Geniez victorious in Vuelta queen stage to Peyragudes

Alexandre Geniez ( won the queen stage of the Vuelta a Espana, riding alone to the mountaintop finish at Peyragudes in France. He was part of a large group which got away early on the stage, and along the way dropped all his companions.

Second place went to Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), with Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) holding on for third after attacking his GC rivals on the Port de Bales climb.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) again defended his overall lead with apparent ease. Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) is still second at 50 seconds, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) third at 1:42.

While Geniez took a well deserved win, the true race was that within the favourites' group. Roche had jumped early in an attempt to make up lost time. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Nibali and Horner all kept close watch on one another, every now and then pulling ahead or chasing to make their mark, with Domenico Pozzovivo dangling at the back. In the end, the all crossed the finish line together, only 15 second behind Roche. Nibali made a point of leading the group into the finish.

It was a breakthrough win for 25-year-old Geniez, whose only previous pro win was a stage at the Tour of Austria in 2011. The crowds at the French ski resort joyously celebrated their homeland winner.

"This was such a good day, it was the best day for me. I was a bit lucky but racing in France made it a special day," Geniez said.

"It was good group of six riders in the break and everyone played the game and cooperated to take the break as far clear as possible. Then on the last climb we all rode at our own speed."

"The bunch came back but I still had some power to stay away. I didn't enjoy the last few kilometres because you never know if you are going to be caught or if you can be happy. Fortunately I can be happy."

Geniez had joined the 28-man strong group which got away about 23 km into the stage. He was one of the first to jump when the group fell apart on the second climb of the day, and a six-rider group formed which held together until the ascent of the third climb. He climbed to the top with Caja Rural's Andre Cardoso, dropping him on the descent and then tackling the final climb alone.

How it unfolded

The day started out dry, with only one rider not starting: Thomas Marczynski of Vacansoleil-DCM who became ill overnight.

The first of the day's four climbs came almost immediately. The Puerto del Canto (category 1) topped out at km 31.4 and featured a 24.4km long climb. Several riders and groups tried to get away on the ascent, but the first efforts were unsuccessful.

After 23km, Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) took off and soon a 28-man-strong group formed. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) took the mountain points, with Serge Pauwels (OPQS). Andre Cardoso (Caja Rural), Mikael Cherel (AG2R) and Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) behind him. However the peloton was not going to let a group get away again and held the escapees to within three minutes.

The rain started up again, although it was notably warmer than the day before. But things were bad enough to start the list of abandons, with Philippe Gilbert (BMC) calling it quits about 60 km into the day. Others followed with nine riders quitting the race during the stage.

The breakaway group was too large to be successful,and on the climb up the second mountain, Puerto de la Bonaigua, the group started coming apart. Barguil, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) and Francis de Greef (Lotto Belisol) were the first to go on the attack and soon a new group formed as they were joined by Cherel, Cardoso and Edet.

This smaller group was more successful and soon had over two minutes on the chase group and a maximum of 8:03 on the peloton. Edet took the second mountain ranking as well, ahead of Cardoso, Cherel, Barguil and Geniez.

Astana got serious about the chase and that, combined with a long but gradual and easy descent, started bringing the gap down. The abandons continued along the way, with a total of eight by about km 140.

The first intermediate sprint of the day came on that descent, at km 139. De Greef won it, followed by Cardoso and Cherel. At that time the gaps were 2:55 to the large chase group and 5:30 to the peloton. Both of those gaps had dropped slightly by the time they crossed over into France, about 11km later.

Sun and warmer temperatures up to 27°C greeted the riders there, much to their relief. The first climb on French soil was the Col du Port de Bales. The category 1 climb is 19.2km long with an average gradient of 6.2%, but with sections up to 10.5%.

As the six leaders started up this third climb, they had 3:30 on the chasers and 4:40 on the field. The group of chasers had long since started falling apart and was getting smaller all the time. The lead group was also getting smaller. With 35km to go, Geniez and Cardoso were alone in the front, with the peloton at 5:18, with riders sprinkled along the way between.

The two leaders crossed over the top with a gap of 5:05 over their nearest chasers. Nicholas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), who had lost time and dropped in the GC in the previous stage, attacked out of the peloton in an attempt to work his way back up in the rankings. He crossed the mountain ranking about 20 seconds ahead of the field.

A solo effort

Geniez was the better descender, and the Frenchman took off on his own, with just over 27km to go. Roche was joined by teammate Oliver Zaugg, who dropped back from the break, and they slowly ground out a minute lead over the peloton. That didn't seem to particularly bother race leader Vincenzo Nibali or his Astana team. The Irish rider had come into the stage 4:06 down but it did park a chase by to limit Pinot's losses.

With some 11 km to go, things perked up in the group of favourites, which by now was down to about 20 riders. Roche's action spurred the others into hopes of making up time, with the result that Astana firmly took control of the group. Nibali kept a close eye on his nearest rival, Horner.

With 10km to go, and on the final climb, Alejandro Valverde dared to move up, and that was too much for Nibali. He wanted to show who was in charge here and took off from the field, closely accompanied by Horner. Having proven himself, he fell back into the group.

