Liquigas rider Roman Kreuizer tried to salvage a quiet Vuelta a España campaign on Thursday on the road to Ávila but, at the end of the mountainous 165 kilometre 18th stage, he was lacking the power needed to beat Irish rider Philip Deignan.
"I'm really disappointed to end this hard day with nothing in hand," the Czech rider said after the stage. "Since this morning I thought that this day could be good to search for the victory. The route was good for my characteristics and the conditions to try an attack were good."
Deignan, a fifth year professional with the Cervélo TestTeam, rode strongly in a late-race move with Kreuziger and then left his rival behind on the uphill approach to the line.
"On the last climb I quickened the rhythm to make the selection and the result was good. Then I increased it again and, together with Deignan, we got clear of the other riders of escape. I knew that Deignan was faster than me and so, in the final kilometres, I wanted to go faster again. Unfortunately he was pedalling really well and, on the final short climb, I hadn't enough power to speed up once more and make the difference as I had wanted."
Krueziger, 23, won the Tour de Romandie earlier this year and finished second to Fabian Cancellara in the Tour de Suisse, a race he was victorious in twelve months earlier. But he's hasn't been his usual self in this Vuelta - albeit partly due to his work in support of Ivan Basso - and wanted to put that right on the penultimate mountain stage.
Sadly for him, it was not to be. "Today was really a big opportunity to win and get a victory for the team," he said. "We're going really well in this Vuelta, we're protagonists almost every day and I think we deserve success. We will see what will happen in the next few days."
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