With Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears' David Arroyo making the decisive 12-man breakaway in Stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, the team of race leader Alejandro Valverde is now one of two teams along with Astana to have three riders in the top fifteen overall.
When the break's lead reached its maximum advantage, Astana realised the threat and began chasing to prevent Arroyo becoming a threat on general classification. "When they had approximately 12 minutes' advantage, I ordered to my riders to work, because I did not want to take risks," said Astana directeur-sportif Herminio Díaz Zabala in a team statement. "We waited to see if Milram or Lampre would working for a sprint [finish], but when that didn't happen, I did not want to put our [future] options in danger."
Zabala justified his strategy by saying it was not an excessive effort: "Only four riders worked - Kemps, Bazayev, Yakovlev and Redondo. There were not many kilometres [left], and besides, it is the first time that we had worked [chasing a break] in the Vuelta. It is not so bad."
While the top ten on the overall classification did not change, Caisse d'Epargne's Arroyo was the day's biggest beneficiary on GC and is now 13th overall, 5'23 behind his team-mate Valverde.