Vuelta Stage 15: Caja Rural's Antonio Piedra takes biggest career win, Froome's GC hopes suffer another blow

Rodriguez and Valverde manage to respond to Contador attacks as once again it's Froome who struggles

by Simon_MacMichael   September 2, 2012  

Vuelta 2012 S15 Antonio Piedra wins (copyright Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Antonio Piedra of Spanish UCI Pro Continental team Caja Rural this afternoon took the biggest win of his career on one of the Vuelta's signature climbs, the ascent to Lagos de Covadongo. The 26-year-old from Seville attacked from a ten-strong breakaway group on the early part of that 13.5-kilometre climb and rode alone through the big crowds lining the mountainside to win the stage. His closest pursuers, including Ruben Perez of Euskaltel Esuskadi and Lloyd Mondory of AG2R La Mondiale who respectively finished second and third, crossed the line 2 minutes 2 seconds later.

Behind, Alberto Contador of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank again launched a series of attacks to try and break Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha but found it impossible to shake off the race leader or Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, who had team mate Nairo Quintana for company for all but the closing few hundred metres, the three crossing the line together 9 minutes 25 seconds behind the winner.

Team Sky's Chris Froome was dropped after Contador's first attack and looked in real trouble and in danger of losing minutes rather than seconds to his rivals,.

However, with the help of colleagues Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao managed to limit his losses to 35 seconds, also helped by the stop-start nature of the riding ahead of him as Contador's attacks were each followed by a drop in pace as the small group reformed.

Froome slips to fourth overall, however, with the Spanish trio of Rodriguez, Contador and Valverde now occupying the podium places in that order, and of the four it is the British rider who has consistently being looking weakest over the past few days, most likely due to his efforts in July's Tour de France where he finished second to team mate Bradley Wiggins catching up with him.

The ten riders who would hit the foot of that final ascent with an advantage of some 14 minutes over the main group had been part of a larger group that had go away on the first climb of the 186.5km stage from La Robla, the uncategorised Puerto de Pajares.

On the long descent from that climb, the chasing peloton split with Valverde the biggest name in the second group, almost a minute behind his rivals, but a frantic chase saw the Movistar rider’s group rejoin the one ahead of it prior to the second climb, the Category 3 Alto de Santo Emiliano.

Meanwhile, the breakaway group had split as well, leaving ten riders out in front. As the pace eased off behind them they were allowed to ride away, and it was apparent well ahead of that last climb that the winner would come from that group.

Besides Piedra, Perez and Mondory, the break comprised Argos-Shimano’s Simon Geschke, Lotto-Belisol’s Vincente Reynes, David de la Fuente of Caja Rural, Vacansoleil-DCM’s Sergey Lagutin, Pablo Lastras of Movistar and two Astana riders, Kevin Seeldraeyers and Andrey Kashechkin.

The latter is a past podium finisher in the Vuelta – in 2006, he finished third as Astana team mate Alexandre Vinokouorov took the victory, but the following season both would be handed two-year suspensions for blood doping during the Tour de France.

Tomorrow sees a third successive summit finish, this time on an ascent never used before on the Vuelta, the Cuiu Negru, which has ramps of up to 25 per cent in the final three kilometres.

Vuelta Stage 15 Result  

1  PIEDRA, Antonio          CJR    5h 01' 23''
2  PÉREZ, Rubén             EUS      + 2' 02''
3  MONDORY, Lloyd           ALM          "
4  DE LA FUENTE, David      CJR          "
5  LASTRAS, Pablo           MOV      + 2' 07''
6  GESCHKE, Simon           ARG      + 2' 12''
7  SEELDRAYERS, Kevin       AST      + 2' 25''
8  KASHECHKIN, Andrey       AST      + 3' 35''
9  REYNES, Vicente          LTB      + 3' 49''
10 LAGUTIN, Sergey          VCD      + 6' 45''
11 VALVERDE, Alejandro      MOV      + 9' 25''
12 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin       KAT          "
13 CONTADOR, Alberto        STB          "
14 QUINTANA, Alexander      MOV      + 9' 38''
15 ANTON, Igor              EUS      + 9' 48''
16 MARCZYNSKI, Tomasz       VCD     + 10' 00''
17 GESINK, Robert           RAB          "
18 ANACONA, Winner          LAM          "
19 TALANSKY, Andrew         GRS          "
20 DE CLERCQ, Bart          LTB          "

