alejandro Valverde able to respond – both finishing two seconds behind the stage winner.
The well-crafted victory sees the Briton move into a 20-second overall lead ahead of Movistar rider Valverde, with Nairo Quintana, who could only manage fifth on the final climb, down in third place five seconds further back.
Earlier in the 171km mountain route from Cistierna to Nava, there had been a six-man breakaway which included Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, with the lead on the peloton up to around three minutes and 43 seconds heading into the final 75km.
Herrada struggled to keep up the place and dropped into a split chasing pack.
Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) made a move heading into the last 4km, but could not sustain the pace before Yates timed his attack to perfection on the steep slopes. Colombian Lopez crossed second, just ahead of Valverde.
Team Sky’s Dylan van Baarle, meanwhile, had been forced to abandon the race ahead of Saturday’s start after suffering a groin injury in a crash following the finish of stage 12, when he had placed second.
Sunday will see another mountain stage over 185.5km from Ribera de Arriba to the Lakes of Covadonga.
The UAE cycling season officially launched on Friday as over 400 cyclists took part in the first build-up ride of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge at Al Qudra Cycle Path.
The popular cycle event consists of four build-up rides which increase in distance each time to get cyclists prepared for the biggest challenge of the season – the 92km event on Friday, December 14.
Launched nine years ago, the event has continued to grow with over 2,000 cyclists from all over the world entering the 92km event and many cyclists taking part in the UCI Gran Fondo category to try to qualify for the exciting UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
For the younger riders, the Spinneys Dubai 92 Junior Rides are back; the timed 2.5km, 15km and 30km rides are designed for 6 to 15-year-olds held at the Dubai Autodrome on Thursday, 13 December.
This is a great opportunity for younger ones to be part of the largest amateur cycling challenge and support the legacy of cycling in the UAE.
For all cyclists who wish to register for the second build-up ride on Friday, October 5, but do not have a bike there’s a bike and helmet rental option in the registration process.
To register or to find out more information on any of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge events, visit www.cyclechallenge.ae or www.hopasports.com.
It was Edward Ravasi’s turn to show his attacking prowess on Friday’s stage at Vuelta a Espana, with the Italian securing a ninth place finish following another exciting day at the saddle.
The youngster – who has agreed a new deal that keeps him in UAE Team Emirates colours for another two years – played his cards early and went with a large breakaway of 32 riders and stuck with the group for the majority of the race.
With just 2.5km to go and the agonising summit finish, big attacks came from the breakaway group, with Ravasi holding his nerve to secure the Emirati team’s second consecutive top 10 finish.
It was a tough day for all riders, with steep hills and two categorised climbs to deal with, on what was a mostly uphill course from the off. The summit finish saw a handful of riders attempt to pull away, but it was the Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi – Murias) who crossed the line first to take home an extraordinary stage win.
Commenting on the race, Ravasi said: “I would like to thank the team for the opportunity. I would have liked to have achieved a top five result, but top 10 is a good result considering the climbers in the group.
“It was not easy in the break and it was very difficult to manage the approach to the climb because some teams were represented by more than one rider. It was necessary to close the gap, this cost a lot of energy.”
UAE Team Emirates’ Fabio Aru continues his pursuit of a top 10 General Classification (GC) finish and now sits 17th in the overall standings.
It will be another day amidst the mountains tomorrow with riders facing a 171km route from Cistierna to Les Praeres de Nava.
With a short but steep hill coming at 3km, the breakaway could choose to make their move early, ahead of the category two climb that features at 50km.
Once the peloton reach the summit, it’s a long downhill stretch for over 20km before tackling two category one and a category three climb.
The final 4km will be played out on a steep, 12.5-per-cent incline and the winner will have to have conserved some energy to tackle the summit which has never appeared at the Vuelta.
STAGE 13 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS