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Hello and welcome to stage 11 of the Vuelta. Today is the first and only individual time trial in this year's race, a 39.4 kilometre test from Cambados to Pontevedra.
Highest point: 490m
Category: Time trial
Given that Spain’s holiday season is in full swing in August, Vuelta route directors Abraham Olano and Paco Giner had to look for a time trial route that would not only provide a good test but would also steer clear of the main traffic routes.
They plumped for a course that sticks mainly to minor roads and which features the cat 3 climb of Alto Monte Castrove. This climb isn’t steep enough to particularly unsettle the time trial specialists but does offer climbers the chance to limit their losses. The descent is reported to be technical. Another small rise follows it, before a flat and flat-out section into the finish.
Cyclingnews reporter Alasdair Fotheringham previewed the course last night and said: "In 39.4 kilometres of racing between Cambados and Pontevedra, there are perhaps two stretches of 500 metres in the entire course that could be defined as straightaways." You can read the full story here.
Race leader Rodriguez will be the last man to start today's stage and for a full list of times, click here.
184 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 16:32:00
185 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 16:34:00
186 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 16:36:00
187 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 16:38:00
188 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 16:40:00
189 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 16:42:00
190 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 16:44:00
191 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 16:46:00
192 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 16:48:00
193 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 16:50:00
As we came on Denis Menchov, the two time winner of this race, started his TT but now Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol Team) is in the start house.
Here's the current leader board but we're waiting for Tony Martin to cross the line. He was second at the first time check, one second down on Lars Boom.
1.Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) 53:53
2.Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) +0:17
3.Christophe Riblon (AG2R) +1:17
4.Macej Bodnar (Liquigas) +1:21
5.Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Andalucia) +1:30
6.Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil) +1:34
7.Stef Clement (Rabobank) +1:33
8.Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) +1:52
9.Frantisek Rabon (OPQS) +2.32
10.Biel Kadri (AG2R) + 2:33
That's a strong ride from Meyer, going 17 seconds faster than Castroviejo but we can expect, Martin, Chris Froome and perhaps a few others to go under 53 minutes.
Lars Boom, this is perhaps a tad long for him, crosses the line in 3rd, 49 second off the lead.
The next riders to leave the start house:
129 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 15:17:00
130 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 15:18:00
131 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 15:19:00
132 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 15:20:00
133 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos-Shimano 15:21:00
134 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 15:22:00
135 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano 15:23:00
136 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 15:24:00
Based on form and TT talent we should expect Chris Froome to move into the lead after today's stage, perhaps even stretch out a two minute gap on Rodriguez. What will be interesting to see is how much time the Sky leader can put into Contador and Valverde. The latter is a bit of a dark horse... he didn't time trial well at the Tour but he's been in sterling form so far in this race.
Contador on the other hand, hasn't reached his trial peak of 2009 for a number of years. He won a TT in the Giro last year but he hasn't been the same.
At the second time check Martin is 19 seconds down on Meyer.
Richie Porte (Sky) who we've not mentioned yet, steams through the second time check 12 seconds faster than Meyer in a time of 36:23
Second time check, 23.5km
1.Richie Porte (Sky) 36:23
2.Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) +0:12
3.Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) +0:18
4.Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) +0:19
5.Tony Martin (OPQS) +0:31
And Martin finishes 3rd, 22 seconds down.
Porte is coming up to the finish, it's going to be very close.
Porte finishes in almost the same time, a fraction up on Meyer.
1.Richie Porte (Sky) 53:53
2.Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) +0:00
3.Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) +0:17
4.Tony Martin (OPQS) +0:22
5.Lars Boom (Rabobank) +0:49
6.Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) +0:59
7.Christophe Riblon (AG2R) +1:17
8.Macej Bodnar (Liquigas) +1:21
9.Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Andalucia) +1:30
10.Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil) +1:34
Race officials are coming back with a time change for Porte, he's now two seconds ahead of Meyer.
Kessiakoff has gone 7 seconds fastest at the first time check.
De Gendt, third in the Giro, crosses the line in 5th.
Contador and Valverde are both warming up at the moment, Froome too as we move towards the final stages of the time trial.
Kessiakoff is 41 seconds faster than Porte at the second time check.
Some low level clouds are starting to build up on the course, so we could be seeing some rain later on.
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) starts his TT, just as Gilbert crosses the line in 6th place.
Mollema sitting in 10th on GC, starts his time trial. He's 3:27 and it will be very interesting to see how he does in comparison to Gesink.
As Talansky slips into his best aero position. He could certainly threaten for the stage win today.
Kessiakoff finishes: He's first, 1:15 faster than Porte.
