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Complete Live Report
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Hello there and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live race centre. It's stage 11 of the Vuelta a España, and ahead of us we have no fewer than 207.8 kilometres linking Mombuey and Luintra in Galicia. It's the longest stage of the entire race and, with hilly terrain throughout, could provide fertile ground for a breakaway.
The riders have just rolled out of Mombuey and the race will soon be underway.
For the hardcore Vuelta aficionados among you, Luintra may well be ringing some bells. That'll be because the Vuelta finished here in 2016, using the exact same 30-odd kilometres over the Cat-3 climb to the Mirador de Cabezoas, then down, and then over a small uncategorised climb before the finish in Luintra.
Simon Yates won that day with a deft attack on the uncategorised climb. That was his first Grand Tour stage win, and he's back again today as leader of the Vuelta. If it's of interest, here's our stage report from that day.
The flag drops and the attacks begin. There should be plenty of interest in getting int he break today.
Vincenzo Nibali attacks
Nibali is joined by six riders but they're considered too dangerous and the peloton comes back to them.
A new breakaway attempt goes, this time containing just three riders, but three strong riders in Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).
- 187.8km remaining from 207.8km
This trio have opened a gap of 30 seconds over the peloton. 20km on the clock.
The frantic start to this Vuelta stage is being overshadowed somewhat by the breaking news that Bahrain-Merida's Kanstantsin Siutsou has tested positive for EPO. Here's the story:
Meanwhile in the Vuelta things are showing no signs of settling down. Plenty of teams will have wanted to be in the break today and riders are pinging off the front of the bunch in a bid to get across to the three leaders.
A chase group of 11 forms but it's soon snuffed out as the peloton continues its charge. The three leaders are only 20 seconds ahead.
- 176.8km remaining from 207.8km
It's been a rapid start to proceedings and we're already at the foot of the first climb of the day.
Puerto de Padornelo
Teuns, De Gendt, and Postlberger hit the climb with a lead of just 14 seconds.
That trio are quickly caught as the road heads uphill
The fast pace continues on the climb but no moves going at the moment.
We're nearing the summit now and four riders are off the front.
The group swells to six. In there are De Plus, De Marchi, Geniez, Villella, Pellizotti, and Schultz.
It may only be a Cat-3 climb but plenty of riders are getting dropped already here. Among them - and this is a genuine surprise - is Peter Sagan.
- 169.8km remaining from 207.8km
The six escapees take a lead of 17 seconds over the top of the Puerto de Padornelo.
KOM Result at Puerto del Padornelo (km 37.3)
1. Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida) 3pts
2. Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale) 2pts
3. Davide Villellla (Astana) 1pt
Bauke Mollema and Richard Carapaz attack now in a bid to make it across to the six leaders.
Sagan is back in the bunch.
Mollema and Carapaz make it across to make it 8 at the head of affairs.
They're not being allowed off the leash, though. 10 seconds is the gap back to the strung-out peloton.
- 157.8km remaining from 207.8km
Michal Kwiatkowski tries an attack now. That appears to be the final straw, and the breakaway group comes to nothing...
49km covered in the first hour! Yikes...
Problem for Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). The Colombian is off the back and chasing at 1:30.
- 151.8km remaining from 207.8km
The riders tackle a short, uncategorised climb. Still the attacks come thick and fast.
This situation is a making for a complete nightmare for Lopez, who has teammates with him but has only dragged himself six seconds closer to the pack.
Another attack from Nibali!
Nibali is caught but fresh attacks go now.
Lopez is still one minute down.
19 riders off the front now with a slim advantage.
Kwiatkowski is in there, and surely this won't be allowed away.
- 140km remaining from 207.8km
Promptly, Mitchelton-Scott, who are having something of a headache of a day protecting the leader's jersey on the shoulders of Simon Yates, shut the move down. All together again.
Lopez is at 50 seconds. Here's his Spanish teammate Omar Fraile talking this morning to the Vuelta's media team about the stage.
"I think today can be the hardest day of La Vuelta. Everybody knows about here, we’re arriving to Galicia and there isn’t a single meter that is flat ground in Galicia. With 207km, if it starts to rain… It can be an extremely hard day."
Mollema is one of those riders trying again and again. He has finished second from the break twice at this Vuelta and wants to make it third time lucky. Here we see him in a group of at least 10, with Majka, De Plus, and others.
