Vuelta a Espana 2018: Stage 14
January 1 - September 16, Cistierna, Spain, Road - GT
Hola and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana.
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Hola! We will have full coverage of stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana as the riders again head into the mountains for a second consecutive steep finish.
Today's 171km stage is from Cistierna to Les Praeres. It is a day in the northern Austrias region.
The climb to Praeres is a very tough, short ascent, ranked first category on a stage with five classified climbs and nearly 3,000 metres of vertical climbing.
As usual, we will have all the action.
As the CN blimp takes height, the riders are in the neutraliased section.
We can seen Vincenzo Nibali at the back of the peloton.
The riders face 2.5km of neutralised riding before the flag drops and the 171km stage starts.
We can surely expect attacks to go in the break once again.
There were lots of smiles at the start the riders know they face another hard day in the saddle.
Sadly Dylan van Baarle of Team Sky was unable to start today after his stage 12 crash with a member of the race organisation.
Click here to find out more.
The red flag is waved and we have the first attacks.
Igor Anton of Dimension Data is the first to make a move. He's keen to go in the break.
Van Baarle is the only non-starter today.
165km remaining from 171km
The peloton is lined out but the attacks are not sticking for now.
The riders will soon hit the first steep climb of the day. It is not categorised but is a perfect launch pad for an attack.
Kwiatokowski attacks alone, dancing on the pedals. He's lost time in the GC in recent days and so is looking for a stage victory.
However Kwiatokowski's surge has hurt other riders, including his young teammate Pavel Sivakov, who is covered in bandages after a series of crashes.
163km remaining from 171km
Other riders are going across to Kwiato. This looks interesting.
154km remaining from 171km
The peloton has eased up. We have a break.
The gap is already 1:45.
Nicolas Roche, Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Michael Woods (Education First-Drapac) and Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) have joined Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) up front.
That is a classy break.
Behind the peloton Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) is at the doctor's car and seems to be taking on something via an inhaler.
While Mate is being treated, his teammates are leading the peloton in pursuit of the break.
150km remaining from 171km
Valverde is talking to the Cofidis riders. It will be interesting to see if Movistar ride today and try to target a stage victory as well as attacking the GC.
This photo from the official race photographer shows the break of the day.
We stand corrected of the BMC riders in the break. They are Roche and the USA's Brent Bookwalter rather than Alessandro De Marchi.
Their lead is up to 3:20.
142km remaining from 171km
Kwiatkowski is 5:02 down in the GC and race leader Herrada.
However he is only 3:20 on the main GC favourites and so his attacks could prove fruitful and lift him back up the GC.
After a struggling at the back of the peloton, Pavel Sivakov has retired. The 21 year-old Russian was covered in bandages after a series of crashes.
133km remaining from 171km
The six riders in the break are riding smoothly together but so is the peloton behind, with Movistar using Daniele Bennati to help Cofidis with the chase.
Yesterday was the first of three consecutive difficult mountain stages, and the winner was a real surprise – 23-year-old Oscar Rodriguez of Euskadi-Murias. The youngster appeared seemingly out of nowhere to shoot past Rafal Majka and Dylan Teuns to take his first pro win.
Meanwhile the gap has dropped to 2:40. With Kwaitkowski in that break, the field will not be willing to let the gap get too big.
On the GC front, Jesus Herrada maintained his overall lead, although both Simon Yates and Nairo Quintana gained time on him. Yates is still second, while Quintana moved up from fouth to third, swapping places with Alejandro Valverde.
Here the top five coming into today’s stage:
1 Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) 54:50:19
2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 1:42
3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 1:50
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 1:54
5 Miguel Lopez (Astana) 2:23
121km remaining from 171km
121 km to go, less than 10 km to the day's first climb, and the gap is now at 2:19.
In the further rankings, Valverde leads the combined classification, Bahrain-Merida the team classification, Luis Mate (Cofidis) the mountain ranking, and Valverde the points ranking.
