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Martin's gritty show on Angliru rewarded with GC rise

Posted 05 September 2011

 


Dan Martin has climbed to 16th in the Vuelta á Espana GC after a gritty performance on the relentlessly steep finishing climb of the Alto de L’Angliru where Juan Jose Cobo wrestled the race lead from Bradley Wiggins with an emphatic stage win.

Martin (Garmin Cervelo) was in the think of the action as the peloton hit the base of the torturous 12.2 kilometre long climb having pulled back a three-man break on the previous climb of the first category Alto del Cordal.

Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) set off in pursuit of the Spaniard before the Irishman took the seven kilometre to go kite as his cue to have a go off the front of the chase group.

He looked especially strong as the gradient tipped 23% and was closing in on Anton, who had caught and passed Barredo and Sastre, when Cobo signaled his intent by putting race leader Wiggins under pressure at the front of the chase group.

The Spaniard soon freed himself from his GC rivals and rounded Martin before setting about closing the 9 seconds gap to Anton.

Martin meanwhile latched onto the chase group which had been reduced to Wiggins, his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome, Denis Menchov (Geox), Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).

With five kilometres to go Cobo had opened a gap of 12 seconds on the group having caught and passed Anton with Froome once more doing the pace setting for Wiggins.

Froome’s punchy performance caused Martin to drift off the back of the group but he fought hard to stay within ten metres and almost regained contact as the gradient relented to 13%.

The real turning point came with three kilometres to go when Cobo stretched his lead to 40 seconds leaving Team Sky with a dilemma as Wiggins began to struggle to preserve his 55 seconds advantage over the Spaniard.

Froome had no alternative but to ride to protect his own GC position in the final two kilometres and had enough left to finish behind Poels and Menchov as the trio crossed the line 48 seconds down.

A clearly exhausted Wiggins dug deep to limit his losses to 1’21” while Martin continued to battle behind. His efforts to keep sight of GC showdown ensured that he finished just 20 seconds further back as he took 11th on the stage.

Nicolas Roche (AG2R  La Mondiale) meanwhile was having a tougher day. He finished 33rd on the stage dropping from 15th to 20th in the GC after conceding 6’19” by the summit.

Martin’s determination and fighting spirit were rewarded when he moved up five places to 16th.  He is 6’42” down on Cobo who leads Froome by 20 seconds while Wiggins maintains a top three spot and more than a fighting chance of reclaiming the race lead with a deficit of  46 seconds.

Results:

2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 15: Aviles - Angliru, 142.2 kilometres

1.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC    4:01:56     
2.  Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:48     
3.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC          
4.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling          
5.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:21     
6.  Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi          
7.  Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:35     
8.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek          
9.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team          
10.  Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

11. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 1 minute, 41 seconds
33. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 6 minutes, 19 seconds

General classification after stage 15:

1.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC    59:57:16     
2.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:20     
3.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:46     
4.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:36     
5.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:02:37     
6.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:03:01     
7.  Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:03:06     
8.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:27     
9.  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:58     
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:13   

16. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 6 minutes, 42 seconds
20. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 9 minutes, 16 seconds

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