Movistar’s Nairo Quintana has moved into the overall lead in the Vuelta a Espana, taking over from team mate Alejandro Valverde, on an afternoon when the Colombian rider’s compatriot Winner Anacona, riding for Lampre-Merida, took the stage win.
Anacona, 2 minutes 50 seconds off Valverde’s lead this morning, got into the 31 rider break that formed after 25km of racing on the 185km stage from Carboneras de Guadazaón to Aramón Valdelinares.
By the time he hit the final climb, he had just two companions – Trek Factory Racing’s Bob Jungels and Javi Moreno of Movistar, but dropped them on the final, Category 1 ascent.
Behind, Chris Froome of Team Sky was distanced by GC rivals Quintana, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador – who himself put in an attack – and Jouaquin Rodriguez of Katusha.
Ahead of tomorrow’s rest day, there are now five riders within half a minute or so of the race lead – Quintana, Valverde, Contador and Anacona, with just nine seconds between them, and Froome, who is 31 seconds off the red jersey.
Unsurprisingly, following the stage, Anacona was asked how he came by his first name.
My father, Rodrigo Antonio Anacona, who is a policeman, has always been a big cycling enthusiast,” he explained.
“ He was used to listening to the cycling reports on the radio and he was a fan of Andrew Hampsten and Peter Winnen in the 80s. He wanted to name me under his two idols. He didn’t know any word of English though, so he made a mistake and I became Winner. It’s the first time in my pro career that I can pay homage to my name. I’m obviously delighted.”
Asked where he saw his career going, he replied: “I’m up for contract with Lampre-Merida. My agent is considering various options. We’ll chose what’s best for my future.”
The new race leader, Movistar’s Quintana, said: “We didn’t think of swapping the roles in the team with me in the lead as of today. I’m in the red jersey now but there’s still a long way away into the Vuelta.
“It’s going to be difficult. In particular, there’s a time trial coming up. There isn’t much difference between the favorites. The differences will be made in the last week.
“I’ve been surprised that Chris Froome got dropped a little bit,” he went on. “He’s not the kind of rider who gives up. He’ll keep fighting for GC and he might make it up for the time lost in the time trial.
“However, for the GC I fear Alberto Contador more than Chris Froome. My goal is to make the top three. If I manage to do so at the Vuelta, I’ll have done it at the three Grand Tour in the region of 14 months and it would be the best way to prepare for my attempt to win the Tour de France next year.”
Froome said: “It was a test stage out there, especially with the conditions there were today but the guys did a fantastic job. My main thing is to try and stay in contention at the moment with eyes on the time trial.
“The time I’ve lost today is not a disaster. It would have been better to be able to follow those guys. They had the legs on me in the final, a couple of kilometres there. For now, it’s just about getting through with the least loss possible. I’m looking forward to the time trial now.”
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.