Veteran content to play the waiting game to Peyragude
Six stages remain in this year's Vuelta a España and currently second on the general classification Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) says he's hoping to make a move on leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
The top five overall – Nibali, Horner, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) - finished together in a group 3:20 behind stage 15 winner Alexandre Geniez (FDJ.fr). The result leaves Nibali with a 50 second lead over Horner, with Valverde another 52 seconds in arrears, Rodriguez at 2:27 and Pozzovivo at 3:43.
"I think Nibali and myself were still the strongest, but Rodriguez and Valverde were putting in strong attacks," said Horner of the battle to the top of the Peyragudes on Sunday. "Kišerlovski did a big effort to try to break the group apart, but we had five or six guys that were really on top form today so basically we just all watched each other to the line. If we keep this up, nothing will change. We might need someone to have a bad day before we can make another selection."
Horner noted that accelerations from Valverde and Rodriguez are harder to nullify than those of Nibali. There won't be any respite on Monday's 16th stage, but there is a rest day coming on Tuesday. Then, the Vuelta concludes with some of the toughest climbs still to come in Asturias.
The 41-year-old was happy to see drier conditions than have been encountered in recent days at the Vuelta, with bad weather forcing a large number of abandons in the peloton, but Horner would also prefer for the temperature to rise.
"My form is still good and the legs are good, even though today was long and cold. But I‘m hoping to see another warm day in Spain," he said.
With his ninth overall at the Tour de France in 2010 his best-ever result in a grand tour, and 20th his best finish at the Vuelta, the American veteran is set to emulate both barring disaster. Either way, Horner is not willing to rest on his laurels just yet and hopes to add to his two stage wins gained already.
"I think the podium is doable for sure, but right now I'm still hoping to make a move," he said. "I'm just playing it mountain stage by mountain stage."
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