Last man home on Stage 15  

183 LECHUGA, Pablo          ACG      + 29' 47''
   
General Classification after Stage 15  

1  RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin       KAT    58h 17' 21''
2  CONTADOR, Alberto        STB          + 22''
3  VALVERDE, Alejandro      MOV       + 1' 41''
4  FROOME, Christopher      SKY       + 2' 16''
5  MORENO, Daniel           KAT       + 4' 51''
6  GESINK, Robert           RAB       + 5' 42''
7  TALANSKY, Andrew         GRS       + 6' 48''
8  TEN DAM, Laurens         RAB       + 7' 17''
9  ROCHE, Nicolas           ALM       + 7' 21''
10 ANTON, Igor              EUS       + 7' 39''

Points Classification after Stage 15  

1  RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin       KAT          148
2  VALVERDE, Alejandro      MOV          127
3  DEGENKOLB, John          ARG          112
4  CONTADOR, Alberto        STB          109
5  FROOME, Christopher      SKY           91

Mountains Classification after Stage 15  

1  CLARKE, Simon            OGE           34
2  RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin       KAT           30
3  VALVERDE, Alejandro      MOV           26
4  CONTADOR, Alberto        STB           18
5  PIEDRA, Antonio          CJR           17

5 user comments

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It really annoyed me when every time Contador makes an attack David Harmon wets his pants and exclaims "HOW DOES HE DO IT?"
I think we all know how he does it David.
Poor Chris Froome - he is slugging his guts out and then the dopers shoot off up the road. Must be so demoralising.

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
2nd September 2012 - 18:30

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Some Fella wrote:
It really annoyed me when every time Contador makes an attack David Harmon wets his pants and exclaims "HOW DOES HE DO IT?"
I think we all know how he does it David.
Poor Chris Froome - he is slugging his guts out and then the dopers shoot off up the road. Must be so demoralising.

Firstly, it's former dopers, secondly Froome isn't at peak condition like Contador and Rodriguez who haven't really raced in months.

He's tired and probably demoralized, that's the main reason he's struggling, not necessarily because the better riders are doped up to the gills.

posted by drheaton [3428 posts]
2nd September 2012 - 19:28

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drheaton wrote:

Firstly, it's former dopers, secondly Froome isn't at peak condition like Contador and Rodriguez who haven't really raced in months.

He's tired and probably demoralized, that's the main reason he's struggling, not necessarily because the better riders are doped up to the gills.

Im not doubting he is tired and demoralised and that is why he isnt winning - im just saying he must find it depressing to see cheats going up the road - former or otherwise.

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
2nd September 2012 - 19:43

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Some Fella wrote:
Im not doubting he is tired and demoralised and that is why he isnt winning - im just saying he must find it depressing to see cheats going up the road - former or otherwise.

If David Millar has taught us anything its that dopers CAN reform and that those riders who have doped should be given a second chance. Yes, Spanish riders and the Spanish authorities seem to be particularly blase about doping but it isn't fair on Contador or Valverde to assume that the reason they're beating Froome is because they have doped, either now or in the past. There is such a thing as an ex-doper.

posted by drheaton [3428 posts]
2nd September 2012 - 20:05

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Excuse my hiccups,Eurosport's Harmon jumping up and down, 'Where do these guys get it from ? answers in a sealed plain brown envelope please.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [923 posts]
2nd September 2012 - 21:34

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