Deignan takes amazing win inside Ávila's walls
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deignan takes amazing win inside Ávila's walls

by Bjorn Haake at 1:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
Philip Deignan beat Roman Kreuziger in the town of Ávila, flanked by its famous walls. Deignan and Kreuziger escaped the 16-man break of the day on the final descent of the 18th stage of the Vuelta a España. The two stayed away over the wet cobbles up into the old town and performed a classical two-up sprint.

The experienced Kreuziger let Deignan take the lead up the cobbles but Deignan was alert. "He [Kreuziger] attacked with 500m to go and I went on his wheel," Deignan said. From there, the Cervélo rider passed Kreuziger on the right. Kreuziger was so tired he didn't even try to hang on and Deignan took an easy win in the end.

Neither rider is known to be a good sprinter, but Deignan said it didn't matter. "It was cold and wet and we were in the break all day. It's not important to be a good sprinter but to have something left in the end."

The Irishman was extremely happy with his Vuelta. "Winning a stage is more than I expected. I also moved up quite a bit in the overall, so it's a great day for me." Deignan cracked the top 10, sitting in ninth place at 7'49 from race leader Alejandro Valverde, who had an easy day, other than the rain.

Kreuziger and Deignan attacked just after the top of the final climb, the Alto del Boquerón. Jakob Fuglsang and David Herrero desperately tried to close the 30-second gap over the treacherous last part of the race. Roundabout after roundabout on the wet roads slowed the riders down. Fuglsang looked strong and in the end tried to close the gap solo, but only managed to come within 16 seconds.

On a cold day with the temperature lows at eight degrees Celsius, several riders abandoned the race. The main name was Tom Danielson, who was in ninth place overall at the start of the day.

Moncoutié tires

The beginning of the race was quite active, with attack following attack. After 40km a larger group went away, and mountain lion David Moncoutié (Cofidis) joined them quickly to take out the full points on the cat 1 Puerto de Mijares (km 57). The 16 at the front finally managed to extend their lead to about five minutes after 100km.

Moncoutié showed signs of weakness in the cold temperatures as the break headed over the Alto Collado Mediano - no points for the Frenchman. The gap was still almost four minutes.

Euskaltel tried to bring back the break, but to no avail. With the beginning of the last climb the gauntlets were down in the front. Philippe Gilbert was the first to give it a go, but was caught after a four-kilometer try. Then Kreuziger and Fuglsang momentarily split things up, but just before the top everything was back together.

Everything? No, surprisingly Moncoutié was dropped again and despite teammate Bingen Fernández pacing him, he was unable to rejoin the group. At least for Cofidis there was still Rein Taaramäe in the group.

On the descent Deignan and Kreuziger escaped, chased by Herrero and Fuglsang. They were separated by less than half a minute when Fuglsang tried to bridge by himself. The Dane came up short, as the front duo fought it out on Ávila's cobbles.

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