ORICA-BikeExchange produced another tactically astute performance on stage 17 of La Vuelta a Espana today with Colombian Esteban Chaves covering moves late in the day and holding on to third overall with stage six winner Simon Yates still in fifth.
2016 Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans and young Dane Magnus Cort made it into the day's breakaway group and nicely executed another potential network of support for Chaves and Yates on the stage finale.
Matthias Frank (IAM-Cycling) took the solo stage victory after attacking out of the breakaway on the approach to the finish on the Mas de la Costa.
ORICA-BikeExchange led the peloton onto the climb with both Chaves and Yates right at the front when the selection was made, with Cort and Gerrans positioned further up the road if required.
The anticipated high-flying attacks never quite materialised, although Chaves was alive to the danger when Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) had a dig with the Colombian maintaining tempo before pushing on in the closing metres.
The top four finished together with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) still in the race lead and Christiopher Froome (Team-Sky) in second 20seconds ahead of Chaves.
Contador sits in fourth place, five seconds behind Chaves with Yates in fifth ahead of tomorrow’s stage18.
Sport director Neil Stephens commended the efforts of the team on a tough finish to the stage.
“I think both Esteban (Chaves) and Simon (Yates) did a really good job today,” said Stephens. “We knew that the last climb was going to be really demanding, if you made one effort too many the you would pay for it for the rest of the way up and we saw riders shelled instantly from the favourites group.”
|1||Mathias Frank (SWI) - IAM Cycling||4:34:38|
|2||Leopold Konig (CZE) - Team Sky||0:00:06|
|3||Robert Gesink (NED) - Team LottoNl-Jumbo||0:00:11|
|4||Pello Bilbao (SPA) - Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||0:00:14|
|5||Dario Cataldo (ITA) - Astana Pro Team||0:00:16|
|6||José Herrada (SPA) - Movistar Team||0:00:29|
|7||Axel Domont (FRA) - AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:48|
|8||Bart De Clercq (BEL) - Lotto Soudal||0:00:57|
|9||Kristijan Durasek (CRO) - Lampre - Merida||0:01:02|
|10||Haimar Zubeldia (SPA) - Trek-Segafredo||0:01:04|
|27||Esteban Chaves (COL) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:03:27|
|34||Simon Yates (GBR) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:04:23|
|44||Magnus Cort Nielsen (DEN) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:05:27|
|46||Simon Gerrans (AUS) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:05:57|
|67||Damien Howson (AUS) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:09:57|
|117||Jens Keukeleire (BEL) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:14:59|
|118||Sam Bewley (NZL) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:14:59|
|119||Jack Haig (AUS) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:14:59|
|146||Svein Tuft (CAN) - ORICA-BikeExchange||0:17:33|