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Big break runs short for Roche

Posted 10 September 2011


Nicolas Roche was part of a large breakaway that dominated the penultimate stage of the Vuelta á Espana but lost hope of securing  a stage win or significantly improving his overall position when it ran out of gas on the final climb of the day.

The 26 man move went clear just 27 kilometres into the 185 kilometre stage from Bilbao to Victoria as the Geox team of race leader Juan Jose Cobo focused on keeping a watchful eye on preserving his 13 seconds lead over Team Sky’s Chris Froome.

The escape group worked well over the second category Alto de Karabieta and first category Alto de Elousa to carry a lead of 4’10” into the feeding zone after 100 kilometres of racing.

Their lead started to crumble over the Alto de Kanpazar and the group finally came undone on the first category Puerto de Urkiola with over 47 kilometres to the finish.

Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) led over the summit with Roche chasing behind as part of a seven-man group, but the peloton was closing in and it was all over for everyone bar Barredo on the descent.

The Spaniard held out until the final ten kilometres where he was joined by Carlos Sastre (Geox) but their combined firepower was not enough to hold off the chasing pack.

The race came down to a bunch sprint at the finish with Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) taking the stage ahead of Enrico Gasparatto (Astana) and Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) finished 21st with Dan Martin (Garmin Cervelo) 40th in the same time as the stage winner. Their GC positions remain unchanged heading into the final stage with Roche 16th at 10’25” and Martin 13th at 7’22”.


2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 20: Bilbao – Victoria, 185 kilometres

1.  Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek    4:39:20     
2.  Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana          
3.  Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale          
4.  Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo          
5.  Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano          
6.  Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD          
7.  Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team          
8.  Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team          
9.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team          
10.  Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

21. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale – same time
40. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo – same time

General classification after stage 20:

1.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 82:38:32     
2.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:13     
3.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:39     
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, 25 seconds    

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