Vuelta a España: Warren Barguil takes stage 15 by inches over Rigoberto Urán
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Vuelta a España: Warren Barguil takes stage 15 by inches over Rigoberto Urán

by Ben Atkins at 12:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
Horner and Valverde take back time as Nibali struggles in final kilometres

warren barguilWarren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) underlined his status as one of the most exciting talents in French cycling with a second victory in the 2013 Vuelta a España, winning the 15th stage between Graus and the summit of Aramón Formigal above Sallent de Gállego. The 21-year-old managed to beat Rigoberto Urán (Team Sky) in a tight photo finish, as the two of them hit the line side by side, after the Colombian had caught up with the solo move from Barguil in the closing kilometres.

Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) beat Dominik Nerz (BMC Racing) to third place, as the pair of them fought to catch Barguil and Urán on the finishing straight.

Behind the battle for the stage, the fight for the general classification was being played out as an isolated Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) came under pressure from his rivals. The Italian was unable to respond to separate attacks from Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and ended the stage with his lead over Horner cut to just 28 seconds as all three managed to take time.

“Firstly, I’m a bit sick,” said Barguil at the finish. “Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well. When I got caught by the group of Alex [Geniez], I thought it was useless to insist with the only hope of finishing tenth.

“Today, I was told to stay calm. But I was impatient to go ahead,” Barguil explained. “When I was alone in the lead in the final climb, Urán came across and attacked me straight away. It was a mental game for me to stay at his contact. For the sprint, I manoeuvred him well. It came from my experience of losing a race against [former junior world champion] Olivier Le Gac in similar conditions last year. It’s been tight. Even with one stage win under my belt, my desire to win was intact. It’s super!

“It’s not my style to give up,” he added. “Yesterday, it rode too much in the first climb. I’m recovering pretty well from my efforts but two days of rain have hurt. My directeur sportif told me to stay in the wheels today but I take cycling as a game. It’s an enormous pleasure to be at the front.

“I’m yet to realise that I’ve won one stage at the Vuelta. I don’t believe it. When I’ll go back home, hopefully on Monday – it would mean that I’ve reached my first goal, which is to complete the Vuelta –, I’ll realise what I’ve done: two stage wins, or maybe more… I’ll try once more and we’ll see how it goes.”

The 146.8km saw several big moves escape in the first hour, but it was not until 62km that a group of nine riders finally escaped with Urán, Huzarski and Nerz present. The group was held at little more than a minute by the Movistar team, until two of its riders - in the shape of Sylwester Szmyd and Beñat Intxausti - managed to bridge up across. As Astana allowed the break’s lead to grow, Barguil managed to join, along with several others to take the break’s number up to 23.

Attacks began in the group as the final climb arrived, with several riders dropped and, with just under ten kilometres left, Barguil made his move. The Frenchman managed to get more than 30 seconds clear of the others, but Urán gradually reeled him in and made contact with just one kilometre to go.

Nerz and Huzarski were just about to make contact with the leading pair when the sprint began, and Barguil just managed to edge out Urán on the line.

Meanwhile, behind the break, Rodríguez attacked from the peloton and bridged across to his teammates up ahead. Horner also managed to escape from the others, and was joined by Valverde and Thibaut Pinot ( as they left the struggling NIbali behind.

Nibali conceded more than 20 seconds to his rivals on the finish line, but arrived at the Vuelta’s second rest day with his red jersey intact.

Several groups get clear but nobody gets lucky until Valverde has taken back some seconds

The attacks began in the very first kilometre, with a group of ten riders getting clear, but quickly caught again. After five kilometres Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), Juan José Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Bauke Mollema (Belkin), Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale), Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing) got away and were able to get a lead of 42 seconds by the time they hit the foot of the 3rd category climb to the Alto de la Foradada.

Mondory and Wyss dropped out of the group as the climb went on, but were replaced by several others, who swelled the group’s number to 23. After Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) had led over the top of the climb, after 26.2km, however, Nibali’s Astana team shut it down.

Another large group tried to get clear, but was shut down by Astana, but the team’s close control backfired as Valverde managed to beat Astana’s Andriy Grivko to the intermediate sprint, in Boltaña after 53km, to take three seconds out of his deficit to Nibali.

After 63km, however, a group finally did get clear, including Urán, Huzarski and Nerz, along with Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) and Nerz’ teammate Martin Kohler.