Igor Anton starts his time trial. He'll lose time today but should hold his place in the top ten, which, considering his shaky start in the mountains, will be a good result for him.
Gesink makes his way through the technical start in the open few hundred meters.
Valverde starts his time trial. I think he could outperform some of the other favourites today, including Rodriguez.
And now Contador starts, to huge, huge cheers from the Spanish fans that line the road. He's up to full speed now as he accelerates through the corners.
Chris Froome heads out for his time trial. Second in both TTs at the Tour, third at the Games. He should win today, and he should be in the leaders jersey at the end of the stage.
Cobo has finished his TT in 57th.
Rodriguez starts his time trial, the race leader heads down the ramp and onto the course.
The first time check is at 13.5km. Valverde will go through there in about 3-4 minutes.
Early time check has Contador 8 seconds faster than Froome.
Gesink went second fastest at the first time check though.
Valverde is on the climb now but he was 29 seconds down at the first time check.
And Contador is fastest at the first time check. Two seconds ahead of Kessiakoff. Remember 2008 Olympic Games where he started fast and then faded? He looks good though as he approaches the top of the climb.
Froome is four seconds down on Contador now. The gap has narrowed.
While Contador jumps on the pedals Froome is the complete opposite, sitting low on the bars as he pushes up the climb in a bigger gear. He looks comfortable too though.
First time check, 13.5km
1.Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) 16:22
2.Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) +0:02
3.Robert Gesink (Rabobank) +0:08
4.Lars Boom (Rabobank) +0:09
5.Tony Martin (OPQS) +0:10
16. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:31
Rodriguez has lost 32 seconds to Contador at the first check. While the gap between Contador and Froome is now back out to 8 seconds.
In the virtual overall Rodriguez has 18 seconds on Froome, 21 on Contador.
Froome is now 10 seconds down on Contador.
Froome doesn't look as smooth now, hunched over the bars a bit more while Contador just looks more aggressive.
Contador has put 42 seconds into Rodriguez. That's not the end of the world for the race leader, it's not. He just needs to limit his loses today and keep within two minutes on the GC lead.
Froome has Contador's lead down to four seconds now the Sky rider finding his momentum on the climb now.
Talansky finishes 5th on the stage. He should move up a few places. He's 1:24 down on the stage but will creep closer to the top ten.
Rodriguez is riding well now, the gap between him and Contador is at 42 seconds still.
Valverde is 3rd at the second time check. Contador will be next.
Contador has pushed his advantage over Froome back out to 9 seconds. The Spaniard is 2nd at the second time check by two seconds.
Contador is on the descent now as Froome approaches the top of the climb. He's 16 seconds down on Contador at the top of the climb. If it stays like this Contador will be in red at the finish.
Rodriguez is 56 seconds down at the second time check. Again, that's not bad at all, considering he was 42 seconds down at the first time check. The descent is going to be crucial for him.
Contador hasn't tired, he still has that aggressive cadence, and he's pulled out a 20 second lead over Froome.
Second time check, 23.5km
1.Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) 35:42
2.Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:02
3.Chris Froome (Sky) +0:18
4.Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +0:27
5.Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:37
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:56
Roche approaches the line: 15th, 2:21 down on Kessiakoff.
The technical descent is playing into Contador's hands and the lead is now at 26 seconds.
Daniel Moreno crosses the line in 10th 2:02 down.
Gesink is 8th over the line. That's a good time for the Dutch climber. 1:42 down.
Valverde comes over the line in 2nd. 1:02. down.
Here comes Contador he wont take the stage but could be in red still. He's second fastest, 17 seconds down on Kessiakoff.
Froome will be next. He was 26 seconds down on Contador a few kilometres ago. He crosses the line 39 seconds down on Kessiakoff, and 22 down on Contador.
Rodriguez is racing to save his race lead. He was 52 seconds down at the last check and started the day 1:00 up on Contador.
He sprints to the line. 53:53, one minute behind Contador.
Will the leader's jersey go to Contador or Rodriguez?
Kessiakoff wins the stage. His first grand tour stage.
I think Rodriguez leads by one second on GC.
In GC Rodriguez leads by one second, Froome at 16 seconds and Valverde at 59.
1 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team 0:52:36
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:17
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:39
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:08
5 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:09
6 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:15
7 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:16
8 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica - GreenEdge 0:01:17
9 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:01:24
10 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:34
GC top 10:
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 40:26:15
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:01
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:16
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:59
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:27
6 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:02:54
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:39
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:04:08
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:22
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:05:10
Thanks for joining us today. You can find a report, images and results all here.