Double Giro d’Italia runner-up Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) admitted he did not have an ideal day on Thursday’s first summit finish of the Vuelta, but argued that “in any case it’s Sunday” - a longer climb to Valdelinares ski station - “that’s the real test.”
Urán lost 1-04 to stage winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), finishing 19th, as the Spaniard’s relentlessly fast pace left most of the favourites in trouble. He is now 14th overall, and is 1-18 back.
“I got through this stage well, although I suffered at the finish,” Urán said as he waited to ride back down the descent to the waiting team buses.
“They told me it was a very special climb, I thought it was very hard, and I suffered. But it’s Sunday that’s the real test.”
He was refreshingly honest about how he actually felt, form-wise, after the stage: “Pretty normal,” was his terse answer. But longer, steadier climbs like Valdelinares have certainly proved to be the kind that suit Urán better in the past. And with two second places in two Giri - not to mention a time trial win in Italy - he cannot be ruled out of the Vuelta GC battle yet.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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