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Vuelta a España 2015: Stage 14

 Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage from stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana.

 

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We pick up the action with 50km of the race covered but still 165 to go, including another mountain top finish. We've had a quick start to proceedings with a number of attacks from the front of the peloton but as things stand the bunch are all together. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) has been on the move several times already today but the peloton haven't let anything go yet.

 

Here's where we stand on GC coming into the race, Aru still with an advantage, albeit a small one, over Rodriguez and Dumoulin in third.

 

1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 51:33:19
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:27
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:30
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:28
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:01:29
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:52
7 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:54
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:58
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:51
10 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar

 

Danger man and pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana remains in 11th overall at 3:07. His chances of wining this race depend on how he was recovered from a recent cold.Three minutes might seem like a lot in this race but if anyone can overturn that time gap it's the Colombian climber - if he's on form and healthy. His condition and strength have been somewhat patchy in the race so far.

 

A bit of news to bring you from the early moment of today's stage: Geoffrey Soupe (Cofidis) is out of the Vuelta. So too is Samuel Sanchez (BMC) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). Sanchez had been down in 20th on GC so that's a blow for BMC, who have already lost Tejay van Garderen in this year's race. 

 

159km remaining from 215km

 Some better news for BMC is that Alessandro De Marchi is once again on the march and this time his attack appears to have worked. He's moves off the front with Salvatore Puccio (Sky), Mikael Cherel (AG2R - La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Colombia). Jose Joaquin Rojas is giving chase but should be able to make up the ground. Surely they'll wait for him so that Movistar give the break a chance.

The leaders already have a gap of 1'12 over the peloton so the signs are good for this little move. There's still a long way to go in the stage though.

 

152km remaining from 215km

And Rojas has indeed joined the party. A party of five, if you will: Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia). 

 

The climb is straightforward up to Brañavieja, where stages used to finish, but the road gets steeper beyond that, although perhaps not steep enough to split the favourites decisively.

 

David López (Team Sky rider):

"I know these roads really well as they pass through my home region. The final climb isn’t too hard but it climbs all the way up to a ski station so it is quite long."

 

145km remaining from 215km

75km covered and the break now have 4;45 over the peloton, led by Astana, who roll through at a moderate but relaxed tempo. It's a bit like your Sunday club run, except these riders actually warrant 15K bikes and aren't going to talk incessantly about which gear ratio they're going to use in the near to distant future.

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed no to far back and not 100%

@potomos Sat, 5th Sep 2015 11:32:20

@Cyclingnewsfeed No way

@valdeswhite Sat, 5th Sep 2015 11:40:41

So we've asked you via the wonderful world of Twitter whether Nairo Quintana can still win the Vuelta. He's at 3'07 off the lead coming into today's stage. Keep your responses coming in. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed With 38.7km Time trial, I doubt Quintana can win. Tom Dumoulin is my favorite.

@DominicLeduc Sat, 5th Sep 2015 11:45:09

The five leaders: Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia) have pushed their advantage out to 5'30 over the peloton. It's actually a very decent break with plenty of horsepower and experience. de Marchi has won in the Vuelta too - last year - and there's no real weak link in the move. 

 

Rojas was in the break yesterday too so it will be interesting to see how he holds up when the climbing starts. He's obviously Movistar's man on the move, having chased down the original four-man move earlier in the stage. He's a strong all-rounder - who can sprint well, and climb a bit too. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed If Nairo has a good day tomorrow up the final brutal climb then why not.

@madeiraglenn Sat, 5th Sep 2015 11:47:22

Astana have moved up and started to up the pace, just enough to hold the break at reasonable 5:30.

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed never underestimate Quintana he will come back in the mountains

@amandaandwillow Sat, 5th Sep 2015 12:12:53

125km remaining from 215km

The gap moves out once more, and it's now up to 6;24. Astana seem willing to let this one stay out there until the final climb. Chérel is the best placed GC rider but he's over an hour down on Fabio Aru, the current race leader.

 

 

Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) has begun to show small positive signs of recovery, according to his team, with the rider still in a medically induced coma. Read the full story here.

