Vuelta Stage 19: Joaquin Rodriguez takes the stage - and Chris Horner snatches race lead

American leads Nibali by 3 seconds - race to be decided on the Angliru tomorrow

by Simon_MacMichael   September 13, 2013  

Vuelta 2013 S19 Joaquin Rodriguez wins (© Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha, third overall in last year's Vuelta and lying fourth on the General Classification of this year's 68th edition of the race this morning, attacked on the climb of the Alto del Maranco above Oviedo to win Stage 19. The big news though is that Chris Horner of RadioShack-Leopard, 3 seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali this morning, now leads the race by an equally slender margin after distancing the Astana rider as they approached the line.

The race will be decided on the mighty climb of the Angliru tomorrow.

The group containing the men towards the top of the overall standings hit that final, 5.7km ascent on the 181km stage from San Vicente de la Barquera with a handful of the men who had made the day’s break still ahead of them on the road.

With Saxo-Tinkoff forcing the pace, one by one the remaining escapees were swallowed up, and ahead of the flame rouge signifying the start of the final kilometre, it was the Danish team’s Nicolas Roche, fifth overall, who was first to make his move.

Roche leads Scarponi (© Unipublic/Graham Watson)

Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sanchez, who comes from Oviedo – as does the team’s likely saviour, former Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who has accompanied the former Olympic road race champion on training rides – went after Roche.

When Rodriguez made his move however, there was no catching him. Until now during this race, he had perhaps been overshadowed by team mate Daniel Moreno, winner of two stages in the opening week, but today the rider nicknamed ‘Purito’ was back to his best on the type of punchy finish that suits him perfectly.

Rodriguez said afterwards: “This is what I wanted. I promise, believe it or not, that I’ve told my team-mates two or three times to stop pulling because they were riding very fast and I wasn’t confident in my strength as the finale wasn’t steep enough for me.

"But the little hope I had for winning, my team played it all from kilometer zero onwards. I’m super happy. I’ve put a smile back on my face. This kind of victory counts double. I

"’m very ambitious and I race for winning. Tomorrow, I hope for more, even though I’m already very proud of today’s performance.

"The Angliru is a beautiful finale for any climber. To put one’s signature on the top is very special. Today’s win is an incredible moral blow. I hope to be able to win again. But the overall victory seems more complicated. I keep the illusion though.

"The other contenders are tired too. It can change everything because the Angliru doesn’t forgive anything. I’ll fight as much as I can for the podium. Let’s dream. But do not rule Vincenzo [Nibali] out.”

Behind, it was once again advantage Horner as he took time out of Nibali for the third time in a week; on the previous two occasions, the margin between them was more than 20 seconds.

Today, however, it was just 6 – but with Sunday’s stage into Madrid traditionally a procession followed by a sprint finish, that’s enough to put Horner, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday next month, just 24 hours away from becoming the oldest winner of one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, which have more than 260 editions between them.

The diverse fortunes of Horner and Nibali this week suggest that the Italian, winner of the Giro d’Italia in May, will find it difficult to respond to another attack from the American on the Angliru tomorrow, far less be able to turn the tables and take the lead back.

Even so, the slenderest of gaps between them mean that the race could even be decided in a sprint for the line for bonus seconds. Horner has one day to win the Vuelta, and Nibali one day to rescue it. Tomorrow’s stage will be unmissable.

Vuelta 2013 Stage 19 Horner Podium (© Unipublic/Graham Watson)

Earlier in the stage, 20 men had got away, but they were never given too much leeway by the peloton, their maximum advantage barely getting beyond two and a half minutes.

With 85km remaining, Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen – looking to complete a set of stage wins in all three Grand Tours – and Georg Preidler of Argos Shimano managed to get away.

The pair would be joined by several other survivors of that earlier break inside the final 10km, but with today being the penultimate stage in which the overall standings are likely to change, the catch was inevitable as Rodriguez took the win, and Horner the red jersey.

Reaction to follow

24 user comments

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^ currently it says 'more to follow'

You got that right! But still not as much as if he'd been wearing a sky jersey!

