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Vuelta a España 2013: Stage 12

Today's 12th stage is a rolling on from Maella to Tarragona. This could be another good chance for a break group to be successful.

The Vuelta carries on with a transitional stage today before the climbing starts up again this weekend. This is technically a flat stage, and we may see a sprint finish. Then again, we may well see a break group stay away until the end.

132km remaining from 164km

As so often happens, the break group of the day started virtually immediately after the sharp start. Today's lucky trio is Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Cedric Pineau (FdJ) and Fabrizio Ferrari (Caja Rural). After 32 km, they have a gap of 6:22.
 

There were only 184 riders at the start. Marco Pinotti of BMC did not start, due to a sinus infection. We get those, too, and can confirm that they are no fun.
 

Most of the first 140km can be described more as rolling than flat. But there is indeed a long flat run-in to the finish. If there are any sprinters still around by then, we may just see another mass sprint.

Here is Cyclingnews' look at today's stage. Click me.
 

There was of course one more rider not at the start today, Kevin de Weert of OPQS. He had a bad crash in yesterday's time trial, which left him with some serious injuries.

 

 

114km remaining from 164km

After 50 km, the gap has dropped marginally, to 5:57. When last heard of, Orica-GreenEdge was leading the chase, since Astana was showing no interest in so doing.

It's a hot and sunny one again today, with temps running from 25-30° C.  And sunshine. Lots of sunshine.

A sprint stage usually entails a three-km zone at the end, to establish finishing times for safety reasons. Not today. Today we will have a five-km zone, the technical jury has decided. Why? Because of  “the presence in the path of several roundabouts and a junction of roads "in that section of the course.

The leader's jersey changed hands – or shoulders – again yesterday, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) taking it back from Chris Horner (RadioShack).  Here our top ten in GC coming into today's stage:

1     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     41:22:22      
2     Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     0:00:33      
3     Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team     0:00:46      
4     Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard            
5     Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha     0:02:33    
 

With 105km to go, the gap is at 5:40. It had crept back up over the six minute mark, now is back down.

Daniel Moreno of Katusha leads the points ranking.

1     Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha     97      pts
2     Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team     90      
3     Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     87      
4     Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard     61      
5     Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha     61      
6     Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard     58      
7     Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge     53      
8     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     48      
9     Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling     45      
10     Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura     44     

94km remaining from 164km

Lampre finally decided to join in on the action. With their help, the gap has started coming down and is now 4:27.

Horner may not lead the race, but he is still the King of the Mountains.

     Result
1     Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard     18      pts
2     Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     15      
3     Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura     12      
4     Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha     12      
5     Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits     11      
6     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     11      
7     Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida     10      
8     Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team     9      
9     Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale     7      
10     Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team     6    

 

Horner finished only 20th in the time trial, which dropped him from first to fourth. He is not going to give up, though, and will keep on fighting for the overall win.

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) leads the combination ranking.


1     Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     7      pts
2     Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard     11      
3     Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team     13      
4     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     15      
5     Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha     15      
6     Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura     24      
7     Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha     26      
8     Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale     26      
9     Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling     29      
10     Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ     45      

 

The riders are now starting to near the day's only climb, the Alto del Collet.  It is not particularly steep (3.6%) but long (7.5 km). It really shouldn't present a problem to anyone.
 

Astana can claim the honour of being best team in the race at this point.

1     Astana Pro Team     123:19:33      
2     Team Saxo - Tinkoff     0:00:33      
3     Movistar Team     0:02:57      
4     Euskaltel-Euskadi     0:08:56      
5     Katusha     0:11:18      
6     Team Netapp - Endura     0:12:02      
7     Radioshack Leopard     0:13:56      
8     FDJ     0:19:24      
9     BMC Racing Team     0:24:08      
10     Sky Procycling     0:29:07      
 

Today is the first of the two stages in Catalunya, a big moment for Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez. “We were four Catalan riders at the beginning of the Vuelta”, he said, “but we’re only three left after Alberto Losada pulled out: David De La Cruz and Juan Antonio Flecha who will arrive in his pueblo tomorrow. So it should be a bunch sprint today and a breakaway with Flecha tomorrow. On GC, nothing will happen until the Pyrenean stages this week-end.”

In an unusual move, the feed zone was on the climb, only 4km from the summit. All has gone well, though.

The three leaders have in fact gone over the top, and in this order: ZIngle, Ferrari and Pineau.

Horner lost the jersey, but Nibali took it over. And complained about not being able to take any medication for a wasp sting.

Lookslike a mechanical for Tiziano dell'Antonio of Cannondale. He has a drink while he waits.

David De La Cruz (NetApp-Endura) is happy to race in Catalunya, even though he’s more than 200km away from home, but he’s also very cautious: “I have a lesion on my knee since Monday. Yesterday, it hurt pretty badly, so today, I’ll just stay in a bunch very quietly and wait for better days to come.”

62km remaining from 164km

With just under 63 km to go, the gap has dropped to the four minute mark --now at 3:59 even.

