The Tour Take | Vuelta a Espana Stage 13
1st – Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi - Murias)
2nd – Rafal Majka (Bora - hansgrohe) @ 0:19
3rd – Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) @ 0:30
Red - Jesus Herrada (Cofidis)
Green - Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Polka Dot - Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
1st - Jesus Herrada (Cofidis)
2nd - Simon Yates (Mitchelton - SCOTT) @ 1:42
3rd - Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar) @ 1:50
4th -Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) @ 1:54
5th - Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) @ 2:23
6th - Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale) @ 2:33
7th - Jon Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) @ 2:35
8th - Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale) @ 2:40
9th - Steven Kruiswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) @ 2:44
10th - Emanuel Buchmann (Bora - hansgrohe) @ 2:47
"Leg-breaking" doesn't even begin to describe Stage 13's finish at La Camperona, thanks to a hellish final few kilometres. But it's the icing sugar on a difficult day of climbing,
Midway through the 175km stage, the peloton also covered the Category 1 Puerto de Tarna (16.8km @ 4.9%), before a long valley and then the final climb to La Camperona that housed the finish.
The Key Point
La Camperona averages 6.5% at 8.8km, but the final 2.5km reared up at 17%. With sustained sections at 20%, it was a super difficult finish.
The first half of the climb averaged less that 4%, but after that gradual interruption, it became very very nasty.
Another stage and a another big breakaway, as 32 men established themselves in a move off the front. Rafal Majka, Thomas De Gendt, Ben King, Bauke Mollema, Dylan Teuns, Illnur Zakarin, Gorka Izagirre and KOM Leader Luis Angel Mate were the key names, as the group raced out to a maximum 6:00 lead.
They started the climb all together, with just under 4:00 lead over the Movistar-led peloton
Marcus Burghardt spent the first half of La Camperona on the front of the break and set a strong pace. He was working for Rafal Majka, who was likely the favourite for the stage. Burghardt swung off with 3km to go, and Majka attacked 500m later, stringing the bunch out.
Majka dropped everyone initially, however Dylan Teuns soon bridged up to him and set the pace for the leading pair. They looked like the strongest, but out of nowhere, Oscar Rodriguez of Euskadi - Murias bridged across.
Rodriguez immediately dropped his two World Tour colleagues, with a surprising turn of pace as he went under the flamme rouge.
Neither Majka or Teuns could get anywhere near the Spaniard, who rode to the line for his, and his team's, biggest ever win.
Behind, the GC group was thinned out significantly, and in the final kilometre, Nairo Quintana attacked to take time over all the other favourites. Simon Yates was hot on his tail, as the two looked significantly stronger than the others.
3 - Oscar Rodriguez. Grand Tour stage wins don't grow on trees - Rodiguez and his Pro Conti Euskadi team ahve gotten more out of today than several World Tour Teams will
2 – Nairo Quintana. Nairo is just chipping away here. He looks content to continually take 30 seconds on most summit finishes at the moment, and it's working pretty well for him
1 – Rafal Majka. Majka probably needed to win with the amount of work that McCarthy and Burghardt did in the break for him, but he still rode reasonably well for second place. He's a strong chance of a stage win in week 3 here
Leaders: Valverde (6), King (5), Herrada, Mate, Viviani (4), Bouhanni, Clarke, De Marchi, Dennis, Gallopin, Geniez, Kwiatkowski, Mollema, Quintana, Sagan (3), De Plus, Mollard, Postlberger, Rodriguez, Rhestrepo, S Yates, (2), Campenaerts, Cortina, Majka, Pinot, Porte, Rolland, Van Baarle, Woods (1), De Gendt (-1)
The Movers and Shakers
It's hard to rate anyone but Quintana as the strongest man here at the moment, having dropped everyone today; that followed on from a strong performance on Stage 9 too. He's only 8 seconds back from Yates, and the hot favourite right now.
A man that's not getting much talk has been Tony Gallopin; he's trying for GC here, and if he was ever going to be significantly distanced it was on a day like today, but he finished only 40 seconds back from Quintana and still sits in the Top 10 overall.
The Next Stage
Stage 14's another mountain day, with 5 tough categorised climbs in store, including a Cat 1 finish to Alto Les Praeres. Les Praeres is short and sharp, averaging 12.5% for 4km, so it's a difficult finish to a long day of climbing with 3000m of ascent.
In a finish that's somewhat similar to today, expect the same guys to be in the mix. Simon Yates is our pick after a super ride to hang with Quintana today.
See you back at the social club,