13 riders in this latest breakaway attempt. It probably won't last long enough to make it worth me writing their names out, but here goes...
Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida)
Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)
Winner Anacona (Movistar)
Imanol Erviti (Movistar)
Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors)
Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac)
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky)
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)
Jesus Herrada (Cofidis)
Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data)
Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias)
The chaos continues
As grimly predicted, that 13-rider group comes to nothing. As the catch is made, however, the peloton splits in two...
This feels like a long time ago already. De Gendt, Postlberger, and Teuns off the front in one of today's many many breakaway attempts.
- 120km remaining from 207.8km
The peloton stitches itself back together. Nearly 90km on the clock already!
Lopez is getting there... 30 seconds is the gap now.
The latest attack comes from Ben King (Dimension Data), already a winner of two stages here. He's alone with a very slim lead over the peloton.
King is joined by Majka, Pernsteiner, and Rolland.
We're nearly at the second climb of the day, the Alto de Covelo. There's a feed zone just before the start but not sure a leisurely lunch is on the cards for anyone.
Lopez is back in the peloton.
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) abandons the Vuelta
The Frenchman seemed to get his season back on track with a victory on stage 6 but has just climbed off his bike and left the race. He's been back at the medical car today but not exactly sure why.
Here's Bouhanni with the doctor a little earlier
King's breakaway gang swells to nine but they're not getting away. 10 seconds is the gap.
- 115.8km remaining from 207.8km
The riders are on the climb now.
Alto de Covelo
Once again the move comes to nothing, and once again it's because of Kwiatkowski, who is proving quite the menace out there. The Team Sky rider cannot be discounted as a GC threat and his attacks are causing each breakaway attempt to be swiftly shut down. The breakaway hopefuls won't be best pleased with the Pole, and neither will Mitchelton-Scott, who have their hands very full today.
Cofidis confirm the Bouhanni abandon but give no reason for it.
High average speed klaxon
48km/h after two hours of racing.
10 riders on the move on the climb. Some familiar names in there - Majka, Teuns, Rolland.
They've only got five seconds, though, so I'm not falling into that trap of writing all their names out too soon...
Justified. The move comes to nothing as Team Sky this time bring it back.
Two more abandons to report: Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ).
We're over the top of Covelo now and descending, and a larger group has clipped away.
Preidler has had to pull out due to "dental problems", according to the FDJ team.
This large group looks to be getting away. We're hearing there are 19 riders in there, including Thibaut Pinot... Surely not...
- 100km remaining from 207.8km
Pinot is indeed in this group. Mitchelton surely can't let him go - he's only 2:33 down and a proven Grand Tour podium finisher - but it appears that's what's happening. 50 seconds is the gap now.
Here's the full list of riders in this break
Alessandro De Marchi, Nicolas Roche, Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team)
Thibaut Pinot, Léo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ)
Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida)
Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale)
Omar Fraile (Astana)
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)
Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)
Winner Anacona (Movistar)
Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data)
Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac)
Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha Alpecin)
Sergio Henao (Team Sky)
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)
Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros-RGA)
Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)
- 96km remaining from 207.8km
1:30 - this break is going...
Mitchelton-Scott have decided to stop chasing for now, playing the card of putting Jack Haig in the break to police things. Haig is 4:29 down on GC.
- 115.8km remaining from 207.8km
The gap extends past the 2:30 mark, and with that Pinot is the virtual overall leader of the Vuelta a España.
- 88km remaining from 207.8km
The gap goes up to 3:50!
It's not just Mitchelton threatened by Pinot; Movistar, Astana and the like also need to be really wary of letting this break have too much rope, especially with so many in there. But the gap continues to rise. It's not ballooning, but it's still going up.
Movistar are forced into action and come to the front of the peloton.
A calculated gamble, perhaps, from Mitchelton in sitting up when that Pinot move went. They're forcing the hands of the other GC teams. Too much bluffing and Pinot mugs them all off.
- 85km remaining from 207.8km
4:30 is the gap with 85km to go.
The longest stage of the Vuelta is absolutely flying by.
- 79.8km remaining from 207.8km
The breakaway riders are about to hit the third climb of the day.
Alto de Trives
The gap stabilises now as the peloton gets more of a grip on proceedings. 4:20.
It's Movistar who are doing the legwork on the front of the peloton.
It's a fresh day in northern Spain, a world away from the furnace of Andalucía. It's around 20 degrees and cloudy, with some showers threatening.
