Vuelta 2014: Niemiec stage win, Valverde takes seconds, Contador still in lead

Przemyslaw NiemiecSunday, September 7 - Stage 15 has got all the the raw materials you need for compelling racing. After an 100 kilometres flat opening section it's time to detonate the fireworks with a 2nd category climb and the hors category ascent to the Lagos de Covandonga. That's exactly what happens. Przemyslaw Niemiec takes the break of the day to the win, whilst and active and powerful Contador puts seconds into Froome, but at the same time Valverde creeps up at him. (Slideshow route/profile)

Vuelta 2014: Results stage 15

1. Przemyslaw Niemiec (pol)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.05
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) s.t.
4. Alberto Contador (spa) + 0.10
5. Fabio Aru (ita) + 0.17
6. Chris Froome (gbr) s.t.
7. Daniel Martin (irl) + 0.28
8. Warren Barguil (fra) + 0.44
9. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 1.00
10. Damiano Caruso (spa) + 1.02
11. Robert Gesink (Nld) + 1.07
12. Daniel Moreno (spa) s.t.

GC after stage 15
1. Alberto Contador (spa)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.31
3. Chris Froome (gbr) + 1.20
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) s.t.
5. Fabio Aru (ita) + 2.22
6. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 2.57
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) + 4.55
8. Samuel Sanchez (spa) + 5.02
9. Robert Gesink (Nld) + 5.11
10. Warren Barguil (fra) + 6.36

11. Damiano Caruso (ita) + 6.49
12. Daniel Navarro (spa) + 7.14
13. Winner Anacona (col) + 7.41
14. Daniel Moreno (spa) + 8.15
15. Wilco Kelderman (Nld) + 9.08

Race report
The beginning of the race it’s not only raining from the heavens, it’s raining attacks as well. But it’s only at 7 kilometres from the first intermediate a group of five are able to break free. John Degenkolb, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Francisco Javier Aramendia, Cameron Meyer and Kristof Vandewalle get out of the peloton. Degenkolb takes the full bonus and increases his lead in the points classification. It’s looking good for the German, espacially since Nacer Bouhanni is out of La Vuelta.

While they are at it, the five decide to give their break a chance. The bunchs thinks likewise and slows down, resulting in a maximum gap of almost 11 minutes. With 50 kilometres left it’s down to under 10 minutes.

At the slopes of Alto del Torno the bunch gets closer and when cresting the difference is down to 6 minutes.

John Degenkolb calls it a day at one of the short and steep hills leading to the bottom of the Lagos de Covadongas climb. In the pack with GC-men Daniel Martin is in trouble and he is chasing to get back – he makes it just before the bottom of the Lagos-climb.

At the lower slopes the leaders are 4 minutes ahead. Aramendia and Vandewalle can’t follow the pace, whilst in the pack attacks are everywhere, most prominent attacker being Warren Barguil. Contador, Valverde en Rodríguez look fresh, but once again Chris Froome is struggling. Smart as always Contador is aware of this and he takes over setting the pace in order to get rid of Froome.

Upfront Niemiec goes solo.

Just like yesterday Froome manages to hook up with the other GC-men. Contador attacks again and it’s only his two shadows – Valverde and Rodríguez – who are able to follow him. They are closing in on Niemiec with 3 kilometres left. A gain of half a minute is all that’s left of the one-time 11 minutes gain.

Froome and Aru are chasing, but they don’t make it.

Niemiec survives the steep closing section and takes the stage. Valverde comes in second, Rodríguez third, both taking (bonification) seconds from Contador, whilst El Pistolero himself is putting seconds into Froome.

Vuelta 2014 stage 15: Images and more

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Przemyslaw Niemiec

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