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Roche and Martin down as Wiggins puts time into rivals

Posted 03 September 2011


Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin’s GC ambitions suffered a serious setback on stage 14 of the Vuelta á Espana after they lost contact with race leader Bradley Wiggins inside the final four kilometres of the summit finish to La Farrapona-Lagos De Somiedo.

Both riders were among the big names to crack as Wiggins and Team Sky teammate Chris Froome combined to take the sting out of a late attack from GC rival Juan Jose Cobo (Geox) while Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) held out for the stage win.

Martin dropped 1’37” on the stage while Roche finished marginally better than defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and challenger Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) after losing 2’02”.

The two Irish riders remain inside the top 20 overall but their prospects of breaking into the top ten overall have diminished with Roche now 3’32 off the pace while Martin trails by 5’36”.

Wiggins meanwhile is growing in confidence as the race progresses and was impressive as Froome in working to eliminate his rivals and to neutralise the attack from Cobo in the final phase of the 172.8 kilometre stage from Astorga.

The stage came down to the final hors category climb after the two other climbs which made up the closing 65 kilometres saw Taaramae join David de La Fuente (Geox) in carving out a 2’10” lead as the base of the 16 kilometre ascent.

Wiggins has cause for concern after Daniel Moreno (Katusha) joined a six man group midway between the peloton and the chasers where his lead of 1’04” over Briton left him just 48 seconds off the race lead on the road.

It took a full ten kilometres to rein in the Spaniard with the pace setting of the group of race favourites leaving Martin and Roche struggling towards the back at times.

Moreno found the legs to launch another attack after two kilometres but the move was countered by Cobo who caught and passed him as he sought to improve his eight place overall by eating into his deficit of 1’27” over the final four kilometres.

Froome took charge of the chase with Wiggins perched on his wheel and it took less than a kilometre before the cracks appeared and Roche and Martin joined top ten riders, Nibali, Rodriguez, Maxime Monfort (Leopard Trek) and Jakob Fuglsang in losing ground.

Wiggins himself took charge of affairs with over two kilometres to go contributing greatly to the effort to finish within 20 seconds of Cobo who secured second place ahead of De La Fuente who had dropped back to support his teamate’s assault on the GC.

Roche now lies 15th overall with Martin 20th. The duo will need to recover well not to lose any more time on Sunday’s stage finish on the notoriously steep Angliru which averages 13% over 6.5 kilometres.


2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 14: Astorga - La Farrapona - Lagos de Somiedo, 172.8 kilometres

1.  Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 4:39:01     
2.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 0:00:25     
3.  David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC 0:00:29     
4.  Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:40     
5.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:45     
6.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling          
7.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team          
8.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC          
9.  Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:55     
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:00   

16. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo 1 minute, 37 seconds
22. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 2 minutes, 02 seconds
General classification after stage 14

1.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 55:54:45     
2.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07     
3.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:36     
4.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 0:00:55     
5.  Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:58     
6.  Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana 0:01:23     
7.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:25     
8.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:01:37     
9.  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:16     
10. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:02:24     

15. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 3 minutes, 32 seconds
20. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 5 minutes, 36 seconds

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