Tough stage 19 ITT sees Chaves in fourth and Yates in sixth overall at La Vuelta a EspanaFri 9 Sep 2016
Colombian Esteban Chaves and stage six winner Simon Yates both gave their all for ORICA-BikeExchange on the stage 19 individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana today, setting the scene for an epic penultimate stage tomorrow.
Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) won the stage and edged closer to race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) moved up into third overall with the general classification to be decided tomorrow.
Seven minutes separates the top six with Chaves now in fourth and Yates in sixth. The decisive stage 20 will be challenging, covering five categorised climbs before a tough summit finish on the Alto de Aitana.
Sport director Neil Stephens praised the efforts of the team and spoke of the windy conditions on the course.
“It was very windy out there today,” said Stephens. “There were some strong gusts that actually blew the riders around a bit, coupled with an already demanding course, it made for a really hard day.”
“They say that the time trial is the ‘race of truth’ and there is certainly nowhere to hide out there. Everyone is tired at this point in such a hard race, but our guys gave it everything and you can’t ask for any more than that.
“Tomorrow is going to be a big day, on paper it’s the second hardest stage of the whole Vuelta and there is a lot of climbing to cover in 193kilometres.
“It could be quite defensive tomorrow, at this late stage in the race it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams trying to hold on to what they already have, but we will see. Either way it will be a massive stage.”
How it happened:
After 18 days of brutally tough racing, often in intense heat the challenging time trial came at a justifiable moment of exhaustion for the riders, raced on open roads under more blazing sunshine.
The first rider down the ramp for today’s 37kilometre individual time trial was Canadian Svein Tuft, with the ORICA-BikeExchange rider posting a time of 52minutes 27seconds.
The early benchmark was set by Yves Lampaert (Etixx-Quickstep) with 47minutes 59seconds, moving the Etixx rider into provisional first place.
Next up for ORICA-BikeExchange was Sam Bewley with the New Zealander crossing the line in 56minutes and ten seconds. Bewley was followed by stage 18 winner Magnus Cort with 54minutes and two seconds.
Young Australian Jack Haig and compatriot Simon Gerrans preceeded Jens Keukeliere on the course with Haig at 54minutes and seven seconds and Gerrans at 53minutes 19seconds.
Johnathan Castroviejo (Movistar) nudged Lampaert out of the hot seat with a super fast time of 47minutes 17seconds as the overall favourites started to make their way out onto the course.
Stage 12 winner Keukeleire set a respectable time of 52minutes 34 seconds with teammate Damien Howson coming home in 53minutes and seven seconds.
Yates and Chaves were the last two riders out for ORICA-BikeExchange and both gave it everything to produce solid rides with Yates first over the line in 50minutes 18seconds and Chaves at 49minutes 46seconds.
Froome won the stage with a blistering ride, blowing away Castroviejo in 46minutes 33seconds.
The penultimate stage of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana takes place tomorrow, covering 193kilometres from Benidorm to Alto de Aitana. The decisive day includes five categorised climbs and a challenging summit finish on the 21kilometre Alto de Aitana.
Vuelta a Espana stage 19 ITT results:
1. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:46:33
2. Johnathan Castroviejo (Movistar) 00:00:44
3. Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) 00:01:24
24. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:03:13
General classification after stage 19:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 75:18:52
2. Christopher Froome (Team-sky) 00:01:21
3. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) 00:03:43
4. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:04:54
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:07:32