OBE come through solid stage nine of La Vuelta a Espana with Chaves in fifth overall

Sun 28 Aug 2016

A fast and undulating stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana was won from the breakaway with Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates finishing with the other general classification favourites after a solid team performance from ORICA-BikeExchange.

David de la Cruz (Etixx-Quickstep) won the stage with a late attack from the front group on the final climb to the finish, the Spaniard also moves into the race lead ahead of tomorrow’s stage ten.

Stage six winner Yates and fifth placed Chaves crossed the line close together after following the late attacks from the favourites group with Yates now in 11th place overall.

“It was a tough final 60kilometres today,” said Chaves. “Up and down all the way and the leaders were moving really fast, the team did really well to hold a good position as we went onto the final climb and the legs felt ok today.”

“We will see what happens tomorrow because it is going to be difficult stage with a hard finish but we are always positive and we will see how the legs are on the climbs.”

Sport director Neil Stephens was content with how the stage unfolded and is looking forward to more opportunities in the days to come.

“We lost a little bit of time yesterday,” said Stephens. “A little more than we expected and this morning we decided to hit reset and assess certain aspects.”

“It was fairly clear that today there wasn’t going to be any major time gaps between the major contenders on the final climb and we knew where we needed to be and who we needed to be finishing with.

“As far as that’s concerned it was a positive a stage today, we achieved our objective and the guys rode with intelligence so we can look forward to tomorrow and bide our time for when the right opportunity arises.

“There are some fantastic bike riders ahead of us and behind us,” concluded Stephens. “What we are starting to see is that no one is afraid of having a little dig and trying to shake things up a bit.”

“This is a Grand Tour and there will always be fluctuations day to day but we are in the race and competing for three weeks and there is a certainly a lot of racing still to come.”

How it happened:

A beautiful sunny lunchtime welcomed the riders to the start of stage nine for anther hot and lumpy day in the saddle.

A group of 12 riders broke clear within the first hour of racing and quickly developed a lead of five minutes on the peloton.

The early ascents were short and led to a long 55kilometre descent towards the four categorised climbs that made up the final 50kilometres of racing.

With 70kilometres to go the 12 leaders had four minutes 30seconds as the peloton began to edge a little closer.

As the breakaway hit the first of the four climbs Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) attacked in search of the available mountains points but the group came back together on the following descent.

Dries Devenyns (IAM-Cycling) was next to go clear, attacking on the short El Padrun climb followed by Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La-Mondiale).

The duo developed a 30second advantage approaching the fourth climb of the day, the Alto de la Manzaneda with 16kilometres to go.

The breakaway group came back together a few moments later after a big pull by Luis Leon sanchez (Astana) before a series of fresh attacks began.

Into the last ten kilometres de la Cruz and Devenyns held a slim lead of 20seconds on the approach to the final ascent to the finish.

The peloton were still just over four minutes behind the leaders with five kilometres to go and the stage winner now certain to come from the breakaway.

De la Cruz and Devenyns stretched the gap out to 45seconds with only two kilometres remaining and the peloton now on the climb and speeding up.

An attack by de la Cruz saw the Spaniard go clear to take the stage win and also the red leaders jersey.

Movistar appeared to be happy with the situation and the late bursts out of the chasing peloton saw the favourites, including Chaves and Yates cross the line together.

Tomorrow’s tenth stage is a full on mountain stage covering 188.7kilometres from Lugones to Lagos de Covadonga. Around 100kilometres of rolling roads lead onto the first category Alto del Mirado del Fito and the hors category summit finish on the tough Mirador de la Reina/Covadonga.

Vuelta a Espana stage nine results:

1. David de la Cruz (Etixx-quickstep) 03:47:56

2. Dries Devenyns (IAM-Cycling) 00:00:27

3. Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Drapac) 00:00:33

17. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:56


General classification after stage nine:

1. David de la Cruz (Etixx-Quickstep) 33:46:24

2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 00:00:22

3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:00:41

5. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:01:19