Brave fight from Yates and Chaves on difficult stage ten of La Vuelta a Espana

Mon 29 Aug 2016

A famously tough summit finish on stage ten of the Vuelta a Espana today saw the race for the general classification spring to life again with Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates now fourth and eight respectively for ORICA-BikeExchange.

The Lagos de Covadonga climb has decided many Vuelta a Espana results and came right at the end of today’s demanding mountain stage with the race duly splitting apart after a series of brutal attacks from the favourites' group.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the stage and reclaimed the race lead ahead of tomorrow’s rest day with Chaves recovering well to take seventh on the day and move into fourth overall.

Stage six winner Simon Yates again finished close to Chaves and has crept up to eighth on the general classification.

Sport director Neil Stephens recognised the difficulty of the stage and praised the team’s efforts.

“It was a really hectic stage right from the start,” said Stephens. “Simon (Yates) got caught up in one of the early crashes but thankfully there were no problems and the team went on to do another great job.”

“We were very focused on holding a good position onto the final climb and we did that very well. Once we actually hit the slopes we thought the breakaway would be caught before the finish and knew it was important to stay near the front.

“Hats off to Esteban and Simon for the way they performed together today, they both fought very hard and rode with strength and intelligence.

“We are gradually solidifying our positions in the top ten and that’s really pleasing to see. Of course there is still a long way to go, but the race is starting to take shape and we will continue to look for any opportunities that come our way to move up.”

How it happened:

A fast and frantic start to stage ten of the Vuelta a Espana today saw two crashes occur within the first 20kilometres of racing before things settled down and the rain began to fall.

Attacks soon started to fly but the peloton was alert, attentive and still in one piece after 40kilometres of racing.

Finally, a 16 man move went up the road and developed a two-minute lead at the 65kilometre mark.

The leaders extended the gap out to three and a half minutes with 90kilometres to go with Etixx-Quickstep in charge at the front of the peloton.

Five minutes 30seconds separated the field going into the final 65kilometres with the first category Alto del Mirador del Fito looming on the horizon.

Movistar and Etixx-Quickstep were making inroads towards the breakaway as the leaders hit the del Fito climb now only three minutes ahead.

Omar Fraille (Dimension-Data) led over the summit and into the descent as the discord between the escapees began to set in on the approach to the final climb, the iconic Lagos de Covadonga.

The advantage of the leaders was down to two minutes 40seconds at the start of the climb.

As anticipated, the race came alive on the Covadonga, Movistar accelerated fiercly at the front of the peloton, immediately creating splits as riders were also being dropped from the breakaway group less than two minutes ahead.

With six kilometres to go and riders spread all over the road Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) attacked from the red jersey group with only Nairo Quintana (Movistar) able to follow.

The two sparred for a few hundred metres whilst picking off the left overs of the breakaway and setting a blistering pace.

Yates buried himself in support of Chaves, leading the Colombian and Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) in chase of Quintana and Contador.

Froome and Chaves continued on as Yates pulled off with four kilometres to go. Another acceleration by Froome took the Briton away from Chaves as Quintana dropped Contador 40 seconds further up the road.

Quintana was now alone in the lead and held on for the stage win with Froome in third and Chaves and Yates fighting back fantastically to limit their losses.

Tomorrow is the first rest day of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana and it will be a welcome one. The racing continues on Wednesday with stage 11 covering 168.6kilometres from Colunga-Jurassic Museum to Pena Cabarga.

Vuelta a Espana stage ten results:

1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 04:50:31
2. Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) 00:00:24
3. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:25
7. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:01:02

General classification after stage ten:

1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 38:37:07
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:00:57
3. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:58
4. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:09