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
13th September 2013 - 15:20

10 Likes

So much of that comment lies unsaid between the two lines of text, I'm guessing... Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8520 posts]
13th September 2013 - 15:28

5 Likes

Horner is spoiling my enjoyment of what has been an otherwise great Vuelta.
Sad

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
13th September 2013 - 20:36

5 Likes

"The year Horner f-ed cycling by getting caught winning the Vuelta". What a special way to end your career.

If he doesn't get caught cycling becomes a joke anyway. Thanks Chris.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1205 posts]
13th September 2013 - 21:09

6 Likes

trouble is, I'm enjoying watching the racing. i really hope Horner isn't doping

posted by 700c [587 posts]
13th September 2013 - 21:24

6 Likes

It seems that the best place to finish a grand tour overall is second judging by you lot, dont cheats also finish further down the field as well? Thinking

posted by lookmanohands [103 posts]
13th September 2013 - 21:32

6 Likes

Could the trolls just get a life. Its your problem if you think he's doping. Would you say Cadel and Sky were doping. Remember If ones doping everyone is under this UCI!

posted by CyclingDan [39 posts]
13th September 2013 - 21:34

4 Likes

CyclingDan wrote:
Could the trolls just get a life. Its your problem if you think he's doping. Would you say Cadel and Sky were doping. Remember If ones doping everyone is under this UCI!

+1+2+3+4+5

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
13th September 2013 - 21:39

3 Likes

CyclingDan wrote:
Could the trolls just get a life. Its your problem if you think he's doping. Would you say Cadel and Sky were doping. Remember If ones doping everyone is under this UCI!

Cadel - not currently, did you see him in Quebec today (great race BTW). Sky - don't get me started!!

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
13th September 2013 - 23:20

8 Likes

Proof? Or just your narrow minded opinion that the whole peloton is doping!

posted by lookmanohands [103 posts]
14th September 2013 - 7:04

5 Likes

CyclingDan wrote:
Could the trolls just get a life. Its your problem if you think he's doping. Would you say Cadel and Sky were doping. Remember If ones doping everyone is under this UCI!

Not here for the TdF then?

posted by Super Domestique [1655 posts]
14th September 2013 - 7:19

5 Likes

I think all you lot accussing horner of Doping are narrow the narrow minded ones who cannot see he's actually doing great in the Vuelta. Its Not about Proof, can you prove Horners doping?

Until we have this UCI under McQuaid I dont think you can trust anyone.

posted by CyclingDan [39 posts]
14th September 2013 - 7:44

6 Likes

I just think that those of you who don't think doping is rife need to flush out your head gear.

Horner success is a joke. If you think he really is 'that good' at the age of 42 just ask yourself why he has never flown off the front of a grand tour like Froome did last year. Why he has never out performed his his teams GC rider.

This form is not the sort you pick up at his age naturally. There is science behind this and if you can't smell that this stinks take the peg off your nose. This isn't a good thing for cycling.

That said I am enjoying the battles of the Vuelta, but all I want now is for someone to wipe that sh1t eating rictus grin off that over ripe bag of bones Horner. Allez Rodriguez.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1205 posts]
14th September 2013 - 8:42

7 Likes

Why would he need to be out performing his team LEADER....that's the whole sense in having a leader, you work for him. Not dump him and shoot off on your own agenda. He's had to work for Schleck and others throughout his GT career so far, this has been his first real chance to have a crack at it from himself.

Doping isn't as rife and some would like to make out, especially when you compare it to 10 years ago.

Your comments just make you sound bitter at the whole pro cycling scene.

I am glad that you are still finding enjoyment in the battles, because it seems to me that you can't enjoy pro racing much with the opinion that almost all the riders are doping

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
14th September 2013 - 11:25

5 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:

Doping isn't as rife and some would like to make out, especially when you compare it to 10 years ago.

Im not claiming it is rife in the modern peloton. Im just saying it is rife amongst Chris Horner.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
14th September 2013 - 15:20

5 Likes

Not a chance, I'm not stupid enough to think he was never involved in doping, knowing about it, maybe taking something.

But I truly believe that here and now, he's clean

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
14th September 2013 - 17:55

5 Likes

Well Said Gkam!

Gkam84 wrote:
Why would he need to be out performing his team LEADER....that's the whole sense in having a leader, you work for him. Not dump him and shoot off on your own agenda. He's had to work for Schleck and others throughout his GT career so far, this has been his first real chance to have a crack at it from himself.