Following several kilometres of control from Movistar, Szmyd and Intxausti got across, just before Sijmens worked to protect Edet’s lead in the mountains classification by taking first place over the 2nd category Puerto de Cotefablo at the 100km point.

Barguil then managed to join, along with Juanma Garate (Belkin) and Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), with Astana beginning to allow the group to get farther ahead. Vladimir Gusev (Katusha), Nicki Sørensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), then José Herrada (Movistar), Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Katusha), Maciej Paterski (Cannondale), Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis), Andre Cardoso (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale) also made it up to take the break’s number up to 23.

With 22km to go, as the group began the gradual ascent towards the foot of the final climb, its lead reached its maximum of 3’24”, and Euskaltel-Euskadi hit the front of the peloton. Shortly afterwards, with different members of the group having different intentions - as some were hunting the stage, while others had been sent ahead by their team leaders to bridge to - the attacks began.

The breakaway begins to splinter while Nibali’s rivals put him under pressure

With 20km to go Nerz, Barguil, Txurruka, Urán and Garate pulled ahead of the others, but they were chased back by Szmyd and Intxausti. With 16km to go Garate tried again, and was joined by several others, but the group came back together after little more than a kilometre as the riders arrived on the final climb.

As the climb began Nicki Sørensen inexplicably crashed, but the others thankfully managed to get around the Danish rider and he was the only one to come down.

Garate went yet again with 13km to go, Cherel and Barguil joined him, and the three of them managed to briefly pull clear of the rest, before being pulled back again by most of the others. A number of the breakaway riders were losing contact at this point, and being steadily picked up by the peloton, which was still being led by Euskaltel-Euskadi.

With 9.5km to go Barguil put in his move and, finally, a rider managed to escape the group. An 11 second lead at the 9km banner had grown to 22 seconds at eight kilometres, with the chasers splintering into groups of three and four behind him.

The peloton was still 2’46” back as it passed under 10km banner, giving it little chance of catching the leaders up the road.

With seven kilometres to go Barguil had a 34 second lead over Nerz, Cardoso, Herrada and Cherel, and they were making little progress on the Frenchman. As they drifted back into the chasing group, however, Urán jumped clear and had closed the gap to 30 seconds by the time he reached the four kilometre banner.

Barguil was still managing to hold his advantage over Urán, however, until the Colombian was joined by Nerz and - briefly - Txurruka. With two to go, Urán and Nerz had cut the gap to just 20 seconds, as Katusha took control of the 20-rider peloton behind them.

Valverde then attacked from the bunch, but he was chased down by Nibali’s Astana teammate Tanel Kangert. Rodríguez then countered, however, and made it up to the backward-drifting Gusev, who began to pace him up the climb.

Horner then followed the Katusha rider, leaving a red jersey group of just Nibali, Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Valverde, Nibali and Pinot.

Up ahead, Urán had left Nerz behind, and caught Barguil as he passed under the flamme rouge.

Valverde then attacked the Nibali group, with Pinot following, and the red jersey was unable to respond to his rivals. A little way ahead, Rodríguez had left teammate Gusev behind and was sprinting towards the finish alone.

Nerz had meanwhile been caught by Huzarski, and the two of them were gradually gaining on Urán and Barguil up front. Barguil had managed to force Urán on to the front as they approached the finish and they were just holding out, however. With 150 metres to go Urán opened up his sprint, but Barguil was just able to overhaul him on the line to take the stage by just inches.

Valverde and Pinot managed to get up to Horner, and the Movistar rider left the American behind by a few seconds as they reached the line just three behind Rodríguez. Nibali followed 22 seconds behind Horner, losing 25 to Valverde - plus the three that Valverde had taken at the intermediate sprint - and 28 to Rodríguez.

Result stage 16
1. Warren Barguil (Fra)
2. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Sky Procycling
3. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp-Endura
4. Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team
5. José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
6. Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Maciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling
8. Andre Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff

Standings after stage 16
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Pro Team Astana
2. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard @ 28s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team @ 1’14”
4. Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha Team @ 2’29”
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale @ 3’38”
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 3’43”
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) @ 4’37”
8. Leopold König (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura @ 6’17”
9. Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 7’33”
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Pro Team Astana @ 9’21”


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