La Vuelta tells us that “The riders are evolving in the beautiful asturian landscapes”. Does this mean we will end up with a peloton of riders who are half-man, half-mountain goat?
The six leaders have now started up the Cat. 1 climb Puerto de San Isidro, and have also increased their gap, which is now at 3:01.
But with the six leaders within 1 km of the summt, the gap has come down again to 2:40.
De Gendt was the first over the top and gets the maximum mountain points. And now down they go.....
That was five points for De Gendt, who is now third in the mountain ranking. Second was NIcolas Roche and third was Brent Bookwalter.
103km remaining from 171km
No one is sparing themselves on this long descent, and the gap is holding at 2:24.
A Movistar rider jumps from the field on the descent -- which they are taking at 61 km/h!
It is Emanol Erviti for Movistar.
The gap is down to 2:12 now as they continue on the descent. There isn't really any time for them to catch their breath though, as they will soon start up the day's second climb, the cat 1 Alto de la Colladona.
The first climb was not cat. 1, as we said earlier, but cat. 2.
89km remaining from 171km
After the long valley road, the break may be able to gain more time on the climb as Movistar try to keep Erviti and Bennati in the peloton so they work the chase later into the stage.
However the Alto de Colladona is steep. It's 5.3km long at 8 per cent.
84km remaining from 171km
The feed zone is at the foot of the climb but teams are actually feeding on the lower slopes of the climb.
However the six riders in the break are not slowing down for lunch today. They fancy their chances even if the Cofidis/Movistar lead peloton is not letting them open a big lead.
81km remaining from 171km
The climb is cutting across the hillside of the Astrurias. The 8 per cent gradient is steep but consistent.
80km remaining from 171km
As expected, the break has pushed their lead out to 3:00. We'll see the exact gap at the summit.
Simon Yates drops back to his team car to get some help with his race radio.
He will need the race info later on today if Movistar go on the attack.
Thomas De Gendt is sweeping up points on the climbs today.
He kicks away to take maximum points at the top of the Alto de Colladona.
He is up to 44 points now, 20 behind Mate of Cofidis. He could close that gap even more on the three other categorised climbs of the stage.
75km remaining from 171km
The peloton reaches the summit of the climb and riders grab bidons and food.
The gap is up to 3:43.
The riders now face 20km in the valley roads before the next climb.
For now the break and peloton are playing mind games with each other.
The peloton is also on the flat road and so Cofidis and Movistar start working hard again. Their riders are quickly on the drops with flat backs and high speed.
65km remaining from 171km
The six breakaways are working like clockwork, riding a double line as they do turns on the front and then move over.
It's great to watch.
61km remaining from 171km
It will be fascinating to see what Michael Woods can do today.
The Canadian finished seventh overall last season but has fought illness and form problems this season.
He was second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege but then struggled at the Giro d'Italia, finishing 19th. He rode the Tour of Utah and finished ninth but was never an overall contender in the Vuelta.
He could of course be good for the tough world championships in Innsbruck.
Woods will have to attack his breakaway rivals at some point today. Perhaps not on the next two climbs but early on the final climb.
He is considered a better climb than Bookwalter and De Gendt but will have to distance Roche, Kwiatkowski and Cortina if he wants to win.
55km remaining from 171km
The peloton passes through El Entrego and so they're close to the foot of the Alto de la Mozqueta.
It is a 6.5km long and 8.7 per cent. It will hurt.
52km remaining from 171km
The climb is the start of the finale of today's stage and so the peloton has reduced the gap to 2:00.
We could perhaps see some attacks from the GC contenders very soon.
49km remaining from 171km
De Gendt is leading the break. He'll be looking to take maximum points again at the summit.
47km remaining from 171km
Behind the Bahrain-Merida team has taken up the chase at the head of the peloton.
Nibali is on the front, setting the pace. However they have Cortina up front and so it will be curious to understand their exact tactics.