Doping isn't as rife and some would like to make out, especially when you compare it to 10 years ago.

Your comments just make you sound bitter at the whole pro cycling scene.

I am glad that you are still finding enjoyment in the battles, because it seems to me that you can't enjoy pro racing much with the opinion that almost all the riders are doping

posted by CyclingDan [39 posts]
14th September 2013 - 19:04

7 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
CyclingDan wrote:
Could the trolls just get a life. Its your problem if you think he's doping. Would you say Cadel and Sky were doping. Remember If ones doping everyone is under this UCI!

+1+2+3+4+5

Except for when it's Wiggins and Sky, apparently, Gkam, who you deem (without proof of any kind), to be 'the next Armstrong'

posted by 700c [587 posts]
15th September 2013 - 0:56

5 Likes

Apparently, according to those around these parts, no proof is needed when accusing Horner, so why would I need to have proof??

Apart from a guy that can just put on weight or drop it in no time at all and not suffer any loss of power. Associated with a couple of dodgy teams, right around the time they were getting busted for dopers CA and Cofidis, also with a team full of now known dopers, Garmin.

2009, after being a nowhere man in the GT's (just like Horner) comes up with a 4th place (now 3rd) totally out of the blue and no-one could believe it.

At least Horner has previous wins in bigger races and tours under his belt.

Wiggins had a couple of years in the road 2005-07 where he won a couple of TT's and a stage here and there, 2008 went solely back to the track, won world and Olympic title's. Then 2009 he's up there with Contador and Armstrong, known dopers, Then both the Schleck's. One known and one dodgy.

2010, didn't do much, two GT's, not even top 20. 2011, all of a sudden he's back up there in La Vuelta after being injured at TDF.

2012, win's everything in sight and is untouchable to even the best....

2013...is shit again

He is also very much known for his altitude training, which as we all know, puts you off limits to doping tests because they can give false positives.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
15th September 2013 - 1:42

4 Likes

@Gkam, this is a very selective account of Wiggins' previous performance with a particular spin that attempts to back up your suspicions.

I'm not saying he's completely beyond suspicion, nobody in cycling is. But as you point out, people have levelled unsubstantiated accusations against Horner which is just as bad as yours against Wiggins.

posted by 700c [587 posts]
16th September 2013 - 9:12

3 Likes

Does the fact that he reportedly missed a doping control at the end of the vuelta indicate that he may have been doping. Suerly though due to his performances he would have been tested during the race. It will be interesting to see why he was not at his stated Hotel, or it could be as simple as he was out celebrating his win. If he has been doping it throws what was a great race another into another non-event and Nibali's chance to be written into the history books as a true modern great of cycling. We could all be wrong mind you and Horner's performance was genuine, but as one who watches a hell of a lot of cycling his name is one you dont hear often. His palmares show no indication that he should have been a contender at the Vuelta.

posted by theincrediblebike [41 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:46

3 Likes

Sky were poor this race, both Valverde and Rodriguez had just completed the TdF and Nibs was "allegedly" using it as a training race for the worlds - so who else was up there to challenge Horner ?

Roche - likewise the TdF. Your only left with S Sanchez and Pinot, neither of whom are genuine GT contenders at the mo.

Let him have his moment of glory and if it comes back to bite his arse then thats tuff and he has only cheated himself.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:59

3 Likes

theincrediblebike wrote:
Does the fact that he reportedly missed a doping control at the end of the vuelta indicate that he may have been doping. Suerly though due to his performances he would have been tested during the race. It will be interesting to see why he was not at his stated Hotel, or it could be as simple as he was out celebrating his win. If he has been doping it throws what was a great race another into another non-event and Nibali's chance to be written into the history books as a true modern great of cycling. We could all be wrong mind you and Horner's performance was genuine, but as one who watches a hell of a lot of cycling his name is one you dont hear often. His palmares show no indication that he should have been a contender at the Vuelta.

+1 Unlikeliest of contenders, even within his own team.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1205 posts]
16th September 2013 - 11:12

4 Likes

[quote/GKam84]
Not a chance, I'm not stupid enough to think he was never involved in doping, knowing about it, maybe taking something.

But I truly believe that here and now, he's clean
[quote/]

So are you still of the same opinion?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1205 posts]
16th September 2013 - 13:01

3 Likes