Bradley Wiggins has taken over the leader's jersey at the Vuelta a Espana from Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, who drops to second after being unable to stay with an attack initiated by Garmin-Cervelo's Dan Martin 3 kilometres from the end of today's Stage 11 in Galicia.
The man who separated the pair in the overall standings this morning, Jakob Fuglsang of Leopard Trek, also lost time to Wiggins today and now lies fifth. The stage itself was won by David Moncoutié of Cofidis, King of the Mountains in the last three editions of the Vuelta a Espana, who soloed his way to victory as he chases a fourth successive title. Benat Intxausti of Movistar was second, with Rabobank's Luis Leon Sanchez third.
The French rider had responded to an attack from fellow breakaway rider Sergio Paulinho of RadioShack a third of the way into the 19-kilometre ascent to the summit finish at the Alto de Manzaneda ski station, included in the Vuelta for the first time, and soon found himself alone as the Portuguese rider dropped back.
The pair had been involved in a big group of riders, at one point swelling to 19 men, that had got away early on in today’s 167-kilometre stage from Verin. The break included Moncoutié’s mountain classification rival Matteo Montaguti of AG2R, who takes over the polka dot jersey from Dan Martin tonight, and Fabio Duarte of Geox-TMC, who was at one point virtual race leader as the break’s lead extended to 8 minutes.
By the time the race was heading up the final climb of the day, any dreams Duarte might have harboured of the red jersey had evaporated, but with around 3 kilometres to go there came a much more immediate threat to Team Sky’s GC ambitions as Rabobank’s Bauke Mollema followed Garmin Cervelo’s Dan Martin on attacking from the GC group.
Chris Froome, who had begun the day in the race leader’s jersey buton the final climb appeared to be taking on the role of domestique to Wiggins, was unable to respond, but his team leader went off in pursuit of the the Dutch and Irish riders, which is bound to provoke debate about whether or not he should have held back to help Froome, who after all was in the race leader's jersey.
Although the exact halfway point of this year’s 3,300 kilometre parcours won’t arrive until early on in tomorrow’s Stage 12 from Ponteareas to Pontevedra, yesterday’s rest day in effect marked the halfway point of this year’s Vuelta with hot, dry south and centre of the country now behind the riders.
The final day’s procession into Madrid apart, the rest of the race will now unfold in the cooler, and often dampthe mountains, however, continue to figure, including the Angliru which lies in wait on Sunday's stage.
HTC-Highroad, which lost Matt Goss and Mark Cavendish early on in the race, saw its squad further depleted today in what will be its final Grand Tour, with Kanstantsin Sivstov abandoning. Peter Velits was also reported to have pulled out towards the end of the stage, but appeared in the official results so presumably finished.
Despite the rest day, once again pre-race favourite Igor Anton, the Euskaltely-Euskadi rider who crashed out of last year’s Vuelta while in the leader’s jersey, endured another dismal day, losing touch with the main GC group on the final climb once again.
Vuelta Stage 11 Result 1 David Moncoutié Cofidis 4:38:00 2 Beñat Intxausti Movistar +1:18 3 Luis León Sánchez Rabobank +1:18 4 Mathias Frank BMC Racing +1:36 5 Sérgio Paulinho RadioShack +1:43 6 Matteo Montaguti AG2R +2:29 7 Amets Txurruka Euskaltel +2:29 8 Aitor Pérez Lampre-ISD +2:55 9 Joaquim Rodríguez Katusha +3:01 10 David Bernabéu Andalucia +3:08 11 Sergey Lagutin Vacansoleil-DCM +3:08 12 Wout Poels Vacansoleil-DCM +3:08 13 Bradley Wiggins Team Sky +3:08 14 Juan José Cobo Geox-TMC +3:08 15 Sergio Pardilla Movistar +3:08 16 Bauke Mollema Rabobank +3:08 17 Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale +3:08 18 Fredrik Kessiakoff Astana +3:08 19 Daniel Moreno Katusha +3:08 Vuelta Overall Standings after Stage 11 1 Bradley Wiggins Team Sky 42:50:41 2 Chris Froome Team Sky +7 3 Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale +11 4 Fredrik Kessiakoff Astana +14 5 Jakob Fuglsang Leopard Trek +19 6 Bauke Mollema Rabobank +47 7 Maxime Monfort Leopard Treak +1:06 8 Juan José Cobo Geox-TMC +1:27 9 Haimar Zubeldia RadioShack +1:53 10 Janez Brajkovic RadioShack +2:00
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.