44km remaining from 171km
De Gendt chips off the front to take the maximum points. He and the others in the break grab bidons and food from their team soigneur.
The riders face a short kick up and then a 10km descent.
De Gendt suffered a surprise mechanical. He was forced to change bikes and so is chasing alone.
Up front the other four riders seem to waiting for him.
They are down to 4 because Cortina has been stopped to help with the Bahrain surge at the head of the peloton.
De Gendt has lost 30 seconds. Perhaps after taking a haul of KOM points he has decided to ease up. Job done for today.
39km remaining from 171km
The peloton has also started the descent.
Ouch. Woods hits the barriers on the exit of a tight corner.
Woods changed bikes from the EF team car but he's also chasing the break.
Woods appeared to lock up after riding into a dark shadowed section. He hit his right leg on the barriers but had taken off much of his speed.
The descent is tight and twisting in the trees.
33km remaining from 171km
Roche, Bookwalter and Kwiatkowski have not waited for Woods and he's struggling to catch them.
However the peloton is only 1:20 behind now and is closing.
With two climbs, including a steep one to the finish, the GC riders in the peloton now have a good chance of catching the break and fighting for the stage victory.
The peloton has also split. Race leader Herrada is not there and Lopez has also missed the split.
Nibali is leading the front part of the peloton, ticked in an aero position over his bars.
Uran and Lopez are chasing to get back up to the group.
Herrada is reported to be 1:20 back. After riding so well, he could lose his leader's jersey today.
26km remaining from 171km
As the Alto de la Falla de Los Lobos kicks in, Bookwalter is distanced from the break.
It's Roche versus Kwiatkowski now.
25km remaining from 171km
Herrada is is in big trouble. Riders catch and pass him. He's cracked mentally and physically.
Roche has also cracked up front as Kwiato tries to go for the stage victory alone.
However Kwiato is being hunted down by the GC front group. They are just 40 seconds back now.
23km remaining from 171km
Roche is also caught by the GC front group. Kwiato is solo up front but leads by just 45 seconds.
Nibali is still working hard to set up ion Izagirre.
There are 40 or so riders in the Nibali group.
They will probably stay together on the Los lobos climb but the steep climb to the finish will produce a big, big shake out.
20km remaining from 171km
The GC peloton has split into several groups. We're seeing a real shake out even before the final attacks.
This is stage 14 of the Vuelta and the fatigue is starting to bite.
Nibali leads the chasers, some 50 seconds down on Kwiato.
Kwiato gained time on the climb and is also gaining time on the descent.
He's diving through the corners at speed with a superb technique.
He leads by 45 seconds now. Will it be enough to stay away. It will be very difficult after 150km out front in the break.
Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data) went down and has some cuts on his arms.
He needs some treatment before continuing.
14km remaining from 171km
Kwiato is on the flat valley road now. He leads by 40 seconds.
Race leader Herrada is now more than 3:40 back on Kwiato. If the GC rivals stay together then Simon Yates will take back the race lead.
However Nairo Quintana is only 8 seconds down on the Briton.
8km remaining from 171km
Nibali is doing huge turns on the front to set up Izagirre.
He finally eases off now but the stage win is up for grabs from his Bahrain teammates.
Kwiato refuses to give up. He dances on the pedals but the gap is coming down.
He'll surely be caught before the super steep final 4km.
The Polish rider has been voted the más combativo rider of the stage.
He's no doubt also worked on his form for the world championships.
6km remaining from 171km
The races passes the Cider museum at the foot of the climb.
The GC riders are about to fight for the stage in and the leader's red jersey.
5km remaining from 171km
There are 22 riders in the front group as Kwiato is caught.
Majka launches the first attack!
The final 4km are close to 20 per cent on a farm track.
4km remaining from 171km
The roads are getting narrow and so position is vital.
Groupama take control for Pinot.
Kwiato is dropped.
Steven Kruijswijk is next to attack. This is a serious surge.