 

Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) won the first of two newly introduced summit finishes at the Tour of Alberta, during stage 3 in Miette Hot Springs located in the Jasper National Park. The Dutchman made his winning move following a series of attacks within in the last kilometre and finished just ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), who was closing in on his compatriot in the last hundred metres but ran out of road to narrowly miss the win. Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) placed third on the day. The full report is right here.

 

Taylor Phinney: The long road back. American shares his new outlook on racing and life

The full feature interview is here.

 

And here's the Cyclingnews podcast: An Exclusive interview with Team Sky's Dave Brailsford

 

Just over 100km of the race has been covered today - 113km to go  and the break have 6'08 over the peloton. The first climb though is coming up and we have three key ascents on the menu today.

 

We're just under 20km from the first climb, the third category Puerto de Estacas de Trueba.

 

The five leaders are now on the climb and continue to set the pace for today's stage. They're working well too, keeping Astana at 6'00. One would think that they would need all of that time when they hit the slopes of the final ascent of the day.

 

It's only a third cat climb but they leaders still have 5km to go as they wind their way towards the summit. From there it's a long descent before a sector in the valley before the second climb of the day. The bunch are still at 6 minutes. 

 

The break realise that they need every second, even at this stage, and they've managed to find another minute to extend the gap out to 7 minutes. Astana are still on the front of the peloton and setting an even tempo. The stage is starting to hot up though. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed if his name was Fausto Coppi, but this beautiful sport has written some of the most amazing tales....

@twocGAME Sat, 5th Sep 2015 12:58:03

 

We asked: Can Nairo Quintana still win the Vuelta a Espana.

94km remaining from 215km

Over the top of the climb and Mikael Cherel leads Rojas and the Puccio. The peloton are now back at 8 minutes. 

 

It's almost a flat-out descent now into the valley before the next climb of the stage, the Puerto del Escud - Provincia de Burgos. It's a first category climb and should see the first real selection made from the peloton. Any GC riders who are struggling will be put to the sword so it will be interesting to see how Quintana handles the situation. 

 

Race leader - we've not really talked to much about him  - Fabio Aru is near the front of the peloton, just safely tucked in behind the Astana train. Today is another big test for the young Italian who has less than 30 seconds over the vastly more experienced Joaquim Rodriguez. 

85km remaining from 215km

A reminder of the break: we have Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia) up the road and they currently have a gap of 9'07 with 85km and two major climbs to go.

 

The lead is continuing to grow and it's approaching 10 minutes with 82km to go. Do the break have a chance of contesting the stage win?

 

Now we're into the valley and this is where the peloton can start to claw back time. It's perhaps more crucial than the next climb in terms of the break's chances. 

 

As for the final climb today, it's very long, steady, not that difficult, coolish weather but clear and dry overhead. The roads are very exposed so could be interesting if we get a strong wind. It's a good finish for Valverde if he’s in shape or Rafa Majka.

 

We're climbing once again although we're not quite on the lower slopes of the second ascent of the day. The gap is holding at 9'55 for the break so they can tick off the valley section as a job well done. Just the small matter of 67km and two major climbs left.

 

Onto the climb and the five leaders have 9'38 over the peloton who are starting to organise a more concerted effort in their chase.

 

Astana obviously dont have their full roster of riders so it will be interesting to see how they try and control the pace on the climb or whether Movistar will try and claw back some of the time that they've already lost. 

 

A reminder of where things stand coming into this stage on GC:

 

1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 51:33:19
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:27
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:30
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:28
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:01:29
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:52
7 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:54
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:58
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:51
10 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar
11 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:07

 

At the finish line fog and mist has descended and it could really be an epic stage to watch, assuming that the TV images hold out. Meanwhile, back in the peloton Lluis Mas (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) has been forced to abandon. 

 

60km remaining from 215km

Katusha have also moved up to the front of the peloton as they aim to set up Joaquim Rodriguez for the final two climbs. 60km to go and the gap is bang on 10 minutes.

 

The road flattens briefly for the break as Rojas goes back to the team car for a drink and a bit of a catch up. 

 

Back in the pack and Movistar are starting to gang up just behind Astana. The stage is slowly but surely coming to the boil.

 

Over the top of the climb for the leading five riders and it's Mikael Cherel (AG2R - La Mondiale) who once again takes the points. 55km to but the gap has come down to 8;37.

 

There are still 50km to go but it's looking good for the break at this point.

