J-Rod strikes at last - Horner sneaks into the lead

There was no stopping Joaquim Rodriguez on the Alto de Naranco today as he did his patented final kilometer sprint to tak e the stage win and inch closer t the third place on GC where Valverde currently sits.

A big break of around 20 riders tried there luck but they stood little chance as an aggressively riding field kept them well within their reach. Full pressure all day made for a hard hard stage that ran well ahead of the expected time schedule.  By the time the peloton reached the final climb it was all together and it was Saxo who grabbed the initiative with Sørensen and Majka setting a hard tempo that quickly created a selection. The work was a setup for Roche who tried his luck with a little less than 2 km to go but his attack went nowhere and instead it was Rodriguez who benefitted from the setup. His attack under the 1 km banner was irresistible and behind Valverde tried with what he had to minimize the timegap.

On the steep  final few hundred meters Chris Horner also managed to distance the leader Nibali who once again looked to be suffering as he lost the crucial few seconds that saw the red jersey pass over to Horner. Now it will all come down to a showdown on the viscious Angliru on Saturday where Horner now looks the clear favorite even if J-Rod made the impression of a man on the rise today. He still has to make up two minutes to win but that is not impossible on the crazy gradients of the Angliru.

Top 10 Stage 19

1. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 121 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 16' 13''
2. ITAULISSI, Diego 139 LAMPRE-MERIDA 4h 16' 24'' + 11''
3. ESPMORENO, Daniel 127 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 16' 24'' + 11''
4. ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel 91 EUSKALTEL EUSKADI 4h 16' 24'' + 11''
5. USAHORNER, Christopher 184 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 4h 16' 27'' + 14''
6. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 1 MOVISTAR TEAM 4h 16' 27'' + 14''
7. ITASCARPONI, Michele 131 LAMPRE-MERIDA 4h 16' 29'' + 16''
8. CZEKONIG, Leopold 151 TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 4h 16' 33'' + 20''
9. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 4h 16' 33'' + 20''
10. IRLROCHE, Nicolas 205 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 4h 16' 36'' + 23''

General Classification

1. USAHORNER, Christopher 184 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 77h 56' 05''
2. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 77h 56' 08'' + 3''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 1 MOVISTAR TEAM 77h 57' 11'' + 1' 06''
4. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 121 KATUSHA TEAM 77h 58' 02'' + 1' 57''
5. IRLROCHE, Nicolas 205 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 77h 59' 54'' + 3' 49''
6. ITAPOZZOVIVO, Domenico 11 AG2R LA MONDIALE 78h 02' 05'' + 6' 00''
7. CZEKONIG, Leopold 151 TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 78h 02' 43'' + 6' 38''
8. FRAPINOT, Thibaut 101 FDJ.FR 78h 03' 07'' + 7' 02''
9. ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel 91 EUSKALTEL EUSKADI 78h 03' 50'' + 7' 45''
10. ESPMORENO, Daniel 127 KATUSHA TEAM 78h 07' 10'' + 11' 05''
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