Quiet Vuelta a Espana stage 20 for ORICA-GreenEDGESat 13 Sep 2014
Towards the end of an intense three weeks of racing, ORICA-GreenEDGE focused on a survival for the penultimate day and final road stage of the Vuelta a Espana today.
A tough day in the mountains, stage 20 was always going to be dominated by the general classification teams in a final battle for overall victory. In the end, Alberto Contador prevailed and all but wrapped up the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.
For ORICA-GreenEDGE, countless kilometres pulling on the front of the peloton in pursuit of stage wins and the first experience of general classification protection over the first two weeks left little in the tank for the demanding 185.7km journey.
2012 Vuelta stage and king of the mountain winner Simon Clarke was the team’s top finisher in 44th position.
“The reality is that I have been pretty demanding on the boys everyday trying to set them goals,” sport director Neil Stephens said.
“Right from the start there was the stage win, maintaining the race lead, maintaining Esteban Chaves’ position up in general classification, try for another stage win and on and on.
“So now we are near the end of three weeks of me trying to gee them up everyday and the reality today was that it was going to be really hard for them to do anything today.
They are pretty tired, yesterday was another tough day trying for a last chance with Matthews, so today was more about being able to get through a super hard stage and onto the time trial tomorrow and there was certainly no pressure from me to go for anything more than that.”
Tomorrow the 2014 Vuelta a Espana wraps up with a final 9.7km time trial.