Vuelta a España: Le Mével a stage animator on his birthday

Cofidis rider attacks on climb to Monte Castrove en Meis

While stage 18 of the Vuelta a España was ultimately a day that belonged to the GC men, Christophe Le Mével (Cofidis) was one of several riders to try their luck on the road to Monte Castrove en Meis as he celebrated his birthday.

With 7.5km left of the 157km stage which started in A Estrada, Le Mével looked around and then accelerated away from the front group to force a small gap before being absorbed back into the bunch.

The Frenchman explained after the stage that he had wanted to ride aggressively all day but it was in only in the closing stages of the day that he was free to express his aim.

"I wanted to attack earlier and enter a breakaway but the fight lasted for a very long time," he said. "We missed it but at the end it wasn't too bad because it was a finale for strong riders."

Le Mével finished the stage in 26th place, 2:45 minutes down on the day's winner Fabio Aru (Astana).

In the first of his 13 grand tours, Le Mével won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2005 but since then has only claimed one other professional victory, the overall classification of the 2010 Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var.

As stage 18 was Le Mével's 34th birthday, he was hoping to join Alexandre Vinokourov (2007) and Ivan Ivanov (1991) in recently claiming stage wins on their birthdays as he explained.

"I attacked in the last ascent to make fireworks as a gift for myself on my birthday today," he concluded.

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