There are a few bumps in the road from here in, but mostly it is flat. With the gap dropping nicely, we can anticipate a mass sprint.

3:39 is the gap now, with the peloton getting serious about things.

The big question now is. will Fabian Cancellara go for the Worlds road title, or the Worlds time trial title, or both? His win yesterday helped to muddy the situation.
 

50km remaining from 164km

The gap contnues to fall. With 50 km to go, it is at 3:07.

Tony Martin will undergo an apparent bone graft after the season. The repairs will be to his left hand, which he broke in a crash on the first stage of last year's Tour de France.

The peloton has entered a village, with narrow roads between the buildings. Maxim Iglinskiy of Astana has crashed, apparently hitting either the curb or the building,which is right there. He looks to be in great pain with his right arm.

He is riding again, though.

Still just over three minutes for Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Cedric Pineau (FdJ) and Fabrizio Ferrari (Caja Rural).

David de la Cruz of NetApp-Endura is way back amongst the team cars, or behind them even. We don't know that kind of problem he is having.

Several riders have to jump up onto a traffic island at a turning. Spectators were also on the traffic island, so it was a bit tricky.

41km remaining from 164km

The tide has definitely changed and the escapees can probably accept the fact that they will be caught. The gap is now at 2:44.

Here is some signing news: Maxime Monfort goes from RadioShack to Lotto Belisol.

Lampre at the head of the chasing peloton. We see lots of Cannondale green lurking not so far away, too.

33km remaining from 164km

Exactly two minutes between the two groups now.

We have two birthday boys in the peloton today. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) is 31, and Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) is 29.

Happy Birthday to both!

The gap is really dropping now. With 30 km to go, it is down to 1:13.

The coast is indeed approaching! Lots of blue there in the background.

The gap is now under a minute and the cars are coming out from between the leaders and the peloton.

Kiko Garcia may be the team manager for the new Alonso team. The former pro rider told Cyclingnews that he is very much involved in the planning.

If the three leaders had time and interest, they could peek over to their right and see the beach and water. It really is right there!

A Belkin rider now at the head of the field,only 29 seconds behind the leaders.

18km remaining from 164km

NetApp-Endura has moved into the lead work and they three leaders are -- caught!

There are a lot of roundabouts here. In fact, we expect to see a whole lot of roundabouts and road furniture from here on in. That is why the 3km zone has been extended to being the 5km zone today.

Let's hope everyone stays upright today!

15km remaining from 164km

Two riders are off the front of the field, at the intermediate sprint.

One was a Cannondale rider and the second was Tony Martin (OPQS). He decides to keep on going -- no doubt figuring it is about time he wins a stage here, one way or another!

World Champion Philippe Gilbert is very close to the peloton. Martin wants to win a stage here, but Gilbert is probably getting desperate to win something this year.

Astana moving up to take charge of things.

The Cannondale rider who broke out and won the second intermediate sprint was Ivan Basso, who thus picked up three bonus seconds.

The peloton may have been moving slowly earlier in this stage, but they are jetting along at 55km/h.

Tony Martin has long been caught, by the way.

They are approaching the 5km marker.

Mechanical for Pozzovivo.

Indeed, lots of roundabouts, turns, tunnels, road furniture, narrow roads, wide roads, etc. here....

A straight shot at the moment, almost literally on the beach.

Two km to go.

Garmin lookign to set things up for Tyler Farrar.

And lots of curves and turns here at full speed....

The last km!

Up a hill and then a right hand turn at the top.

Lotto at the head of things.

Boasson Hagen charges out, and it looked like he would beat Gilbert who was chasing furiously. And at the last second, the World Champion moved out to take the win!

Boasson Hagen had a huge gap on Gilbert, but the BMC rider really just ground it out to take the win.

Hard to believe, but that is Gilbert's first win this season, and of course his first in the World Champion's jersey.

Lampre's Maximiliano Richeze took third.

Tony Martin had only a short stay in the lead, as he ws caught with 10km to go.

Here is our top ten on the day:

1    Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
2    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
3    Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
4    Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
5    Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6    Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
7    Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8    Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano
9    Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
10    Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura

There may have been gaps at the 5km marker, and there were gaps at the finish, and there seems to be the usual amount of confusion about results, at least as far as the GC is concerned.

44 riders were given the same time as the finisher, with a 50 second gap thereafter.

Garmn-Sharp worked hard to get Tyler Farrar up to the front, but to no avail. BMC did a better job, with Gilbert up near the head of things for much of the last two km.

We are still waiting for a definitive GC. There seems to be some debate as to whether Pozzovivo lost time or not.

But we can at least give you the top five: 

1    Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    45:26:06
2    Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:00:31
3    Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:46
4    Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard    0:00:46
5    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    0:02:33
 

At last we have our official top ten in GC:

1    Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    1/1/00 21:26
2    Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:00:31
3    Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:46
4    Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard    0:00:46
5    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    0:02:33
6    Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    0:02:44
7    Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    0:02:52
8    Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ    0:03:35
9    Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:03:46
10    Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha    0:03:56

That's it for today, thanks for joining us. Be sure to read along again tomorrow!

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