 

The break are starting to lose a few seconds here and there, between five and ten per kilometre but they're still on track. So much will depend though on the pace of the peloton in the run-in towards the final climb. 

 

The peloton are strung out and there are a lot of tired men just looking to hang on. 

 

Katusha have sat up so it's all Astana on the front with Movistar riding shotgun. Aru takes a drink and settles back into the saddle. He needs to put time into Dumoulin today but the final climb does suit the the Dutch rider's style of steady pace riding.

 

45km remaining from 215km

45km to go and there are some clouds hanging around although the forecast is for dry racing. The gap is at 8:30 and the break must be favourites for the stage win now because the peloton have actually eased off.

 

Stage win!!! For @LisaBrennauer at #BRLT2015 Congratulations TEAM! @ZippSpeed @SRAMracing @cervelo @VelocioApparel @quarq

@velociosports Sat, 5th Sep 2015 14:19:00

The gap is back up to nine minutes so it's safe to say that the break of Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia) will decide the stage win with 39km to go.

 

9'23, and the gap is almost up to ten minutes again. The break can even afford to hold back and save some energy for the final climb at this point. They have a healthy advantage and there's not much interest from the bunch in chasing this down. Astana continue to set tempo with Katusha and Movistar waiting in the wings. Dumoulin has a couple of teammates around him, Chaves too, but they'll both be alone on the climb. 

 

Astana do at least start to wind things up and line out the bunch. 32km and the gap is at 9'29.

 

A reminder of the riders in the break: Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia).

 

The peloton shave off 25 seconds but the break still have just over nine minutes. as Rojas comes through and takes another turn. 

 

We're not on the final climb yet but's it's almost all uphill from here with 26km to go. Still Astana on the front as a few riders head back to the team cars to get a final round of drinks.

 

Valverde has taken a comfort break and his teammates are now bringing him back to the main field. Majka is also near the front of the bunch and he will be looking to drop Dumoulin today and improve his own podium chances.

 

24km remaining from 215km

Carlos Quintero (Colombia) takes the intermediate sprint as we move closer and closer to the final climb of stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana.

 

20km remaining from 215km

Around 6km to go until the climb officially starts but there's already a gentle gradient. Astana lead the peloton, as they have for most of the stage, with the break at 9'43.

 

Maybe it's just his riding style but Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) is the rider on the break who want to keep the pace high. He takes a turn on the front and then checks back to make sure that the others are just as willing. 19km to go.

 

 The gradient rises once more and again it's Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) on the front trying to keep the pace high.

Now the climb starts, and the break still have over nine minutes. How long will the break stay together on these slopes?

 

The pace has actually slowed at the front of the peloton and Astana have moved off the front. No one team is taking control but we should still have fireworks on the final climb from the GC riders.

 

#LV2015 the break have 15km to go and the peloton still 20km. Gap is 9'00"... its only 15° at the foot of the climb.

@TeamMTNQhubeka Sat, 5th Sep 2015 15:05:50

The break settle into the task at hand and share the pace between them. They're all in the saddle and now we see the peloton spring into life and actually Garmin move to the front. They dont have a GC rider and the stage win has gone.

 

It's Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) on the front and he's out of the saddle now. He looks like he's got the most spring in his step so to speak as Orica now lead Chaves to the front. The gap has gone down to 8;30.

 

There's a tailwind on the climb and that will suit the break and the riders wanting to attack from the peloton.

 

The pace in the peloton has caused a split with around half the bunch sitting up. The leading portion are just getting onto the climb proper. Caja Rural send a rider up the road. 

 

Astana move back to the front of the peloton and lead Aru back to where he needs to be. He needs to really put time into Dumoulin today but at the moment it's easy for the Dutchman TT specialist. 

 

10km remaining from 215km

Movistar have moved up as well now and they're leading the peloton on the climb. Quintana is third wheel for now.

 

Aru just takes a look at Quintana because he can't write the Colombian climber off, even though he's over three minutes down on GC. 

 

Movistar and Astana share the pace with the break still all together up the road. The gap is still around 8 minutes so it's just a matter of time before we see attacks from all sides. 

 

Luis Leon Sanchez lifts the pace for Astana and just checks back to make sure that his teammates are with him. This is a key moment back in the pack with 8km to go. This is a huge but steady surge from LL Sanchez.

