Sánchez Sits in 7th Overall after Vuelta a Espana Queen Stage3. September 2016, Aubisque (FRA) — Road Team
The queen stage of the Vuelta a Espana provided a thrilling showdown of the GC contenders, with Samuel Sánchez crossing the line in 15th place and moving up to 7th on the General Classification.
Tejay van Garderen was part of a 41-man breakaway that went clear as the race approached the 20km-mark, and eventually gained more than six minutes on the peloton.
The large group slowly reduced over the first two climbs and it was on the last category 1 climb, the Col de Marie-Blanque, when the attacks started from both the breakaway and General Classification group.
Van Garderen was in the chase group behind six leading riders, and behind him Simon Yates (Orica BikeExchange) attacked from the reduced bunch to shake things up, which created a race situation with several groups split over the climb.
Ben Hermans made a move on the Col d’Aubisque to set Sánchez up in a good position, which played out perfectly when Sánchez attacked from the group to join him. Behind Sánchez the battle between Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) heated up, and although the duo caught Sánchez, he was able to stay with them and cross the line three seconds behind.
Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) survived the breakaway to take the win, and a strong ride from Hermans saw him finish in 20th place, with van Garderen not far behind in 26th. BMC Racing Team remain as leaders of the team classification.
Philippe Gilbert was forced to stop racing due to lingering back pain from his crash in the opening week of racing. An update is provided below.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Today was the king stage of the Vuelta a Espana and the start was too fast with 40 or 42 riders in front with Tejay in the breakaway. In the final Ben attacked and then I moved after and he pulled me for 1km and Tejay was also up there, so the tactics for us were so good. I attacked before the movement of the big guys and I looked to Quintana and Froome in the small peloton when it had slowed down, and I thought “why not, why not try?”. It was a good move 7km from the finish and Contador dropped, De La Cruz, and Scarponi and in the final I lost three seconds to Quintana and Froome. All the rest is good, good movements, and a good image for the team with good work. We passed three riders in the GC and now I’m in 7th. There are still 7 more days of the Vuelta a Espana and for now it’s good for us. We are first in the GC classification for the teams.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“I’m very happy. At the beginning 45 riders went and we only had Tejay van Garderen which was really a little bit stressful as there were a lot of teams [represented]. Then I saw that Team Sky immediately controlled and all of our guys were good. So we waited until the final to put Silvan Dillier at the front to close the gap because of the team GC. Ben Hermans was really strong and Samuel Sanchez, so Samuel asked Ben to attack and then Samuel went behind and together they made a gap. From there Samuel was able to stay with the stronger guys and Ben in the wheel of Contador, so we finished very good. Tejay was in front and he had a gap in the descent, and he was out third rider at the end [for the team classification] so at the end we had a good day. We saved our team GC classification, and we put Samuel in a better position, so I’m confident and happy with the performance today.”
Update on Philippe Gilbert – Dr. Daniele Zaccaria:
“Philippe has been suffering from upper back pain as a result of his crash in the opening week. We have been managing his pain and treating accordingly so he was able to continue racing. Now with the hard climbs starting, his bike position is not good for his back and today he experienced a lot of pain on the tough stage. It was in his best interests to stop racing and rest to prevent further injury.”
Vuelta a Espana
Stage 14: Urdax-Dantxarinea > Aubisque (196km)
Top 3: 1. Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ), Egor Silin (Team Katusha)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 15. Samuel Sánchez, 20. Ben Hermans, 26. Tejay van Garderen
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 7. Samuel Sánchez, 17. Ben Hermans, 23. Darwin Atapuma
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.