Anacona wins Vuelta stage 9 as Quintana takes overall lead
Posted on Sep 01 2014 | IANS
Madrid, Sep 1 : A Colombian, Winner Anacona of team Lampre, won stage nine of the Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) cycle race following the tough climb to the mountain top finish at Aremon Valdelinares
On a day when the high temperatures gave way to heavy rain in the mountains Sunday to give added difficulty to the stage, the Colombian rider came out trumps, reports Xinhua.
Anacona, part of the new generation of South American climbers produced a solo attack on the last climb of the day to win a stage which also saw Nairo Quintana (Movistar) take the race leader's red jersey from team-mate Alejandro Valverde.
The second mountain stage of the race always promised to see the main favourites once again look to establish their dominance over the peloton and even more so given that it comes ahead of the Vuelta's first rest day Monday.
The day saw a series of attacks which saw a large group escape from the main peloton, before Anacona launched a his own at the bottom of the final climb, the Puerto de Aremon Valdelinares - a mountain road, 8 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.6 percent leading to the highest village in Spain at an altitude of 1,554 metres.
Anacona had started the day just two minutes and 50 seconds behind overall race leader, Valverde and when the group of escapees had opened a lead of almost seven minutes over the Spaniard, it looked as if he was certain to take the leader's red jersey, but as the finish drew agonisingly closer, the group of favourites began to close the gap.
Dani Moreno (Katusha) pursued at a punishing pace, until just Valverde, Joaquin Rodriguez, Rigoberto Uran, Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador were left.
With that group struggling, Contador launched an attack which only Quintana was able to match, although as he found his rhythm, Rodriguez was able to join them on the road as Valverde, Uran and Froome ceded time, eventually finishing 20 seconds behind the trio.
Contador, who said before the race he had no intention of battling for the overall win, is now second, three seconds behind Quintana, with Valverde a further three seconds down with Anacona now fourth overall just nine seconds off the lead.