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Roche retains Vuelta GC spot

Posted 05 September 2010

Nicolas Roche heads into the Vuelta á Espana’s first rest day having preserved his position of 8th overall after a strong finish on the mountainous stage to Alcoy won by David Garcia Lopez (Caisse d’Epargne).

An attempt by the AG2R La Monidale rider to pinch a handful of seconds over the rise to the finish almost paid dividends until he was nabbed by race leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

The 26 year old finished behind Anton and Joaquin Rodriguez (Kathusa) as the peloton trailed in over seven minutes down on the fragments of a fifteen-man break who had been away for 155 kilometres.

The 188 kilometre race from Calpe was the most undulating in this year’s Vuelta with no less than seven categorised climbs and it was no surprise to see the peloton allow such a big group go clear.

With thirteen teams represented in the break it quickly established a lead of over five minutes despite containing Quick Step’s Carlos Barredo who had most to gain having started the day just 3’30” behind race leader Igor Anton.

Another rider to profit from the peloton’s concession was the previous day’s winner David Moncoutie (Confidis) who had declared that he would only attempt to join the break if his rival and mountains classification leader Serafin Martinez (Xaxobeo Galicia) tried to do so.

Martinez failed to make the move and while his teammate Gonzalo Rabunal soaked up the maximum points over the opening six climbs Moncoutie did enough to relive Martinez of the jersey and to take over the classification by five points.

Rabunal was the most aggressive rider of the day having opened a gap over the summit of the second category Alto de Tudons inside the final 55 kilometres of racing.

The attack split the lead group on the next climb of the Puerto de Torremanzanas and with Barredo dropping back the peloton relaxed further and the advantage soon stretched to 9’30”.

Barredo had no sooner returned to the peloton when race leader Anton discovered that he faced a new threat up front from Jean Christophe Peraud (Omega Pharma Lotto) who had started the day 6’59 down.

Roche and Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) where riding comfortably when Anton marshalled his team to take control of the race with Deignan having secured his place in the group after a determined ride through the riders tailed off on the Torremanzanas.

A regrouping of the lead group over the third category Puerto de Benifallin led to the first of two attacks from Lopez inside the final 14 kilometres. Moncoutie had the legs to reply and bridged to him but their lead was short-lived.

Chasers Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) and Gianpaolo Caruso (Katusha) regained contact within 6 kilometres only to find that Lopez still had more in the tank.

He attacked again with 4 kilometres to go and held out to take the victory as Kreuziger seen off Caurso for third.

The peloton cut the deficit to 7’02” by the finish but with Peraud having dropped 55 seconds on the run into Alcoy the threat to Anton’s lead had already been neutralised.

Roche finished 17th on the stage but the rapid speed over the final climbs of the Benifallin and Alto de Revolcat caught up with Deignan who crossed the line another 7 minutes further back.

Roche remains 8th overall, 1’19’ behind Anton going into Monday’s rest day while Deignan has moved up to 123rd overall where his deficit of over 1 hour and 8 minutes and improving form will give him options to chase a stage win in the next phase of the race.

Results:

2010 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 9: Calpe – Alcoy, 188 kilometres

1. David Lopez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 5:20:51        
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:06        
3. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:00:13        
4. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 0:00:21        
5. Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale    0:00:27        
6. Egoï Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:30        
7. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:55        
8. Gonzalo Rabunal (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:02:36        
9. Oscar Pujol (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:03:52        
10. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:04:17

17. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 7 minutes, 02 seconds
92. Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team at 14 minutes, 46 seconds

General classification after stage 9:

1. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 37:56:42        
2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha             
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:02        
4. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:42        
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:52        
6. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:15        
7. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:18        
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:01:19        
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:22        
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:01:26   

8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 1 minutes, 19 seconds
123. Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team at 1 hours, 08 minutes, 54 seconds

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