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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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Nairo Quintana abandons Vuelta

Nairo Quintana, who crashed at high speed in the Vuelta stage 10 time trial while holding the overall lead, crashed again today. During the early kilometers of Vuelta stage 11, Quintana fell and was taken to the hospital. BMC rider Steve Morabito also fell. Both riders have abandoned the Vuelta.

Nairo Quintana

Niaro Quintana riding the stage 10 time trial. Photo ©Sirotti

Tyler Farrar Changing Teams

Since 2008, sprinter Tyler Farrar has ridden for the team that is currently Garmin-Sharp. But this is his last year with the squad and in 2015 he will ride for another team. Rumors are that Mtn-Qhubeka, which recently signed Theo Bos, is interested in the American rider, but for now Farrar is mum about where he will end up, saying he'll let his future team make the announcement. Though Farrar has won stages in all three Grand Tours and several important races like the 2009 and 2010 Vattenfall Cyclassics, he has yet to win a race this year.

Tyler Farrar

Tyler Farrar wins stage 10 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. Photo ©Sirotti

Franck Schleck Extends with Trek, No News About Andy

Frank Schleck has signed on to ride for Trek Factory racing for another two years. Still no news about his younger brother Andy.

Frank Schleck

Frank Schleck riding the 2012 Tour of Switzerland, where he finished third overall. photo ©Sirotti

Vuelta a España Stage 10  

Alberto Contador's taking the Vuelta GC lead should not have surprised anyone given his rising form.

Here's what his Tinkoff-Saxo team had to say about the day:

It was a one of the big days in this year’s Vuelta a Espana as today’s 36.7 kilometer long individual time trial would be able to show the differences in strength between the GC riders as well as the time trial specialists. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Spaniard, Alberto Contador was second overall before the stage, only three seconds behind the leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar). But that was about to change.

Contador took off from Real Monasterio de Santa Mariá de Verula at 16:50 and shot through the technically demanding course to finish in Borja 36.7 kilometers later. At the first intermediate time check, Contador had the fastest time so far, 20 seconds ahead of the leading rider. Unfortunately for the Vuelta, Quintana took a tumble on the descent and lost a significant amount of time.

However, the strong Tinkoff-Saxo captain kept the pressure on and after 30 kilometers, he was third fastest and only 8 seconds behind the multiple time trial world champion, Tony Martin who won the stage. But Alberto finished 4th - 39 seconds behind Martin, which was enough to conquer the overall lead of the Vuelta a Espana with 27 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde in second place.

DS, Steven De Jongh was all smiles after the stage:

"Alberto did an amazing job on the course with a wild pace on the climb and from then on he maintained the pressure but on the descent he lost time to the likes of Martin and Cancellara. However, we're thrilled to have the jersey and tomorrow's a very tough day with an uphill finish. We'll try to control the stage and naturally defend the lead," said De Jongh.

Alberto contador

Alberto Contador riding to the GC lead in Stage 10. Photo ©Sirotti

Here's BMC's press release about stage 10:

BMC Racing Team's Samuel Sánchez finished fifth in Tuesday's Stage 10 individual time trial and made a big move up the overall standings at the Vuelta a España while teammate Cadel Evans finished sixth.

Sánchez was 48 seconds off the winning time of world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to climb from 13th to seventh in the overall standings. The 2008 Olympic road race champion and two-time podium placer at the Vuelta said he was inspired by the presence of past Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzales de Galdeano, who followed him in the BMC Racing Team car. "I immediately had good feelings today and the team was kind enough to host him (Galdeano), which pushed me emotionally," Sánchez said. "For sure, my performance came from my heart and my legs. But I have to say that from the car, (BMC Racing Team Sport Director) Valerio Piva managed my time trial the best, telling me every single turn and the right rhythm." Martin's teammate, Rigoberto Uran, finished second in the 36.7-kilometer race, 15 seconds back, while Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was third, a further three seconds behind.

Aboard his BMC timemachine TM01, Sánchez was third-fastest overall at the first intermediate time check (11.2 km), fourth-fastest at the second (30.0 km) and was only nine seconds off the time of new race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) by the finish. Contador leads Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) by 27 seconds, with Uran in third, at 59 seconds. Sánchez is 1:41 back and one of only six riders within two minutes of Contador with 11 stages remaining in the three-week race. "The Vuelta is really long again," Sánchez said. "Today we did a good step up and tomorrow I hope to make another one. We will see, day-by-day." Past race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) crashed on the descent of the climb that comprised the first third of the course and fell to 11th overall, 3:25 back. "I was sorry to hear about Quintana's crash," Sánchez said. "I also had some risky moments in a few of the corners. You always have to stay focused in a time trial like that."

Evans started slowly but finished fast. The past world road champion and Tour de France winner was 13th at the first time check and seventh at the second to finish one second behind Sánchez. Piva said having six riders in the top 35 in the race against the clock was a good sign after the race's first rest day. "I am very happy with all of our performances today," he said. "Cadel is a specialist, but Samuel was unbelievably strong as well. He was a little bit slow the last five kilometers, but I think he dug deep to do his best time trial. He was only nine seconds behind Contador, with all the other top favorites behind." With another mountain-top finish to come on Wednesday, Piva said he hopes to keep the momentum going. "We are back in the mountains and will fight to do our best and try to have the best place at the end," he said.