3km remaining from 171km
Carapaz and Valverde are chasing him, with Quintana leading the others a little further back.
Yates drags Quintana and the others up to Valverde.
The roads is steep now.
2km remaining from 171km
Formolo is the latest to be spat out the back of the small GC group.
Uran, Mas, Lopez, Valverde, Quintana and Yates are in the group.
Pinot is suffering but is fighting his way back on.
Aru is a little further back.
Valverde surges and catches Kruijswijk. So do the others.
2km remaining from 171km
The road kicks up into 15 per cent and more at certain points. That really hurts.
Uran is suffering as Quintana kicks. He's followed by Lopez.
No reaction from Yates yet.
Pinot is back on as the steep gradient slows the race to a painful crawl.
Quintana attacks again!
1km remaining from 171km
Quintana is going for it now. Lopez is with him.
They lead the others by 50 metres or so.
Yates, Valverde and Pinot react and close the gap.
1km remaining from 171km
This is tactical as the gradient eases.
Mas and Uran are back on too.
They're on the concrete track now. Yates attacks!
Yates is going for it! The others are struggling.
but Lopez, Quintana and Valverde are closing the gap.
Yates can see the finish.
Yates stays away and wins the stage !
Lopez and Valverde lead the chase and finish a second or two down on Yates.
Pinot and Quintana are just a little behind.
However it is Yates' day. He wins the stage and takes the red leader's jersey again.
Yates takes a swig on a drink as he celebrates his win.
He crossed the finish line with his arms open and then bangs his chest in his usual celebration gesture.
He let out a mix of anger and celebration. He's got character.
Yates is now on the rollers as he tries to recover from his huge effort.
Yates now leads Valverde by 20 seconds in the GC.
Quintana is third at 25 seconds with Lopez fourth at 47 seconds.
Kruijswijk is fifth at 1:23 and Uran sixth at 1:28.
This is the top ten on the stage:
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 04:19:27
2 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 04:19:29
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 04:19:29
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 04:19:32
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 04:19:34
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 04:19:38
7 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 04:19:46
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 04:19:54
9 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 04:20:04
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 04:20:06
This is the new GC with Yates in the red jersey.
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 59:11:18
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 59:11:38
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 59:11:43
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 59:12:05
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 59:12:41
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 59:12:46
7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 59:12:58
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 59:13:05
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 59:13:13
10 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 59:13:26
The riders are getting changed beyond the finish area. There is nowhere to go but down, to their team buses and eventually their hotels.
Quintana is also warming down on the rollers before he descends.
Valverde is in the podium area too and wears the green jersey.
The question remains: who is the Movistar leader? We may have to wait until Tuesday's 32km time trial to Torrelavega to find out or even until after the final mountain stages in Andorra.
This screen grab shot shows the moment Simon Yates won the stage today.
This is the moment Simon Yates won the stage. He looks happy.
Other riders have now reached the summit. They are wrapping up and even putting newspapers up their jersey for the descent to their team buses.
Incredibly Louis Meintjes made it to the finish. Doctors quickly look at his injuries. It will be important to check he is not suffering from concussion.
This shot shows Yates as he nears the finish line. you can see the gaps he opened on his rivals.
Simon Yates was happy to pull on the red leader's jersey.
"I think I deserve it more this time," he said referring how he took it on stage 9 by a unexpected gap.
"It was a very difficult stage but I chose my moment really well in the very finale. I didn’t look back until it flattened off a little bit. I had a bit of a gap and so I gave it everything to the line."
Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott team will have to defend the lead on Sunday's mountain stage to Lagos de Covadonga.
"I remember it from 2016, that’s the only time I’ve ridden the climb. I just hope to have the same legs as today."
This is the moment Yates hit the line and celebrated his stage victory.
For our full stage report, full results and photo gallery from the stage, click here.
That's it for today's live coverage. Join us tomorrow for all the action from the finish atop Lagos de Covadonga to see if Yates can hold off the Movistar attacks.
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