Vuelta a Espana 2013 Stage 2
Pontevedra to Alta Do Monte Da Groba 176.8km
Hoping to turn the table on the climbers, sprinter Greg Henderson of Lotto-Belisol attacked moments before kilometer zero was passed. He was immediately joined by Alex Rasmussen, of Garmin-Sharp, and Francisco Aramendia, of Caja Rural. The field let them go. And go. And go. The threesome rode to a gap of over twelve minutes. And didn't start dropping until 40km (25mi) from the finish.
Then, aided by a stiff headwind along the coast, the field started to devour the gap. After 20km (12.5mi) of chasing, the gap was down to four minutes, and the field knew the break was going to be caught. The field rode steadily until a few kilometers before the climb, when an intense team battle took place, as squads fought to get their best climbers in position for the foot of the ascent.
Cannondale Pro Cycling worked hard to get captain Ivan Basso into place. He was settled comfortably near the front but away from the tussle for position.
As the climb started, the gap to the break was 1:15 and falling fast. After a flurry of initial attacks, the break was caught, and the Movistar team went to the front to set the pace for their man Alejandro Valverde. As the road went up, Movistar increased their pressure, and shed riders off the back. Basso, his face not betraying any effort, seemed to ride easily toward the front of the dwindling group.
With less than two kilometers (1.2mi) remaining, NetApp's Leopold Konig attacked like the finish was around the bend. He quickly pulled out several seconds on the lead group.
Then AG2R's Domenico Pozzivivo, Katusha's Dani Moreno, and Saxo-Tinkoff Bank's Nicholas Roche counter-attacked. The threesome caught Konig at the 1km (.62mi) banner. Pozzovivo put in a dig, and Roche attacked past him and drove home his move, taking out the stage win. Moreno came in two seconds down, and Pozzivivo another four seconds in arrears. Valverde led the first chase group at twelve seconds, with Basso eighth and another two seconds behind Valverde.
The finish reshuffled the general classification a bit. Overnight race leader Jani Brajkovic surrendered the red jersey to teammate Vincenzo Nibali. Roche moved to second. Basso started making amends for yesterday's performance in the team time trial and is now in 36th place, 1:26 down.
Stage Three covers 184.8km (93mi) from Vigo to Mirador de Lobiera. The stage is almost entirely flat, though the "almost" refers to the 4.2km (2.6mi) 6% climb to the finish. This is not a sprinter's stage, nor a climber's stage. A light puncheur is the kind of rider who will finish well, though whether or not a break survives to the foot of the climb will affect the outcome.
Vuelta a España 2013
Stage 2 Pontevedra to Alta Do Monte Da Groba
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 4:37:09
2. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha 0:00:02
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:06
4. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura 0:00:11
5. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar 0:00:12
Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling
8. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:00:14
58. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:02:39
81. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:04:05
92. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 0:07:26
114. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:09:53
114. Guillaume Boivin (Can) same time
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:07:22
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:08
3. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre(Spa)RadioShack Leopard 0:00:10
4. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard same time
5. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard same time
General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling
34. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:01:26
68. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:05:17
74. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:06:07
98. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 0:08:38
130. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:11:05
131. Guillaume Boivin (Can) same time