Canadian Cyclist


August 23/12 18:57 pm - Vuelta a Espana - Stage 6

Posted by Editoress on 08/23/12

Rodriguez sprints atop Jaca, Contador loses 21 seconds to Froome

It was a thrilling finale on the final climb leading up to the 14% steep ramp to Fuerte Rapitan atop the town of Jaca in Aragon. Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez gave more evidence of his great condition but he was also smart in the way he followed accelerations by Saxo Bank, then Sky. ‘Purito’ leapfrogged Chris Froome who made a big coup over his rival Alberto Contador.

Earlier, Rodriguez’ Katusha team and Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar team were the most active in the chase of a group of five escapees that was formed after ten kilometers, uniting Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), Kristoff Vandewalle (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Sharp), Joost van Leijen (Lotto-Belisol) and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) at the front. Their maximum lead was 3.30 on a very hot day with temperatures above 35°C.

Colombians Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran did a tremendous job to eliminate many potential rivals for Froome on GC. They delivered the runner-up of the Tour de France to an ideal position in the last kilometer of the uphill finish. Alberto Contador suffered cramps and couldn’t follow him at the difference of Rodriguez who took his first stage win and consolidated his red jersey. Froome has now an advantage of 26 seconds over Contador on GC.


Chris Froome (Sky): “Anyone who has watched the race on TV must understand why I have to be so thankful to my team. They’ve done a fantastic job to drag me up here. I was surprised to drop Contador off. Until I crossed the line, I was thinking that he would come pass me but he didn’t. Maybe he’s saving his power for the big mountains… To gain 21 seconds on him – bonus included – is a great result. It’s the maximum I could ask for today. But it was impossible to win the stage. Tactically, ‘Purito’ was very clever. He showed that he’s really the best in such a steep finale.”

Team Sky directeur sportif Nicolas Portal: “Yesterday at our team meeting, I took a big laugh when I exposed to the riders what would be a dream result for Chris: to finish just behind ‘Purito’, to drop Contador off and see him not scoring any time bonus. It sounded impossible and it happened! We couldn’t ask for more. It’s a fantastic outcome. We’d also prefer that Chris starts the time trial [on stage 11] after Contador with ‘Purito’ behind him. But we can’t draw any conclusion too quickly. The race will be different when we’ll hit the big mountains.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar, 3rd): “I think our balance is good. We’ve tried to win the stage but we can’t always win and at least we were in the game until the very end. When Froome attacked, I was on Contador’s wheel. I’ve hesitated a little bit and they [Rodriguez and Froome] took a few metres. When I’ve realized that the stage win was impossible to get, I rode flat out to take some time over Contador plus the bonus for the third place. It seems like we are the four strongest men of the race and our respective level is pretty much the same. We’ll take it day by day. Today’s finale suited me but it suited ‘Purito’ even better. There are many stages finishing in altitude and we don’t have to forget the time trial in which I hope to not lose much time.”

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, 4th): “Due to the heat and the high temperature we encountered today, I suffered some cramps on the last climb and I told myself, hey, Alberto, go as far you can. I think I saved the day quite well. For me it was not the most suitable climb. I knew it before racing, but normally I should have stayed at the front without any problem, even being able to fight for the stage victory. I’m happy anyway because despite having had this incident, the loss is minimal. I’ve liked to watch Chris Froome’s performance today. It’s important for the race that riders of his caliber attack and move on. It’s good for the event and it gives me some opportunities for the future stages.”

Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s directeur sportif Bradley McGee: “The result is not what we wanted, but it’s also not the end of the world and for sure it’s the end of the Vuelta. Alberto [Contador] wasn’t on one of his best days. Possibly this final climb was too brutal for someone coming back from a long break.”

Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Nissan, 15th): “I’m going better but this uphill finish isn’t what suits me the best at the moment. It came after a hard racing. The speed was always high. We’ve entered some false flat sections at between 40 and 50km/h! I’ve taken the risk to not race between the Tour and the Vuelta. That means I miss some strength and rhythm for now but today is the third time in the first week of racing that I limit the damage. It gives me hopes for moving up in the overall ranking later on.”

Most aggressive rider Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM): “This morning, I didn’t know which day I’d break away but it’s just a coincidence that I did it today. I actually started the stage at the back of the bunch. I had a chat with some team-mates and we rode up to the front. I just caught a group of riders as they were on the attack. In five with no more than three minutes lead, I never believed that I could do the same thing as on the Stelvio at the Giro. I didn’t come to the Vuelta with a bad shape but at the Giro, I was at 150% and now I’m at 100%.”


Stage 6: Tarazona to Jaca, 175.4 km
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha Team 4:35:22
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) SKY Procycling at 0:05
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team 0:10
4 Alberto Contador (Esp) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:19
5 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) SKY Procycling both s.t.
7 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:25
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:28
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale s.t.
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:33
11 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) SKY Procycling 0:35
12 Juan Jose Cobo (Esp) Movistar Team s.t.
13 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:39
14 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD 0:44
15 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan s.t.
16 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:47
17 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
18 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale both s.t.
19 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:50
20 Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC Racing Team 0:51
144 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big Mat 18:45
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha Team 22:04:32
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) SKY Procycling at 0:10
3 Alberto Contador (Esp) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:36
4 Rigoberto Uran (Col) SKY Procycling 0:42
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:54
6 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team s.t.
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 1:04
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 1:12
9 Daniel Moreno (Esp) Katusha Team 1:17
10 Juan Jose Cobo (Esp) Movistar Team 1:34
11 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) SKY Procycling 1:39
12 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 1:45
13 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1:54
14 Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC Racing Team 1:56
15 Winner Anacona (Col) Lampre - ISD 2:02
16 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:06
17 Igor Anton (Esp) Euskaltel - Euskadi s.t.
18 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 2:17
19 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team 2:20
20 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD 2:30
159 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big Mat 43:23/td>


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