Saxo-Tinkoff's Alberto Contador threw down a major marker at the Vuelta a Espana's premier time trial today with a strong ride, propelling him into the overall lead after ten stages. More importantly, both of his presumed rivals suffered terribly on the stage, Sky's Chris Froome from an apparent lack of form and Movistar's Nairo Quintana from a disastrous tumble off a guardrail that cost him more than three minutes, and a bit of skin.
Time trial world champion Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-Quick Step did his thing with another easy stage victory, once again at the expense of his chief rival for the rainbow stripes, Fabian Cancellara of Trek Factory Racing. Cancellara finished third, 18 seconds behind the German, and was heard muttering about the poor condition of the road. Rigoberto Uran, Martin's teammate, snuck past Cancellara for second on the day, and revived (for now) his hopes of a solid GC finish, sitting third overall tonight.
The road wasn't to blame for Quintana's mishap; shortly before hitting a tricky corner on the descent after the day's long(ish) climb to the Alto del Moncayo, Quintana reached down to adjust his shoe. In the process he failed to pick his line properly and overshot the turn, jamming on the brakes as he brushed the guardrail. His front wheel struck the structure, and the Colombian somersaulted through the air, landing on his back
and ankle (which he reported later as hurting him). [Ed: might have banged the ankle on the guardrail.] Fairly quickly, Quintana was upright and ready to resume, but after a slow bike change things went from bad to worse, as he struggled to limit his time losses. Quintana finished fully four minutes behind Martin, dropping 3.30 to Contador.
Froome, the presumptive beneficiary from the course among the contenders, also seemed off his game, dropping 1.32 to Martin and 53" to Contador. The man from Pinto, on the other hand, looked comfortable all day, checking in fastest at the first time check and ready to do something big on a day when the other big names were not up to the challenge. Coming off a broken leg of some sort at the Tour de France, Contador seems to have pulled his act together in time, showing good strength and form over both the uphill and flat or descending portions of the stage. He now inherits the Red Jersey by 27" over Alejandro Valverde, Quintana's teammate and a slightly inferior grand tour climber, putting the Tinkoff man in the driver's seat. Uran is 59" back, and Sunday's surprising Winner Anacona, yet another Colombian, fourth at 1.12.
|1.||GERMARTIN, Tony||174||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step||47' 02''|
|2.||COLURAN, Rigoberto||177||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step||47' 17''||+ 15''|
|3.||SUICANCELLARA, Fabian||211||Trek Factory Racing||47' 20''||+ 18''|
|4.||ESPCONTADOR, Alberto||201||Tinkoff - Saxo||47' 41''||+ 39''|
|5.||ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel||41||BMC Racing Team||47' 50''||+ 48''|
|6.||AUSEVANS, Cadel||43||BMC Racing Team||47' 51''||+ 49''|
|7.||BLRKIRYIENKA, Vasil||195||Team SKY||48' 00''||+ 57''|
|8.||ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro||151||Movistar Team||48' 03''||+ 1' 00''|
|9.||NZLSERGENT, Jesse||216||Trek Factory Racing||48' 15''||+ 1' 13''|
|10.||GBRFROOME, Christopher||191||Team SKY||48' 34''||+ 1' 32''|
|1.||ESPCONTADOR, Alberto||201||Tinkoff - Saxo||36h 45' 49''|
|2.||ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro||151||Movistar Team||36h 46' 16''||+ 27''|
|3.||COLURAN, Rigoberto||177||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step||36h 46' 48''||+ 59''|
|4.||COLANACONA, Winner||2||Lampre Merida||36h 47' 01''||+ 1' 12''|
|5.||GBRFROOME, Christopher||191||Team SKY||36h 47' 07''||+ 1' 18''|
|6.||ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin||131||Team Katusha||36h 47' 26''||+ 1' 37''|
|7.||ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel||41||BMC Racing Team||36h 47' 30''||+ 1' 41''|
|8.||ITAARU, Fabio||21||Astana Pro Team||36h 48' 16''||+ 2' 27''|
|9.||NEDGESINK, Robert||34||Belkin Pro Cycling Team||36h 48' 27''||+ 2' 38''|
|10.||ITACARUSO, Damiano||65||Cannondale Pro Cycling||36h 48' 48''||+ 2' 59''|