Christian Meier Part of Vuelta a EspaÃ±a Stage 16 Winning BreakMon 9 Sep 2013
Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) claimed his second stage victory in an exciting finale to the 16th stage of the Vuelta a España. The 21-year-old attacked out of the day’s break on the lower slopes of the final climb. He slowly established his advantage until Rigoberto Uran (Sky) bridged across to him. It looked as if Uran had squashed Barguil’s chances until Barguil glued himself to Uran’s wheel and outkicked him in the sprint.
“There was no plan for us,” admitted Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The guys are trying to get through each stage. That being said, I think Clarkey [Simon Clarke] and Christian [Meier] planned to try to get up there if they were feeling good.”
“The race was on from the start,” Wilson continued. “Nothing was going because Movistar was keen for the stage and didn’t want to the break to get up the road. Eventually they couldn’t hold it any longer. A group of 27 riders got away. There had already been a small group out front with a bit of a gap. Christian was part of a chase group that bridged across to those leaders.”
Both Barguil and Uran emerged from the breakaway that solidified in the final hour of racing. Meier matched the tempo of his breakmates until the final 10km of racing. Although Meier fell off the pace of the stage winners, he had enough in the tank to hold off the chasers that jumped from the peloton. He ultimately finished in 15th place on the stage, 1’29 behind Barguil.
“It was a strong group,” said Meier. “We worked well together. Everyone started attacking each other in the last 10km. It was a bit hard to go with all the moves at that point. I had been riding in the group comfortably, but I couldn’t really follow each of the accelerations.”
“I know the team initially reported I was caught by the bunch,” added Meier. “That actually never happened. The break split up, but I managed to finish in front of the overall contenders. This is the best I’ve felt nearing the end of a Grand Tour.”
The race for the overall proved as exciting as the race for the stage win. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) found himself without teammates and under attack by his main rivals in the closing kilometres of the stage. He limited his losses to 22” and now leads the Vuelta by 28” over Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek) and 1’14 over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
The Vuelta a España peloton rests on Tuesday ahead of the final week of racing.
“The boys are really keen for the rest day,” said Wilson. “It’s a well-deserved rest after three days in the mountains.”