Duo limit losses on stage nine summit

02 Sep 2018

Duo limit losses on stage nine summit

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David de la Cruz and Michal Kwiatkowski dug deep on the toughest day of the Vuelta a Espana so far as the general classification picture changed on stage nine.

Finishing on the special-category Alto de la Covatilla, Kwiatkowski was climbing at the front of a select GC group before an increase of the pace saw the Pole slip back.
 
De La Cruz had been riding to his own tempo and measured his performance to drop 52 seconds at the line. That moved the Spaniard up to 13th place overall at the first rest day, 1:26 back on the new race leader.
 
That honour belonged to Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who finished among a sprinkling of contenders, 2:49 back on breakaway winner Ben King (Dimension Data) after 200.8km.
 
Kwiatkowski dropped a little over two minutes in the closing kilometres and now sits 15th overall, 2:10 back on red. Yates holds a slender one-second lead over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
 
11 riders had headed up the road early on, and despite Groupama-FDJ riding on the front the gap spun out to the 10-minute mark. Overnight leader Rudy Molard was another to slip back on the final climb.
 
Jonathan Castroviejo had arrived at the front to set a tempo on the early slopes, while Pavel Sivakov was able to remount and finish the stage despite a crash on the approach to the final climb.
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Sport Director Gabriel Rasch talked us through the day's final climb. He confirmed: "Kwiato was probably paying for his crash today. All things considered he probably wasn't 100 percent. It was about limiting the loss really for him.

"For David the pace was a bit too hard on the start of the climb. But then he came around and rode at his own pace. We stay positive as we know David has always struggled with the heat down here. He will be better in week two and week three so we are still in the game I think."

Overall standings after stage nine:
 
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 36:54:52
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1”
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +14”
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 16”
5. Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +17”
13. David de la Cruz (Team Sky) +1:26”
15. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +2:10”

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