Torredelcampo to Alto Hazallanas 186.8km


The first third of this year's Vuelta closed with a spectacular climbing stage. This tenth leg of the race took the racers south from Torredelcampo to Alto Hazallanas on an 186.8km (116.1mi) ride. The ride is pretty hilly for the first 150km (93.2mi), then it drops two mountain bombs on the riders. Cannondale Pro Cycling needed to help Ivan Basso into position for the first climb, the Alto de Monachil, and then he needed to have the legs to match the other contenders. He's been chipping away at his deficit all week. Today offered him a chance to vault into the top ten.

Stakes were high; everyone knew it. As a result, the long 15km neutral rollout was harrowing. Position fighting started here. Crashes ensued, one took out Cannondale's Guillaume Boivin smashed his knee and was forced to retire.

Attacks began once the flag was dropped. Katusha, both for race leader Dani Moreno and team leader Joaquim Rodriguez, kept a tight leash on the peloton, bringing back several big moves.

Finally, a group of ten rolled off with no threats to Moreno's lead. Katusha let them go. The escapees raced go a gap of 5:45 before the peloton got interested in bringing them back.

The break gobbled up the intermediate sprints, and started the climb of the Alto de Monachil with less than a two-minute gap on the pack. Behind, RadioShack's Fabian Cancellara did the work of several men for teammate Chris Horner. When he was done, Movistar took over on behalf of Alejandro Valverde.

The Red Jersey group crossed the summit of the Monachil with a 1:13 deficit on the depleted break.

The chiefs of this Vuelta started the Alto Hazallanas with a 90-second deficit on the remaining holdouts from the break. Despite constant pressure from the dwindling chase group, Vacansoleil's Tomasz Marczynski put up a great fight, maintaining a lead through the 18% ramps. With five kilometers remaining, he finally succumbed to the general classification favorites, which was pretty much reduced to Basso, Horner, Rodriguez, Valverde, and Astana's Vincenzo Nibali.

As the road started wearing on the will of the favorites, Horner attacked. Smiling as usual, he rode out of the saddle and left the others behind. Nibali started the chase, then looked for help. Basso took over the chase. That was the cue for Nibali to attack. The Italian got a gap on the rest but Horner was proving hard to catch.

Into the finish, Horner, who neither sat down nor lost his smile his whole attack, came across the line solo with a 48-second lead on Nibali. This returned him to the Red Jersey of race lead. Valverde was third at 1:02, with Basso right on his wheel.

As expected, the Hazallanas reshuffled the general classification, with Horner first, Nibali second, Saxo-Tinkoff's Nicholas Roche third, and Basso moving up to seventh, 2:20 down on Horner.

Tomorrow, the riders are rewarded with a rest day, the first of this Vuelta. Sleep in, ride easy, catch up on email and get a long massage. They'll savor every moment of it. Wednesday, they're returning to racing with a 38.8km (24.1mi) individual time trial, the only individual test of this Vuelta. It's a balanced test, with the first half climbing and the second half descending. Cannondale Pro Cycling's Ivan Basso is one of the best time trialists among the favorites, and it's an opportunity for him to make up time on those who've been his better at uphill finishes. It's an important day for him, and he'll be sure to make his rest day ride long enough so his body is ready for a maximal effort in the race against the clock.

Vuelta a España 2013
Stage 10: Torredelcampo to Alto Hazallanas

Stage Results
1. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard   4:30:22  
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    0:00:48  
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  0:01:02  
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  same time
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha   same time

Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling
69. Cameron Wurf (Aus)       0:20:27
76. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col)   same time
84. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita)     same time
107. Maciej Paterski (Pol)       0:22:38 
115. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita)      0:24:15 
139. Daniel Ratto (Ita)      0:28:17
140. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg)    same time

General Classification
1. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard   40:29:14  
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    0:00:43  
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:00:53  
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  0:01:02  
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    0:01:40 

General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling
7. Ivan Basso (Ita)        0:02:20 
50. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col)    0:35:58 
77. Cameron Wurf (Aus)       0:54:56 
83. Maciej Paterski (Pol)       1:02:18 
109. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita)      1:15:52 
101. Daniele Ratto (Ita)      1:11:22
137. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita)      1:27:40 
166. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg)     1:46:15