Movistar's pace-making is hurting Pinot and co. The gap is down to 3:45.
We're 5km from the top of the climb now. There's plenty of rotation at the front of the breakaway group. Plenty sitting at the back, too.
Quintana is back at the team car after a problem but they continue their charge on the front of the bunch.
As expected, Pinot's teammate Leo Vincent is doing some big turns in the break.
Race leader Simon Yates at the start this morning
Movistar's big powerhouse Imanol Erviti is the one doing the work at the head of the peloton. They have three men on the front, then it's Yates' Mitchelton-Scott squad.
The gap had been brought down to 3:30 but it's nudging out again now to 3:45.
The 19 breakaway riders are into the last kilometre of this climb.
Rolland attacks in sight of the KOM banner. Mollema sprints onto the wheel.
Mollema comes round and takes the full five points.
He has a teammate there to sit in front of him, but Pinot is shaking things up in the break with a big attack. Rolland follows initially but thinks again. Teuns joins Pinot, though.
Pinot, it seems, sensed a lack of collaboration and commitment from his companions.
The rest of the break don't seem fussed. They're all soft-pedalling.
- 64km remaining from 207.8km
Pinot and Teuns quickly gain 30 seconds on the rest of the break.
KOM results at Alto do Trives (km 139)
1. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 3 pts
2. Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac) 2 pts
3. Léo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ) 1 pt
Fraile buckles and attacks from the chase group. Henao is on the wheel and the group is stringing out and increasing in pace now.
Bizkarra accelerates now and Gibbons responds. Gibbons is surely the fastest finisher in this group.
Anacona attacks from the chase!
The Colombian has his Movistar team chasing hard in the peloton behind but he's rolling the dice here.
Compatriot Henao joins Anacona, while Haig steadily drags the group back together.
The leaders are on one of many uncategorised climbs, almost as steep as the Cat-2 climb they've just done. It's such leg-sapping terrain.
Pinot and Teuns have 20 seconds now.
It's constant attacks and lulls in the chase group.
Pinot looks over his shoulder. It was quite the gamble, rolling the dice in this way. He must have hoped more than one rider would go with him.
- 60km remaining from 207.8km
Pinot drops Teuns now and goes it alone. This is surreal.
Teuns gets back on the wheel but then loses it again, and now gets back on once more.
Pinot is expending a fair bit of energy here, and some 60km from the finish.
Peters attacks from the chase now.
Peters makes it across and Majka is the next to attack.
Pinot sees the riders coming across and springs out of the saddle and accelerates once more.
Whatever this is, it's anything but conservative racing from Pinot.
The gap back to the peloton has gone out to 4 minutes. Still Movistar setting the pace there.
The breakaway riders are heading downhill once again, and it's a big stretch of of gentle downhill on wide roads.
The breakaway is back together now.
- 55km remaining from 207.8km
Normal service is resumed as Leo Vincent hits the front for Pinot.
This was the problem last time - too many riders were content to let FDJ do the work. They don't even want Pinot in here, as he's the reason why they're being chased down, but if he is then they'll lean on him.
Bahrain-Merida have responded to the news of Siutsou's positive test. Here's our updated story.
Movistar continue to push on at the head of the peloton. Nelson Oliveira has taken over from Erviti, and the gap has come down to 3:10.
It's still Vincent on the front of the break. No one else is willing to work.
There's an intermediate sprint on a false flat and Mollema springs out of the saddle
That wasn't for the sprint points - the Dutchman continues his effort and has a gap as the road tilts downhill.
Pinot is chasing Mollema down this hill.
Mollema is pulling away, leaning fully into these sweeping bends.
- 45km remaining from 207.8km
The gap to the peloton is down to 2:40.
This is a fast descent and Mollema is fully committed. The rest of the breakaway riders are lined out several seconds behind.
After a small uphill interruption, this descent will lead to the foot of the final categorised climb of the day. Here's a reminder of the stage profile.
Mollema has a lead of 20 seconds over the rest of the break.
The peloton are now 2:49 back on Mollema, so 2:29 back on Pinot, who is no longer the virtual overall leader.
- 40km remaining from 207.8km
Mollema hits that uphill section and springs from the saddle once more, that head bobbing in his characteristic style. He has stretched his lead out to 30 seconds.
Movistar continue to shoulder the burden in the peloton. 3 minutes is the gap to Mollema.
