Katusha's Dani Moreno launched a perfectly timed attack on the wall of Valdepeñas de Jaen to win today's ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana alone. Moreno got a small gap on the vicious last-km climb to the line while the overall favorites kept an eye on his teammate Joaquim Rodriguez, and the Madrileno made the attack stick decisively. The move nabbed Moreno the Red Jersey for his efforts, as Saxo-Tinkoff's Nicholas Roche, the overnight leader, battled back from behind in the last 200 meters, but he conceded eight seconds, and now trails by a single second.
About two dozen riders hit the final climb, with the GC teams of Katusha, Astana and Cannondale in greatest numbers. Paolo Tiralongo launched first on the 26% wall, but Moreno responded, got a bit gap, and sailed home to the win. Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Moreno's captain Purito Rodriguez came next about four seconds back, followed by some other big names including Vincenzo Nibali at 8".
Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen had a dig coming over the day's penultimate climb, the Alto de los Frailes, but with a short, non-decisive stage this one was raced in close quarters and destined for a final-ascent battle. Only the sprinters were left behind before the start of the climb to Valdepeñas de Jaen, a two-km staircase to the line. Very Giro-style racing today... right down to the piano pace.
Sky's Rigoberto Uran was the big loser on the day, along with Roche. Uran dropped 49 seconds, alone among the pre-race overall favorites to suffer on the day.
- Daniel Moreno, Katusha
- Alejandro Valverde, Movistar, at 0.04
- Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha, s.t.
- Nicholas Roche, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 0.08
- Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel, at 0.09
- Roche, at 0.01
- Vincenzo Nibali, Astana, at 0.20
- Valverde, at 0.22
- Chris Horner, Radioshack Trek, at 0.28