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Roche climbs to 8th as Deignan returns to form

Posted 04 September 2010

Nicolas Roche has climbed to 8th overall in the Vuelta á Espana after an impressive performance on the mountainous stage to Xorret de Cati which also witnessed Philip Deignan’s return to form.

It took two devastating attacks from Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) to shake Roche from the wheels of the GC contenders over the final kilometre of the viciously steep climb to the finish.

The AG2R La Mondiale fought all the way to line limiting his GC losses to just 31 seconds as the Katusha rider led home a select chase group behind David Moncoutie (Confidis) who soloed to the stage win from a long five-man breakaway.

Mouncoutie escaped 50 kilometres into the stage in the company of Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Assan Bazayev (Astana), Jose Luis Arrieta (AG2R La Mondiale) and Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia).

Martinez extended his lead in the mountains classification having claimed the maximum points over the summits of the second category Puerto de Tudons and  Puerto de Torremanzanas.

The quintet had extended their lead to a maximum of 7’48” by the time they reached the foothills of the Puerto de la Carrasqueta where Deignan’s Cervelo Test Team set about taking control of the race with just 49 kilometres remaining.

The Donegal man made an enormous contribution over the 11 kilometre long climb, leading the chase over the summit as the gap fell to 4’02”, before pulling on the front for another six kilometres to bring the 60 riders in tow to within 3’48”.

The refusal of the other teams to lend their support to the chase provided an unexpected reprieve for the breakaway who maintained a four minute cushion lead starting into the  final first category climb of the Alto Xorret de Cati.

Their advantage crumbled over the 3.8 kilometre climb and it was not long before Montcoutie distanced his companions over the average gradient of 11.5%.

A ferocious pace by the Liquigas Doimo team of Vincenzo Nibali and an attack by Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne) at the base of the climb split the chase group before Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) had a go at bridging to him.

The two were give a little or no headway with Roche joining Nibali, Rodriguez, Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Xavier Tondo (Cervelo Test Team) in closing the gap as race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) cracked.

Rodriguez kicked as soon as they retrieved Sastre and Uran with the acceleration putting Roche in difficulty. The AG2R La Mondiale man did a fantastic job to recover and was working his way back on with Sastre when a second burst by Rodriguez proved too much as the gradient pitched to 20%.

Moncoutie’s lead of 1’42” at the top was sufficient to guarantee the stage win over the three kilometre drop to the finish as Rodriguez, Nibali, Anton, Tondo and Sastre pursued.

Roche followed with Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions), Ruben Plaza (Caisse d’Epargne) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) finishing 15th on the stage, a full two minutes back on Moncoutie but just 31 seconds behind the group led by Rodriguez.

Anton now leads the race with the same time as Rodriguez with Nibali third at two seconds. Roche lies in eight place overall with a deficit of 1’19” heading into another mountainous stage to Alcoy tomorrow.

Deignan lost contact with the peloton during the early part of the final climb which was not unexpected after his mammoth effort earlier in the race. He finished 90th over 8’34” down but his performance today was a clear indication that that he is growing stronger as the race continues and that he may yet challenge for a stage win.

Results:

2010 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 8: Villena – Xorret de Cati, 190 kilometres

1. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 5:14:32  
2. Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:54  
3 . ohann Tschopp (Swi) BBOX Bouygues Telecom    
4 . ose-Luis Arrieta (Spa) Ag2R-La Mondiale    
5. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:29  
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
7. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
8. Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 0:01:32  
9. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team    
10. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:01:35

15. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 2 minutes
90. Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team at 8 minutes, 34 seconds

General classification after stage 8:

1. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 32:28:49  
2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha    
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:02  
4. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:42  
5. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:10  
6. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:15  
7. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:18  
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:01:19
9. Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:01:26  
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia

8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 1 minute, 19 seconds
132. Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team at 1 hour, 1 minute, 10 seconds

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