Vincent is dropped from the break. That's understandable, as he has been pretty much the only one working in there since it went away.
Mollema is losing ground now. Pinot is coming across with Haig and Majka....
Pinot, Haig, and Majka make it across to form a quartet at the head of the race. Two riders are chasing behind while the rest of the break are further back.
Those two riders latch on to the Pinot quartet. It looks like Teuns and Henao.
The gap goes out to 3:12, and Pinot is back in the virtual lead.
Pinot leads the way as they descend once more. The rest of the breakaway riders are close to getting back in.
Pellizotti and Roche have joined Pinot and co at the head of the race to make a group of 8.
The two BMC riders at the front are in fact De Marchi and Roche. Teuns is in the chase group behind.
The 8 leaders have found 40 seconds over the rest of the break.
- 30km remaining from 207.8km
The leaders are just a few kilometres shy of the final climb of the day.
Mirador de Cabezoas
So, as we reach the endgame, the situation is as follows...
8 leaders (Pinot, Roche, De Marchi, Haig, Henao, Majka, Mollema, Pellizotti)
Rest of breakaway - 10 riders at 33 seconds
Peloton - at 3:10
As I say that, Benoot, Restrepo, and Teuns are on the verge of dragging themselves across.
The pace increases as that trio latches on to make it 11 out front.
Pinot hits the front of the lead group now.
Restrepo attacks now.
The climb to the Mirador de Cabezoas has begun.
Roche tracks the move from Restrepo. BMC have three riders in here and the tactical advantage.
Peters and Bizkarra have also made it back in now.
- 25km remaining from 207.8km
Roche sits on Restrepo's wheel as the Katusha rider pushes on. Bizkarra attacks from the group now and again BMC track it, sending De Marchi on this wheel.
Pellizotti goes next and the third BMC rider, Teuns, hops onto the wheel.
These moves are going, and now we see a response from the rest of the riders.
Restrepo and Roche have found 25 seconds.
Roche decides to work now.
De Marchi drops Bizkarra and reaches Roche and Restrepo.
Mollema loses contact and has to fight to get back on to the back of the break.
De Marchi comes through and ups the pace, but he puts Roche in difficulty. He looks back at his teammate, unsure what to do.
Roche can't quite hold the pace here.
De Marchi attacks and drops Restrepo!
Pinot attacks from the breakaway group now. Teuns responds, and everyone else is in the wheel.
The peloton are closing the gap to Pinot. They're still 3:05 down on the front of the race, but De Marchi has half a minute over the rest of the breakaway riders.
- 22km remaining from 207.8km
De Marchi is 4km from the top of the climb and is pulling away.
Still Movistar doing the work in the peloton on the climb.
- 20km remaining from 207.8km
Pinot leads the main breakaway group, but they're 43 seconds behind De Marchi. Restrepo is still chasing in between.
Anacona and the rest of the dropped breakaway riders are caught by the peloton. Anacona gets straight to work on the front of that Movistar train.
Roche is back in the main breakaway group.
Everyone's leaning on Pinot in the chase, and the Frenchman eases up and asks what they're doing.
Into the last kilometre of the climb for De Marchi and he now has 50 seconds.
Teuns sits on Pinot's wheel as the Frenchman puffs out his cheeks, grits his teeth, and gets on with it. BMC are playing this nicely at the moment.
Restrepo is back in the picture. The Colombian claws his way back to De Marchi 500m from the summit.
Restrepo is first across the line at the KOM point at the top of the Cabezoas climb, but there was no fight for points - this is all about the stage win.
The gap is coming down. 34 seconds now, between De Marchi/Restrepo and the Pinot group.
The road heads downhill once more. This is looking good for Pinot. He's still in the virtual overall lead with just 18km to go. He probably won't take the jersey but does stand to take some time back - most of which was lost due to a mechanical problem last week.
Movistar lead the peloton over the top of the climb - or what's left of it. There's a pretty sizeable gruppetto further back.
- 15km remaining from 207.8km
15 to go and De Marchi and Restrepo extend their lead back out to 45 seconds.
It seems Pinot and the others are looking at each other once again, debating over workload.
- 13km remaining from 207.8km
This is looking good once again for De Marchi and Restrepo. 52 seconds is their gap with 13km to go.
Henao attacks from the break. Pinot feigns disinterest and lets others through to do the chasing.
Pellizotti and Peters have now settled into a chasing duo.
