The Tour Take | Vuelta a Espana Stage 11
1st – Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing Team)
2nd – Jhonatan Restrepo (Team Katusha - Alpecin) @ 0:28
3rd – Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) @ 0:59
Red - Simon Yates (Mitchelton - SCOTT)
Green - Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe)
Polka Dot - Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
1st - Simon Yates (Mitchelton - SCOTT)
2nd - Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) @ 0:01
3rd - Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar) @ 0:14
4th - Emanuel Buchmann (Bora - hansgrohe) @ 0:16
5th - Jon Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) @ 0:17
6th - Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale) @ 0:24
7th - Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) @ 0:27
8th - Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale) @ 0:32
9th - Steven Kruiswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) @ 0:43
10th - George Bennet (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 0:48
At 208km, Stage 11 was one of the longer stages of the Vuelta, and it was a difficult one too, with a route that was up an down all day long. Despite just covering four categorised climbs, there was around 3500m of climbing on the route from Mombuey to Ribeira Sacra.
The final climb, the Alto del Mirador de Cabezoad, topped out with 18km to go, before a descent and then uncategorised climbs on the run-in to the line.
The Key Point
The uncategorised climb up to the line wasn't one for the sprinters, with a 2km @ 9% hike finishing with 3.6km to go. If you made it over at the front, you had a downhill run to catch your breath, before a 500m false flat to the line.
The stage was nearly halfway done before a break was allowed away; with everyone keen to make the break, there was a furious start to the stage.
It was a very classy break that formed eventually though; Thibaut Pinot (who was only (2:33 down on GC), Bauke Mollema (who was in his 100th break of the race), Pierre Rolland (who was in his 99th break of the race), Rafal Majka, Dylan Teuns, Nans Peters, Tiesj Benoot, Omar Fraile, Jack Haig, Alessandro De Marchi, Sergio Henao, Jhonatan Restrepo and several others to form a 19-strong group.
The group found around 4 minutes lead and made Pinot the virtual lead of the race, and so Movistar and Mitchelton-SCOTT were engaged behind, despite having lieutenants in the break themselves.
With around 70km to go, that bunch thinned out as the attacks began. Pinot attacked first with Teuns, Mollema attacked solo after that. De Marchi, Restrepo, Pellizotti all had turn attacking too.
It was De Marchi and Restrepo, (initially with Teuns, who dropped back) who finally forged clear with 25km to go on the final climb. They crested the top with 45 seconds over Group Pinot, who was riding for the Red Jersey, not the stage win) and 3:30 over the peloton
Restrepo and De Marchi worked well together over the top of the Alto del Mirador de Cabezoas, and extended their gap over the chasing group to 0:50. Peters and Pellizoti set off in pursuit, but weren't able to close the gap.
Rain started to fall in the final 5km, and Alessandro De Marchi made an effort to drop Restrepo, who was clearly the quicker in a kick.
De Marchi used the incline well to drop Restrepo, and held his advantage all the way to the line, winning by 30 seconds.
Behind, Pinot could only finish 12 seconds ahead of a mostly intact GC group, with the Red Jersey remaining on Simon Yates' shoulders for another day.
3 - Alessandro De Marchi. De Marchi fires a lot of shots, so it's good to see one finally hit for him.
2 – Jhonatan Restrepo. The young Colombian was sitting pretty with 5km to go, but a wily vet gave him the business and that was that.
1 – Thibaut Pinot. Give Pinot credit for committing to the Red Jersey. It's a wonder he even made it in the break.
Leaders: Valverde (6), King (5), Mate, Viviani (4), Bouhanni, Clarke, De Marchi, Dennis, Gallopin, Kwiatkowski, Mollema, Sagan (3), De Plus, Herrada, Mollard, Postlberger, Rhestrepo, S Yates, (2), Campenaerts, Cortina, Pinot, Porte, Quintana, Rolland, Woods (1), De Gendt (-1)
The Next Stage
Just the two climbs on the 181km route from Mondonedo to Faro de Estaca de Bares, coming after 11 and 132km. The majority of the stage will be raced along the sea, providing some respite from the mountainous heartland of Spain.
A few hills in the finale might trouble the sprinters though; the final 20km cover continuous rolling hills, but the final kilometre runs slightly downhill.
The finish will worry the sprinters; it's not quite a puncheur's finish, but it will be chaotic, and several guys will miss out. Despite that, we'll still back Elia Viviani; the Italian champ's been climbing reasonably well, and his team should help keep him out fo trouble.