Vuelta a España 2013 Stage 11
Tarazona to Tarazona 38.8km (ITT)
A veteran like Cannondale Pro Cycling's captain, Ivan Basso, typically rides the course, does a hard warm-up on a stationary trainer, then heads for the start house, all systems ready to go before he rolls down the ramp. And, as one of the top two time trialists among the contenders, this is a day he can make up quite a bit of time and move into striking distance of the race lead.
This race of truth started in the middle of Tarazona, wove through city streets, and headed south. The first half was uphill, climbing the third category Alto del Mocayo, and then swinging around and heading north back to town, threading back through Tarazona for the finish. It takes a calculated effort to do well. Be careful through town, hard up the hill, then something in reserve for the descending second half, and finally taking great lines in the winding finale.
Long before the race favorites started, the competition between the stage favorites was contested. Both Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Tony Martin and RadioShack's Fabian Cancellara are specialists against the clock and are tuning up their form for the upcoming World Championships. Martin went first, and put in a time almost two minutes faster than everyone else who had already gone. Then Cancellara had his turn to blitz the course. And he put a healthy 37 seconds into Martin. And nobody challenged.
Seventh from the last to start, Basso wore a confident smile in the start house. He rolled down the ramp, through the courtyard, out on the road, and into his time trial position, comfortably turning over a big gear.
All his rivals started after him. Among those, Astana's Vincenzo Nibali would typically be his biggest rival on this kind of course—especially as Nibali possibly descends better than he climbs. And RadioShack's Chris Horner, as race leader, had to be worried that Nibali could ride into Maglia Rojo today.
Basso, looking smooth, didn't put in the effort he thought he was capable of, and finished eighteenth on the day. Nibali rode the best of the favorites, finishing fourth. Horner, struggled, finished twentieth, dropping him to fourth overall. Nibali took the Red Jersey for the third time this Vuelta, with Nicolas Roche in Second, 33 seconds down. Basso remained in seventh, his deficit growing a bit, to 2:55 on the lead.
Tomorrow might function as a working rest day for the contenders in this Vuelta. The 144.2km (89.6mi) stage from Maella to Tarragona starts hilly, but finishes flat. It's a great stage for an early breakaway to build up a lead, but as the finish is among the flatter of the race, the sprinter's teams might take control of the race and keep it all together for a field sprint. Cannondale Pro Cycling will be riding to keep Ivan Basso near the front, both out of trouble and out of the wind.
Vuelta a España 2013
Stage 11: Tarazona to Tarazona
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard 0:51:00
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:37
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:24
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:25
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling 0:01:41
Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling
18. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:02:43
73. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:05:14
83. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 0:05:23
117. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:06:43
126. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:06:42
132. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) 0:07:09
144. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) 0:07:39
153. Daniele Ratto (Ita) 0:07:58
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 41:22:22
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:33
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:46
4. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard same time
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:02:33
General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:02:55
52. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:40:42
76. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:59:31
82. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 1:05:33
100. Daniele Ratto (Ita) 1:17:12
103. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 1:18:58
131. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) 1:32:41
164. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) 1:51:46