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Martin and Roche steady as Gavazzi triumphs from break

Posted 08 September 2011

 

Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche finished in the bunch as Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre ISD) won stage 18 of the Vuelta á Espana from a breakaway who completed the stage from Solares to Noja with over seven minutes in hand.

Gavazzi was part on a seventeen-man move which went away after almost 10 kilometres of racing and which never looked back having quickly opened a lead of 10’40”.
 
The group also comprised Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Martin Kohler (BMC), Juan José Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD), Francis De Greef (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Josep Jufre (Astana), Davide Malacarne (Quick Step), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack), Volodymir Gustov (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Alexandre Geniez (Skil-Shimano), Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) and Nico Sijmens (Cofidis).

Their lead held steady at the thick end of nine minutes over the third category Puerto de Braguia and second category Alto de Caracol as the Geox team of race leader Juan Jose Cobo took a relaxed approach at the head of the peloton.

The lethargy within the peloton inspired Roche to try his hand at escaping on the third category Puerto de la Cruz after 130 kilometres with Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) quick to join the AG2R La Mondiale rider in his bid to claw black a few places in the overall GC.

They were not so lucky and were brought to heel before the start of the final climb of the Puerto de Fuente las Varas where the front group split as Paulinho attacked and opened a lead of 41 seconds over the summit.

The Radioshack rider held out for the next 25 kilometres but the survivors of the break closed the gap with two kilometres to go. Vandewalle counter-attacked although Gavazzi was quick to catch his wheel and had enough to beat in him in two-up sprint while Geniez took third.

Martin placed 34th on the stage and Roche 43rd as they came home in the peloton 7’22” down. Roche dropped one place overall to 18th at 10’31” while Martin retains his 14th place with a deficit of 7’22”.

Cobo continues to lead Christopher Froome (Teak Sky) by 13 seconds with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) holding third at 1’41”.

Results:

2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 18: Solares – Noja, 174.6 kilometres

1.  Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    4:24:42        
2.  Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team             
3.  Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Skil – Shimano 0:00:10        
4.  Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne             
5.  Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale             
6.  Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank Sungard             
7.  Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi             
8.  Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team             
9.  Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana             
10.  Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:15   

34. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 7 minutes, 42 seconds
43. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale – same time

General classification after stage 18:

1.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC    74:04:05        
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 0:02:05        
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   

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

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