Samuel Sanchez

Samuel Sanchez rides the Vuelta stage 10 time trial. Photo ©Sirotti

Lampre-Merida's statement about Vuelta stage 10:

Another good day for Winner Anacona in the time trial at the Vuelta a Espana today, by Real Monasterio de Santa María to Borja de Veruela of 36.7 km.

The Colombian of Team Lampre-Merida have managed to not lose positions in the overall standings, thus defending his 4th place obtained after the solo victory in the 9th stage (now with a delay of 1'12" by the new leader Contador ).

Anacona offered a test worthy of a place in the top 10 of the General at Vuelta, finishing the stage in 15th place with a time of 48'47" at 1'45" behind the winner Tony Martin.

The route of the time trial included an initial insidious with different curves and narrow road, then a 3rd category climb of 2.5 km, then a treacherous descent in which Quintana, who started with the leader's jersey of the general suffered a huge scare by falling against a guard rail. Fortunately no serious consequence for the athlete of Movistar, only the regret of losing 4'07 "at the end of the stage. Since the track to the finish line then presented the land suitable for specialists with long straights on which to use high gears at maximum frequency.

The impressions of the DS Matxin: "I was expecting a nice chromo form Winner today, his condition is good and the track was not impossible for him. Watching the times calmly after the race, we can see how he was good in the middle of the train of the best general classification's riders. This shows that we can work well to get a good placement in the standings at the end of the Vuelta. Today we chose also to start with a Merida Reacto Evo bike, to maximize its compromise between aerodynamics and ease of driving along the first part of the track full of curves and reverse curves. At the top of the climb of the 3rd category then we changed Winner's bike, putting him on a Merida Warp TT, a pure time trial bike , in view of the second part of the track where aerodynamics was essential to maintain the high speed downhill and the long straights of the final. "

Anacona: "Today I felt good, the leg responded as I wanted even after the rest day of yesterday. It was a time trial in which to pay attention from the beginning not to fall and to keep a bit of energy for the final. I opted for a change of bike and I must say that in the end I was fine. Due to the bikes that we have from Merida we can always evaluate various options in the choice of the materials on any type of tracks. Tomorrow will be a difficult stage with a tough final climb, the important thing is to take it straight to the top positions and then defend myself as much as possible until the finish line. "

Chrono relatively quiet for the other members of Team Lampre-Merida with Niemiec who finished the test in 30 th position at 2'18 ".

Winner Anacona

Winner Anacona after Vuelta stage 9. Photo ©Sirotti

And this is what Team Belkin had to say about Vuelta stage 10:

Gesink, Kelderman endure hard time trial 
Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM endured a difficult time trial across northern Spain to keep their GC options fully intact in stage 10 on Tuesday at the Vuelta a España.  

Robert Gesink was 18th at 2:01 behind stage-winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick), with Wilco Kelderman 32nd at 2:22 slower. That pushed Gesink into ninth overall, at 2:38 behind new leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Kelderman 12th at 3:29 back.

"Considering how hard the course was today, we can be satisfied. The damage is not that bad," said Belkin Sports Director Erik Dekker. "Wilco is close to the top-10, and Robert is not too far behind, so it's looking pretty good going into the final half of the Vuelta."

Gesink admitted he had "trouble concentrating" during the 36.7km time trial from Santa María de Veruela to Borja.  "I am not satisfied about the time trial. It was hard, I could not focus today, I was everywhere in my thoughts, due to some private matters," Gesink said. "It's just the way it is, and we'll see tomorrow."   

Kelderman also hoped for more, but he's hanging close to his pre-Vuelta goal of a top-10 overall.  "The feeling was not great, and you could never get a good rhythm. It was really hard," Kelderman said. "In the downhill, it was technical, then you had bumpy roads. The last 10km, I felt a lot better. I did my best."   

Belkin riders agreed the time trial was no walk in the park. With a mix of hills, rough road surfaces, warm temperatures, and gusting wind, it was a challenging stage.  "It's not a real nice time trial. The roads are really rough. You could better go on a cyclocross bike than a TT bike," said Paul Martens. "I have a bit of a saddle-sore, so am glad that it is over."   

Laurens ten Dam, who rode to ninth overall at the Tour de France, agreed it was a hard race.

"It's a hard time trial. I don't like TTs, I like climbing," said Ten Dam, now 24th overall. "Let's see if I can do a good attack in one of the mountain stages, but also helping Robert and Wilco will be important. My main focus will be to help Robert, but a stage win would be nice, too."

Back into the mountains
The 69th Vuelta continues Wednesday with the 153.4km 11th stage from Pamplona to San Miguel de Aralar, the Vuelta's third mountaintop finale. "Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance," Dekker said. "I am convinced Contador will win the Vuelta now, but I am curious about what will happen with the others. One day they are strong, the next weak. I think there will be some opportunities for us."

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink riding the Vuelta stage 10 time trial. Photo ©Sirotti

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