 

Bang! The work from the Spaniard shed almost half the field straight away but all the main GC men are still there and in contention.

 

Majka, Chaves, Aru, Rodriguez, Dumoulin, Valverde and Quintana are all still there. 

 

Madrazo who attacked earlier from the bunch is about to be caught by the main field. That attack was always going nowhere. 

 

5km remaining from 215km

The road eases gently and that will give the break a short breather. They're still all together with just under 5km to go for the five leaders.

 

Aru has company because Dumoulin has moved right onto the Italian's wheel. That shows real intent from the Giant Alpecin rider. 

 

And Cherel attacks with 4km to go and it's Puccio who is leading the chase. 

 

And de Marchi attacks neck and tries to chase down the AG2R rider. 

 

Puccio has cracked first and he's out of the back as de Marchi leads the Rojas and Quintero. Cherel still leads. They're working over the BMC Racing rider, clearly.

 

Now we have four leaders once more as Chérel is caught. Astana, meanwhile are setting a furious pace but the gradient is so gentle that it's not really going to make an impact at this point.

 

2.9km to go. Puccio distanced. Astana with four in front of Aru leading the chase in the peloton. #LV2015

@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 5th Sep 2015 15:34:14

Into the mist with 2.7km to go and Puccio has made it back. The gap is coming down as Cataldo sets the pace for Aru. More and more riders are getting dropped. The break are just looking at each other. Who has the will to attack?

They're playing cat and mouse on a mountain but now Rojas goes and Puccio tries to go with him. 

 

Can the sprinter win a mountain stage? He's sprinted clear of the break just then... De Marchi goes passed Rojas though and Aru just has one man left setting the pace.

 

All the GC men are still in contention and now Aru goes.

 

He's is being chased as up the road it's Puccio leading with de Marchi on his wheel.

 

And Aru has just pushed clear. He's dropped everyone but Majka and Quintana. Dumoulin has been dropped. 

 

900m to and and de Marchi is clear as Aru and Quintana go clear with each other as Majka has been dropped. 

 

De Marchi has 700 meters to go and he's looking good for the stage win. For now Quintana is just trying to stay with Aru. 

 

Dumoulin, Valverde, Chaves are all in the chase group as Aru continues to lead Quintana. 

 

De Marchi is on the ropes. Does he have enough left in the tank to take the stage win as Nieve attacks from the chase group. 

 

Aru still leads Quintana, as the Astana rider only cares about putting time into Dumoulin for now.

 

And de Marchi takes the stage win for BMC Racing. 

 

And it looks like Chaves has attacked from the chase group too. There's so much fog so visibility is down to just a few meters. 

 

There's no sign of Dumoulin at this point.

 

And Quintana has attacked Aru - riders are all over the road at this point.

 

Dumoulin is with the Valverde group as up the road Aru tires to go after Quintana and Rodriguez who has come from no where to go on the attack in these final stages. 

 

Quintana ha as few seconds on Aru, Rodriguez, and Chaves on the line. Then it's Majka. And Dumoulin loses around 20 seconds to his main rivals.

 

Dumoulin has lost time and Aru will be satisfied with that, especially with two more difficult days to come. Quintana is back though and his chances of overall success are not finished in this race. 

 

1 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team 05:43:12
2 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky 00:00:21
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Team Movistar 00:00:32
4 Mickaël Chérel (Fra) AG2R - La Mondiale 00:00:38
5 Carlos Quintero (Col) Team Colombia 00:01:00
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Movistar 00:03:32
7 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 00:03:38
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 00:03:39
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:03:39
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:03:44

 

That's today's top ten. Quintana the best from the bunch and even managing to take a few seconds off Aru. 

 

The stage though belongs to De Marchi who takes his second stage win at the Vuelta in as many years. A fine day for BMC after the news that Samuel Sanchez was forced to abandon earlier. 

 

1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 09:20:10
2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 00:00:26
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin 00:00:49
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 00:01:29
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:01:33
6 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 00:02:10
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Team Movistar 00:02:11
8 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Team Katusha 00:02:13
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Movistar 00:03:00
10 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 00:03:39

 

Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back tomorrow for live coverage from stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana. You can find our report from today, right here. 

 

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