Rigoberto Uran was the next go, but didn't get away. Joaquim Rodriguez quickly drew Horner and Nibali to his rear wheel as he moved forward. He wasn't about to give up, and attacked again, but his rivals were quick to mark him. In the meantime, Roche's lead over the group had dropped to half a minute. RadioShack moved to the head of the group, with Robert Kiserlovski leading and Horner on second wheel. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) and Leo König (NetApp-Endura) had trouble keeping up.

UP ahead Geniez continued to power on in the sunshine, suffering alone on the 9% gradient sections, but gamely heading on with the goal of a stage win ahead of him. Sanchez recovered from whatever his problem was, and shot past the GC group. The alarm bells went off and the others moved up to rope him in again, and the Basque rider had trouble holding on the the group.

As Geniez passed under the 1km marker, Horner picked up the speed, dragging the rest of the group, now down to five, with him. Nibali moved back to the front, to maintain his mastery.

Geniez was able to happily cruise into the finish, with no rival anywhere in sight. Second place finally went to Lampre's Michele Scarponi about three minutes later, with Roche third at 3:05. The favourites came in together at 3:20.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Full Results
1Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr6:20:12
2Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:03:03
3Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:03:07
4Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:03:20
5Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack LeopardRow 5 - Cell 2
7Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) KatushaRow 6 - Cell 2
8Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 7 - Cell 2
9José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:23
10David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 9 - Cell 2
11Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:03:45
12Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:03:56
13Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 12 - Cell 2
14Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 13 - Cell 2
15Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:04:55
16Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard0:05:08
17Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:05:24
18Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:05:46
19Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha0:06:13
20Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:06:35
21Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team0:06:39
22Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:07:00
23Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:07:15
24Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:07:24
25Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:08:13
26Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr0:08:17
27Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:08:28
28Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:32
29Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:08:55
30Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:09:14
31Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team0:10:59
32Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 31 - Cell 2
33Jose Joao Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura0:11:58
34Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Argos-Shimano0:12:16
35Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling0:12:51
36Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:13:06
37Maciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:14:18
38Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:15:07
39Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 39 - Cell 2
41Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar Team0:15:16
42Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 41 - Cell 2
43Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 42 - Cell 2
44Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 43 - Cell 2
45Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 45 - Cell 2
47Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha0:15:20
49Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard0:15:49
50Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:16:23
51Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team0:16:26
52Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr0:16:57
54Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 53 - Cell 2
55Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:18:16
56Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:21:00
57Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 56 - Cell 2
58Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 57 - Cell 2
59Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky ProcyclingRow 58 - Cell 2
60Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) KatushaRow 59 - Cell 2
61Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha0:21:03
62Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha0:21:07
63Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard0:21:29
64Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack LeopardRow 63 - Cell 2
65Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 64 - Cell 2
66Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 65 - Cell 2
67Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:23:05
68Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 67 - Cell 2
69Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky Procycling0:23:25
70Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:24:14
71Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha0:25:41
72Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:25:45
73Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La MondialeRow 72 - Cell 2
74Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack LeopardRow 73 - Cell 2
75Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 75 - Cell 2
77Christian Knees (Ger) Sky ProcyclingRow 76 - Cell 2
78Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.frRow 77 - Cell 2
79Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack LeopardRow 78 - Cell 2
80Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 79 - Cell 2
81Iker Camano (Spa) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 80 - Cell 2
82Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.frRow 82 - Cell 2
84Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 83 - Cell 2
85Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:26:49
87Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 86 - Cell 2
88Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 87 - Cell 2
89Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:27:36
91Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack LeopardRow 90 - Cell 2
92Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:30:36
93Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 92 - Cell 2
94Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:31:28
96Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:32:37
97Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:35:09
98Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 97 - Cell 2
99Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 99 - Cell 2
101Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 100 - Cell 2
102José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Luca Paolini (Ita) KatushaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-SharpRow 103 - Cell 2
105Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 105 - Cell 2
107Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 106 - Cell 2
108Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 107 - Cell 2
109Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 108 - Cell 2
110Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 109 - Cell 2
111Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 111 - Cell 2
113Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 112 - Cell 2
114Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-SharpRow 113 - Cell 2
115Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 114 - Cell 2
116Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 115 - Cell 2
117Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 116 - Cell 2
118Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 117 - Cell 2
119Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 118 - Cell 2
120Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
121Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 120 - Cell 2
122Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 121 - Cell 2
123Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 122 - Cell 2
124Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 126 - Cell 2
128Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 127 - Cell 2
129Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 128 - Cell 2
130Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 129 - Cell 2
131Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 130 - Cell 2
132Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 131 - Cell 2
133Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 132 - Cell 2
134Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.frRow 133 - Cell 2
135Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 134 - Cell 2
136Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 135 - Cell 2
137Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 136 - Cell 2
138Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 137 - Cell 2
139Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 138 - Cell 2
140Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 139 - Cell 2
141Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 140 - Cell 2
142Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 141 - Cell 2
143Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 142 - Cell 2
144Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 143 - Cell 2
145David Tanner (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
146Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 145 - Cell 2
147Luca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 146 - Cell 2
148Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-MeridaRow 147 - Cell 2
149Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 148 - Cell 2
150Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:42:10
DNSTomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFGraeme Brown (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFPhilippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 152 - Cell 2
DNFSimone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 153 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 154 - Cell 2
DNFTony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 155 - Cell 2
DNFZdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 156 - Cell 2
DNFKristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFBaden Cooke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 159 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally