Chaves makes selective split during bunch sprint on stage 13 of La VueltaFri 1 Sep 2017
A long, hot day concluded with a bunch sprint on stage 13 of La Vuelta, but it wasn’t a simple finale with splits catching out a number of general classification contenders.
ORICA-SCOTT leader Esteban Chaves safely manoeuvred the difficult final to finish in a small group of 15 riders behind 2018 teammate Matteo Trentin (Quickstep Floors) who claimed his third victory of this year’s Tour.
Behind, immediate podium threat David De la Cruz (Quickstep Floors) and Illnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) missed the split, losing seven seconds across the line.
“The main objective of the day was to make sure Esteban was OK as far as the general classification was concerned,” sport director Neil Stephens explained.
“That was really well done by the boys, but especially Esteban in the finish. He was there, fighting away in good position in the final kilometres thanks to the work of his teammates, and to make that little split in the final was great stuff.
“A special mention to his teammates in the race today. It was really hot out there, the boys were up and down all day collecting bidons and ice socks for everyone else in the team. It was a hot, hard day out there; tougher than we thought.”
The Australian outfit started the day with a dual objective, to also allow sprinter Magnus Cort to take his chance at a victory, but the furious pace in the final proved too much after the 24-year-old’s efforts to help his teammates over the previous days.
“We have to take our hats off to Magnus,” Stephens said. “He came here right from the start knowing he was here to work and that he wouldn’t get any opportunities in this Vuelta.”
“But we discussed it this morning, we thought he’d be in there with a chance so we thought why not, we’ll give it a bit of a crack for Maggie.
“He didn’t get up there, but that’s fine, he’ll be back to a worker tomorrow.”
How it happened:
After epic battles in the last three days, the breakaway formed with relative ease for stage 13, likely due to the known motivation of the sprinter’s teams.
An initial five riders, which dropped to four, established a maximum advantage of five-minutes before the attentive peloton reduced the gap to under four minutes.
With 50km to go the difference was just one and a half minutes and the day looked like concluding in the anticipated bunch sprint.
By six kilometres to go, the race was back together but Quickstep Floors put on the pressure at the front to string out the bunch on the tough uphill ramps to the finish.
Cort lost touch, but Chaves managed to keep position and hold the wheel in the sprint. Behind him saw a split with a couple of general classification contenders missing the cut, including immediate podium threat De la Cruz.
La Vuelta – Stage 13 Results:
1. Matteo Trentin (Quickstep Floors) 4:25:13
2. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) ST
3. Soren Andersen (Team Sunweb) ST
14. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 13:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 53:48:06
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:59
3. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:13
Photo courtesy of TDWsport.