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Roche limits losses as Deignan quits Vuelta

Posted 08 September 2010

Nicolas Roche has solidified his top ten position in the Vuelta á Espana GC having conceded just 51 seconds on the stage 11 summit finish at Andorra (Vallnord-Pal) on a day when Philip Deignan was forced to withdraw from the race.

Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) will be relieved to have come through the tough mountain test less than a minute behind stage winner Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) whose solo victory returned him to the race lead.

The Irishman has dropped one place to 9th overall but came home ahead of overnight race leader Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and fared considerably better than pre race favourites David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) who dropped 3’18 and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) who also kissed goodbye to his GC ambitions having lost 5’06”.

Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) withdrew midway through the 208 kilometre stage and it is not yet known whether his decision to quit the race is down to a recurrence of the viral infection which has plagued his season.

"Philip was pretty tired. He's had a hard season with all his illness and today was too much for him," the team's sports director Philippe Mauduit explained, having lost their first rider.

"He just did his best. The other day on the Catí climb, Philip was one of the strongest on the team, so there is nothing to complain about,"  he added.

Roche rode a good race to position himself well heading on to the finishing climb as the peloton pulled back Mikael Cherel (Francaise des Jeux) and Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telcom) after 151 kilometres out front.

Menchov was unable to capitalise on the tremendous amount of work that his Rabobank team had carried out to reel in the break and lost contact with the lead group with 5 kilometres to go.

Roche looked comfortable until an attack by Ezequiel Mosquera (Xaceobo-Galicia) opened up the race with Rodriguez (Katusha) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) being the only riders who were capable of responding.

Anton fought to recover ground with Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) but was soon left to mount a lone chase as the Luxembourger struggled with the pace on the 6.7% gradient.

The going in the front group caused Rodriguez to blow just over 3 kilometres from the finish and another punchy attack by Mosquera forced Nibali to crack within 500 metres. 

Anton meanwhile had found his rhythm, catching and passing both riders as the group containing Roche splintered behind. He maintained his momentum with Mosquera in sight, catching and passing him within metres of the one kilometre to go kite.

The Spaniard had a sufficient gap to celebrate the stage win while Mosquera stayed clear of a late surge by Xavier Tondo (Cervelo Test Team) whose third place on the stage also bumped him up to third in the GC.

Roche placed 14th on the stage dropping one place to 9th overall with a deficit of 2’30” heading into the 172 kilometre stage from Andorra La Vella to Lleida which is certain to end in a bunch sprint.

Results:

2010 Vuelta á Espana

Vilanova I La Geltru – Andorra, 208 kilometres

1. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5 hours, 25 minutes, 44 seconds  
2. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:03  
3. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:10  
4. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:00:15  
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne  
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:23  
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
8. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne  
9. Inigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:32  
10. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team

14. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 51 seconds
Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team DNF

General classification after stage 11:

1. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 47 hours, 37 minutes, 15 seconds  
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:45  
3. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:01:04  
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:17  
5. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:29  
6. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:57  
7. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:07  
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:13  
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:02:30  
10. Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank

8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Cervelo Test Team at 2 minutes, 30 seconds

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