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Martin and Roche make Bilbao cut to improve GC standings

Posted 09 September 2011

 

Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche improved their GC positions on stage 19 of the Vuelta á Espana after making the cut on the finishing circuit in Bilbao where Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) celebrated the race’s return to the Basque Country with a textbook win.

The 31.6 kilometre circuit was dominated by the second category Alto El Vivero which provided the springboard for Anton’s stage win as well as the staging ground for a last ditch attempt from Team Sky to wrestle back the race lead from Juan Jose Cobo (Geox).

Anton was part of a four man break comprising teammate Gorka Verdugo, Marzio Bruseghin (Moviestar) and Alexsandr  Dyachenko (Astana) who started the first of the two laps of the circuit with a lead of just under five minutes.

The quartet had escaped after 29 kilomeres with the two Euskaltel-Euskadi riders taking pride of place over the Pureto de la Granja and Puerto de Las Munecas as the race made its way into the Basque Country for the first time since 1978.

They held together over the first ascent of the El Vivero but the real action was taking place behind as Thomas Lofkvist and Bradley Wigging piled on the pressure with teammate Chris Froome seeking to overhaul the 13 seconds that separated him from Cobo in the GC.

Their effort ripped the chase group apart although Martin (Garmin Cervelo) and Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) both had the legs to stay with the race leaders as they crossed the summit just over two minutes behind the escapees.

Anton used the second ascent of the mountain to jump clear as the chase group of 25 riders closed in.  Froome took charge of proceedings behind but two digs from the Briton failed to dislodge Cobo who well capable of covering the moves.

The high speed descent back to Bilbao led to the reformation of the chase group as Anton celebrated the race win with a gap of 41 seconds over breakaway companion Bruseghin.

The chasers hit the line with a deficit of 1’33” with Martin placing 13th and Roche 14th.  Their efforts to stay with the group saw Martin move up one place to 13th overall while Roche climbs two places to 16th.

Cobo preserved his 13 seconds GC lead over Froome while Wiggins remains third with a deficit of 1’41”.

Results:

2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 19: Noja – Bilbao, 158.5 kilometres

1.  Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 3:53:34     
2.  Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:41     
3.  Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:30     
4.  Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack          
5.  Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:01:31     
6.  David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC 0:01:33     
7.  Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek          
8.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale          
9.  Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale          
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

13. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 1 minute, 33 seconds
14. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale – same time

General classification after stage 19:

1.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 77:59:12     
2.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:13     
3.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:41     
4.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:03     
5.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:03:48     
6.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:04:13     
7.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:04:31     
8.  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:04:45     
9.  Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:05:20     
10. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:33     

13. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 7 minutes, 22 seconds
16. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 10 minutes, 31 seconds

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