Vuelta 2014: Contador takes stage and Vuelta atop Ancaras

Saturday, September 13 - Over a distance of 185 kilometres riders head in stage 20 to the Puerto de Ancares, a horse category arrival. Before getting to the bottom the climb they have to crest 3rd, 2nd and 1st category mountains. The Ancaras climb brings spectacle with attacks by Purito and Froome, but Contador outsmarts each and everyone and takes both the stage and the Vuelta 2014. (Slideshow route/profile)

Vuelta 2014: Results stage 20

1. Alberto Contador (spa)
2. Chris Froome (gbr) + 0.16
3. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.57
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) + 1.18
5. Fabio Aru (ita) + 1.21
6. Warren Barguil (fra) + 1.21
7. Giampaolo Caruso (ita) + 2.55
8. Samuel Sánchez (spa) + 2.58
9. Daniel Navarro (spa) + 3.15
10. Damiano Caruso (ita) + 3.20
11. Daniel Martin (Irl) + 3.22

GC after stage 20
1. Alberto Contador (spa)
2. Chris Froome (gbr) + 1.37
3. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 2.35
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) + 3.57
5. Fabio Aru (ita) + 4.46
6. Samuel Sánchez (spa) + 10.07
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) + 10.24
8. Warren Barguil (fra) + 12.13
9. Daniel Navarro (spa) + 13.09
10. Damiano Caruso (ita) + 13.15

Race report
Going slightly downhill the pace is high at the beginning the peloton is stretched so much it breaks eventually. The second group starts chasing and with 30 kilometres the pack is back together again. But nor for long. Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jerome Coppel and Maxime Mederel escape and Wout Poels makes the cross. The four of them race to a gain of over 10 minutes.

With the first climb coming Sky and Astana set the pace in the pack and the gap shrinks to 7 minutes once the leaders are at the Alto de Vilaesteva. The gain keeps coming down to 1 minute when cresting the penultimate climb, Alto Felgueiras de Aigas. Wout Poels has been dropped.

Niemiec attacks in the downhill and on the flower flanks of the closing climb he’s got a gain of half a minute. Froome takes 2 bonification seconds at an intremediate sprint after 2 kilometres of climbing. Soon Niemiec is reeled in. Still 10 kilometres left.

Rodríguez attacks at 9 kilometres under the top. Valverde tries to bridge the gap but he doesn’t succeed. All other riders are dropped, except Contador, Froome and Aru. The GC top-5 is leading the race. Purito has a 0’24” gain with 6.6 kilometres to go.

Froome accelerates and the only one to react is Contador. First Aru and then Valverde is dropped. The two GC leaders join Rodríguez. The Brit pulls the front group.

Purito can’t keep the pace and once he is dropped he’s joined by Valverde who eats him alive. But The Unbeaten can’t make it to Froome and Contador. With 2kilometres left Valverde is at half a minute, whilst Rodríguez and Aru are at 1 minute.

When Froome accelerates in the last kilometre Contador takes over and he climbs to victory. His second stage win means Froome’s fourth time finishing second.

Vuelta 2014 stage 20: Images and more

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Alberto Contador

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