Horner not given any leash on Vuelta a España stage eight
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Horner not given any leash on Vuelta a España stage eight

by Kyle Moore at 5:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
41-year-old threat shut down by Nibali on final climb before both lose some time

Chris HornerChris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard) continued his aggressive racing on stage eight of the Vuelta a España, putting in one of the first important accelerations that really kicked off the racing in the uphill finale.

The stage three victor made waves with three kilometres left on the Peñas Blancas climb, coming to the fore and briefly forcing a gap. With no rider stepping up right away to cover the American, who was a serious threat to retake the red jersey from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), it was Nibali who came across to Horner.

When later attacks netted the stage win for Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) and the overall lead for Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), both Horner and Nibali were a little bit behind.

The red jersey continues to hot potato around between a host of overall contenders, with Roche now in it after Nibali lost 27 seconds at the finish. Many riders are still well within contention, and the time loss does nothing to rule out either Nibali or Horner. It perhaps only meant that the Peñas Blancas climb favoured those who were a bit more patient.

“The climb wasn’t quite steep enough and Nibali was watching my wheel real close,” Horner said in a team release afterward. “Every time I attacked, he followed. Then of course Roche put in a great attack. It seems like he and I are the ones who trade off on getting a little bit of freedom every few days. Maybe my turn is next. He’s riding really well.”

Horner now sits second overall, 17 seconds behind Roche. Nibali drops to fourth, at 18 seconds back.

The American again praised the work of his Radioshack-Leopard team-mates, who once more put the veteran on their shoulders.

“You saw today how strong the RSLT guys are riding but I just couldn’t get the gap after I tried at 3km to go. Then Roche put up a big move with two other guys. When Nibali went it took me a bit to get back to him, but then he ran out of steam and I wasn’t going to chase Roche down.

“It was another beautiful stage, the course was very nice and reminded me of Southern California where I live. The last climb was hard and I’m sure it made good action for the fans on the road and those watching on TV. The guys are riding so well. You saw Cancellara today and Matthew Busche. They were amazing.”

Busche was part of the original 13-man breakaway, but as it disintegrated on the final climb, he pulled himself out of contention to drop back and help out his compatriot.

“I am happy with the way I rode today,” Busche stated. “It wasn’t so much planned that I would be in the break today, but it was a big fight and I saw Katusha and Movistar trying to be there, and I knew to get in there as well so we wouldn’t have to work behind. I saw a Movistar guy go and I went on his wheel and that was the move of the day.

“On the last climb I knew I needed to be there to help the team so I dropped back to be there for Chris. Fabian did his work and then I took over, just riding a solid tempo up the climb. It was a good day for us.”


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