Today’s Stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana went 178 km (111.2 m) from Burgos to finish on the steep climb up the Peña Cabarga. It was quite a hilly up and down all day with one Category 3 climb and two Category 2 climbs before the last steep 6 km up the Cabarga that had gradients between 10-18 percent. It was a day for the general contenders who didn’t attack until the final climb.
The peloton stayed together for the most part of the day. A small breakaway was swallowed up just 4 km before the end. Red jersey Igor Anton also crashed here and was forced to withdraw from the race. Vincenzo Nibali was now in the virtual red jersey and needed to defend it during the inevitable attacks. Then all the GC favorites took over the lead position in the peloton. Mosquera attacked, then Rodriguez, then Nibali. Rodriguez gained time and finished 20 seconds ahead of Nibali with Mosquera taking third place 2 seconds later.
The overall category changed quite a bit. Joaquin Rodriguez is now only 4 seconds behind the camiseta roja of Nibali. Nicholas Roche also made a push today and is now in 5th place overall.
– Frank Schleck now in 6th position overall 2:12 behind Nibali.
Sunday’s Stage 15 will go 187.3 km (116.4 m) from Solares to finish on the spectacular climb up to Lagos de Covadonga. The majority of the day is flat and good for the sprinters however the last 12 km is a steep uphill with gradients from 7-13 percent.
Stage 15 predictions:
– The sprinters will take over the first half of the stage for points and then leave it to the GC contenders up the mountainous finish.
1) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: 4:26:43
2) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: + 20″
3) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: + 22″
4) MONCOUTIE, David – Cofidis: + 33″
5) ROCHE, Nicholas – Ag2r La Mondiale: + 34″
1) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: 60:55:39
2) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 4″
3) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: + 50″
4) TONDO, Xavier – Cervelo Test Team: + 50″
5) ROCHE, Nicholas – Ag2r La Mondiale: + 2’11”