Chaves remains in 4th overall with Yates up to 7th after stage 11 of La VueltaWed 31 Aug 2016
2015 Tour of Abu Dhabi winner Esteban Chaves attacked bravely on the Pena Cabarga climb on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana today, bringing the race to life before being caught with 800metres to go and retaining fourth on the general classification.
ORICA-BikeExchange teammate and stage six winner Simon Yates also rode strongly up the final climb to take sixth place on the stage and move up to seventh overall going into stage 12.
Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) won the stage with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in second, retaining the race lead.
The attack of Chaves animated the finale as the Colombian gave his all after ORICA-BikeExchange worked hard leading the peloton onto the start of the Pena Cabarga climb.
“You can just ride and hold on to finish sixth or seventh on the general classification,” said Chaves. “But it’s better to try and attack instead, win a stage and finish tenth overall.”
“I prefer the longer climbs of forty or fifty minutes and today it was more like twenty minutes. It was a difficult finale, it was steep in the last kilometre and when you go hard like that you’re not really thinking because of the pain but we tried today and that’s important.”
Sport director Neil Stephens was content with the performance from the team and the position of Chaves and Yates ahead of stage 12.
“It was a super fast start to the stage that didn’t really let up,” said Stephens. “The breakaway took a long time to go and by then it was always looking like it would come back together for the Pena Cabarga.”
“Hats off to Esteban (Chaves) and the boys for the way they rode today. It was maybe a little early to attack but the important thing is he left it out there and had a go.
“When you’re fourth overall and one of the best bike riders in the world then no-one is going to let you go easily and Esteban fought really hard to try and stay away.
“Of course we are pleased with our position at the moment, we’ve got two riders in the top ten and as we saw today Simon (Yates) paced himself really well up the final climb and has moved up to seventh.
“We will keep going forward and keep trying to chip away to create opportunities to move up, there’s a lot of hard racing to come over the next few days.”
How it happened:
A slightly cooler and overcast day welcomed the riders to the start of stage 11 with 168kilometres along the Cantabrian coast ahead.
The stage began at speed with numerous attacks trying to form within the first of hour of racing until a large group of 23 riders eventually created a significant gap on the peloton.
With 100kilometres left to race their advantage had slipped out to four minutes with Movistar tapping out a steady tempo on the front of the peloton.
Twenty kilometres later and the gap was just over five minutes, which was the furthest it would get, before Tinkoff took over at the head of the bunch and instantly started to chip away.
The advantage continued to reduce with the work of Tinkoff and stood at two minutes with 60kilometres to go and the stage's solitary categorised climb, the Pena Cabarga still to come.
Falling to less than a minute going into the final 20kilometres, the gap to the leaders was closing ahead of the fourth consecutive summit finish.
As the breakaway started the Pena Cabarga climb with six kilometres to ascend up to the finish, the peloton was breathing heavily down their necks only 30seconds behind.
ORICA-BikeExchange with Jack Haig led the field onto the climb as the breakaway group started to break apart a few metres ahead.
The peloton followed suit with Movistar jumping to the front and the bunch reducing heavily as the selections started to form.
The favourites group was made up of around 30 riders with Chaves and Yates tucked in behind Damien Howson with Movistar still setting the pace.
Ben Hermans (BMC) was the only rider left in front of the Chaves group with a very slim lead of ten seconds and only three kilometres to go.
Hermans was caught then passed before Chaves launched an explosive attack 1.5kilometres from the line and quickly gained 15seconds as the gradient started to stiffen significantly.
Reactions from Froome and Quintana split the group apart as they set off in pursuit of Chaves, finally catching the Colombian only 800metres from the finish.
Chaves fought bravely on to finish in eighth place 19seconds down as Froome won the stage with Quintana second and Yates in sixth.
Tomorrow's stage 12 covers 193.2kilometres through the famous Basque Country from Los Corrales de Buelna to Bilbao. The stage includes four categorised climbs before a fast and technical descent to the finish in downtown Bilbao.
Vuelta a Espana stage 11 results:
1. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 03:44:47
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) ST
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:00:06
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:13
General classification after stage 11:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 42:21:48
2. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:54
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:01:05
4. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:34