Chaves and Nieve limit losses on La Vuelta stage 10 TTTue 3 Sep 2019
Basque rider Mikel Nieve was the top finisher for Mitchelton-SCOTT on tough time trial day on stage 10 of La Vuelta a Espana.
The 36.2-kilometre always looked suited to the TT specialists and so it proved with Nieve and Colombian Esteban Chaves doing their best to limit their losses ahead of the second half of the race.
Kiwi Sam Bewley was the first rider down the start ramp for the team and he was the first rider home, setting a time of 55’25”. Slovenian Luka Mezgec was the next to start his effort in Jurançon, with teammate Dion Smith starting just one-minute later. The pair safely lapped the course, eventually finishing the day in 160th and 154th respectively.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour stage winner Nick Schultz was the next to get going and the Australian negotiated the rolling course in a time of 55’08”. Fellow countryman Damien Howson then came home two places higher than his teammate in 101st on the day. Multiple Ethiopian time trial champion Tsgabu Grmay was 130th on the stage as he looked to save himself for domestique duty in the upcoming mountain stages.
Chaves was the penultimate rider off the ramp for Mitchelton-SCOTT, with the stage always likely to be tough for the diminutive climber. Nevertheless, the former La Vuelta podium finisher dug deep to limit his losses, eventually losing 4’02” to stage winner Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Nieve was the final rider to start for the squad with the Grand Tour veteran keen to limit the damage on a unfavorable TT course. In the end the 39-year-old crossed the line in a time of 50’44”, 3’39” back on the fastest time.
“It was a tough one, really hard and a really fast one, it’s good for that specialist. Another day, another result we need to check how it was and see how we attack the rest of the race and we will see. I suffered a lot today, it’s a tricky one [the course], a lot of blind corners, but it is what it is.”
“The first 10-kilometres were pretty hard, the first climb was hard and then the rest of the roads were up and down, a bit bumpy and not too comfortable. But finally, it wasn’t too bad, too dangerous or technical, so I just kept pedaling as hard as possible.”
“I don’t like to do the time trials too much, but it was a nice course and I think my level was good. I knew that I would lose some time, but we will keep trying and next week looks pretty hard so we have to be there, try to give our best and day by day we can improve.”
Julian Dean (Sports Director):
"We always knew we were going to give away some time today and that happened. I think all the outcomes, when you look across the GC guys, it was pretty predictable today. It was a tough, tough time trial today, very technical and a lot of grinding away."
"The course was hard, we had the first climb and then across the top of the first climb the roads were really rough as well, so if you weren’t carrying your speed at the right time it made the course even more difficult if you lost speed. It’s about keeping momentum and having good information to go through all the corners as fast as possible, so a lot of effort from everybody went into that time trial."
"We’re still aiming for a top-10 on GC, which was the goal coming here and in some ways we have a lot more opportunities now with people watching us less, so we have more freedom to move."
La Vuelta – Stage 9 Results:
1. Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) 47:05
2. Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) +0:25
39. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:02
La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 9:
1.Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) 36:05:29
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +1:52
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) +2:11
12. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +8:52
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.