Attentive OBE maintain third and fifth overall after stage 16 of La Vuelta a EspanaMon 5 Sep 2016
ORICA-BikeExchange produced a controlled team performance on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana today with Esteban Chaves and stage six winner Simon Yates holding on to third and fifth on the general classification ahead of tomorrows rest day.
A fairly uneventful yet tense stage resulted in a fast finale with the stage victory going to Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) from a reduced bunch sprint, with Chaves placing 14th on the day and retaining third place on the general classification behind race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Fifth place Yates and New Zealander Sam Bewley both went down in a crash around the 90kilometre mark, but thankfully suffered no serious injuries and duly made it back into the peloton.
ORICA-BikeExchange held good positions throughout the stage and the team’s diligent work was rewarded by successfully retaining two top five positions on the general classification with five more days of racing to come.
Sport director Neil Stephens spoke of the tension throughout the stage.
“Today was a less hard day physically but the level of stress remained really high,” said Stephens. “I think it was a combination of yesterday’s action from the breakaway and the splits that followed. “
“We knew there would be a cross wind, knew that it was going to be on and everyone was ready for it, resulting in high tension throughout the day.
“The finish was technical and twisted and turned all the way to the line and that made the finale quite demanding mentally.
“Simon (Yates) and Sam (Bewley) were involved in a standard sort of crash mid way through the stage, Sam didn’t hit the ground but got tangled up and Simon actually did go down but they’re both fine.
“We occupy two good positions on the general classification going into a well deserved rest day tomorrow. We’ll be taking a look at where we are, a realistic look at where we can go, recharge our batteries and get ready for some good racing in the final few days of the Vuelta between here and Madrid.”
How it happened:
After a tough weekend of racing in the mountains the riders were looking forward to a little respite on stage 16, however that wasn’t to be.
Numerous attacks sprang over the fast opening kilometres before a group of six broke clear to form the breakaway.
Despite the efforts of Giant-Alpecin on the front of the peloton the six leaders had over three minutes 30seconds after 60kilometres of racing.
A small crash in the peloton a few kilometres later saw Yates and Bewley both hit the deck before quickly remounting to make it safely back to the bunch.
The situation remained much the same for the next hour of racing until the advantage of the breakaway started to decrease inside the final 50kilometres.
Etixx-Quickstep moved to the front of the peloton with riders from Dimension-Data and IAM-Cycling and brought the gap down to one-minute 30seconds with 35kilometres to go.
The peloton controlled the situation well and caught the break inside the last 15kilometres and immediately the speed increased in preparation for the sprint.
A technical finale dotted with road furniture increased tensions within the bunch as ORICA-BikeExchange started to move up the field along with the other race favourites.
Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) launched an attack with two kilometres to go before being caught 500metres from the line with Drucker winning the sprint.
Chaves crossed the line in 14th, the best placed rider for OBE and duly maintained third place on the general classification ahead of tomorrows rest day.
The race restarts on Wednesday with a 177kilometre stage 17 from Castellon-Llucena to Camins del Penyagolosa. A mid-mountain stage with four categorised climbs before a steep ascent up to the summit finish on the Alto Mas de la Costa, a first category climb making its debut appearance in the Vuelta.
Vuelta a Espana stage 16 results:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) 03:21:18
2. Rudi Selig (Bora-Argon18) ST
3. Nickias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) ST
14. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:02
General classification after stage 16:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 64:57:27
2. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:03:37
3. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:03:57
5. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:05:07