Despite a strong showing on stage 13, Geox-TMC are still looking for their first stage win in this year’s Vuelta. With two race-defining stages on Saturday and Sunday the team will look to strengthen their GC aspirations with Juan Jose Cobo in 8th, at 1:27 and Denis Menchov in 17th, at 2:56. The team also lie within touching distance of the teams’ classification, just over a minute down on RadioShack, and with Leopard Trek sandwiched in between.
"We raced very well tactically-speaking for the whole stage. Unfortunately we didn't grab a win that would have been very important for our team," Sports Director Joxean Fernandez Matxin said after stage 13.
"Both Cobo and Menchov stayed within the group of the best riders without ever putting their position in the overall standings at risk," Matxin also said, while discussing the performance of the rest of the team.
The team’s hopes of claiming the team’s classification could rest on the shoulders of riders Carlos Sastre and Fabio Duarte. Sastre made it into the main break on stage 13 but has been off the pace in this year’s race. Still, the former Tour de France winner has experience of handling the heavy Vuelta mountains, especially the infamous Angliru, which features on Sunday.
The climb was last used in 2008 and saw Alberto Contador claim the stage on his way to the overall title. Sastre finished that day within the top ten and he may well have to produce a similar performance this weekend. Sastre had previously ridden the climb in 2002.