- 10km remaining from 207.8km
10km to go and De Marchi and Restrepo have a lead of 43 seconds.
De Marchi is the more experienced, but could Restrepo out-kick the Italian - who was roundly beaten by Clarke and Mollema in this situation on stage 5. Neither are known for their finishing speed but after such a long, fast, hilly day, it should simply come down to the fresher legs.
Peter and Pellizotti are at 55 seconds now. Pinot and the rest a little further back.
Meanwhile the peloton are 3:10 behind the front of the race.
- 5.5km remaining from 207.8km
Just over 5km to go now, and this is how the run-in looks.
De Marchi looks more uncomfortable than Restrepo and the Italian forces the young rider onto the front as the road heads uphill.
De Marchi accelerates now but Restrepo won't be shaken.
In the chase, Pellizotti drops Peters but is surely too far back at 45 seconds.
The heavens have opened and it's bucketing down.
EF-Drapac attack from the peloton...
Big acceleration from four of Uran's men.
De Marchi attacks Restrepo
De Marchi has a gap
It's an attack from Michael Woods for EF. He's well out of the GC picture.
The peloton has splintered on this uncategorised climb after the Woods attack.
Woods is caught.
Big damage in the peloton but no top-tier names caught out for the moment, it seems.
- 3.5km remaining from 207.8km
De Marchi is pulling away from Restrepo at the head of the race.
There are only around 20 riders left in the peloton.
They sweep past Rolland, the last remaining straggler from the break.
De Marchi is blowing hard but knows he has to go all-in here. Just 2.5km to go to finish the job.
Rolland is working on the front now as they catch riders who dropped off the Pinot group, like Haig.
De Marchi leads Restrepo by 25 seconds. The GC group is at 2:20. Pinot somewhere in between.
De Marchi is on the downhill now and surely this is in the bag.
Just a couple of treacherously wet corners to take.
- 1km remaining from 207.8km
Flamme rouge for De Marchi.
De Marchi comes into the final couple of hundred metres and looks around. He's got it.
Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) wins stage 11 of the Vuelta a España
The Italian stretches his arms out and celebrates his victory.
Here comes a downcast Restrepo, crossing the line 28 seconds down.
Back to the chasers now, and how much time can Pinot gain?
Pellizotti finishes alone for third place.
Gorka Izaguirre leads the vastly reduced peloton.
Peters finishes alone in 4th
Quintana attacks from the GC group in the final kilometre.
Lopez goes now. And now Bennett.
Pinot crosses the line in a group 1:50 down on De Marchi.
And now Quintana and the GC riders cross the line, just 10 seconds down on Pinot!
1 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team 4:52:38
2 Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:28
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:59
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:24
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:45
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:46
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:46
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:01:48
9 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:01:50
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
General classification after stage 11
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 45:57:40
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:01
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:14
4 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:17
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
7 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:27
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:32
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:43
10 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:47
One change at the top of the overall standings is that Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) has slipped from fourth to sixth overall. The German lost 8 seconds there in the finale.
Here's Pinot, who has a scant reward of 13 seconds for all his efforts today
"It was a good strategy. It might have worked out, it might not have done, but I wanted to have fun and race aggressively."
Here's the stage winner De Marchi
"If I waited for the sprint for sure I'd have finished second. The only option I had was to try everything on the last climb. Honestly, I didn't have my best legs, but it was just in the head.
"At one moment today I just said that I just had to keep trying because it was a real battle. Every move was looking like the good one and then it would come back. I just said 'ok I just do the maximum I can'."
Here's our report page
De Marchi is 32 and has been in I don't know how many breakaways, but this is only his fourth win as a pro. Three of them, interestingly, have come at the Vuelta - both also solo efforts, in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
De Marchi seemed mightily relieved to bag his first win in three years.
"Sometimes you think you submit yourself and you've lost the feeling. You need to come back first at the line sometimes."
A day of aggression for Pinot
The winning move. De Marchi drops Restrepo on the final incline.
Full results are in and we can see it's yet another bad day for Fabio Aru, who lost 41 seconds at the end there. The Italian is now 13th overall at 1:49.
This is what's on the agenda tomorrow
We'll be back right here tomorrow for live coverage of stage 12. In the meantime, keep an eye on Cyclingnews for all the reaction to today's stage and latest from the Vuelta and indeed the pro peloton across the world. Hasta mañana!