Vuelta a Espana Stage 10: Hermans in the Breakaway, Sánchez Tenth on GC29. August 2016, Lagos de Covadonga (ESP) — Road Team
The mythical climb to Lagos de Covadonga on stage 10 of the Vuelta a Espana didn’t disappoint with a showdown of the General Classification contenders playing out, which saw Samuel Sánchez cross the line in 11th place.
The last stage before the first rest day was billed as one of the toughest of the first ten days of racing and a nervous start saw multiple crashes and no successful breakaway attempts.
After almost two hours of racing a 16-man breakaway formed, including Ben Hermans. The peloton kept the group close at first before letting the gap stretch to more than five minutes.
Despite the strength of the breakaway and good work by Hermans, the gap at the base of the final climb was down to less than three minutes and it looked likely that the storming peloton would catch the group.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) launched the winning attack halfway up the climb to also take the red jersey, and behind him the other General Classification contenders battled it out to limit their time loss.
Sánchez remains in tenth place overall heading into the first rest day and Darwin Atapuma dropped down to 15th.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was a big fight to go into the breakaway, which was the last chance before the first rest day, so there were a lot of guys who wanted to be there. And then there was this crash and we had to basically start again. I think it took 70km before the break went but I saw directly that it was a very strong group with a lot of good climbers. It was also because it was such a big fight to be in the breakaway so there are always good riders there. I still thought that I was one of the strongest guys but when we hit the last climb I took my own tempo and I knew that we couldn’t make it for the stage win because we had less than three minutes at the bottom. So if Quintana and Contador accelerate you know you need more than two and a half minutes. I think we would have needed at least four or five minutes and this we didn’t have.”
“I think the hardest block is done already. The second block is really hard also but it’s only six stages and the last stage is not so hard, so there’s five hard stages to survive. And if you survive this, you will survive the Vuelta a Espana.”
“It was a very, very hard day. Not only for the legs but all of it. Until kilometer 66 it was more than 46km per hour average so it was a crazy day. And then there was also the three crashes. It was a stage of pure suffering, but that’s cycling! This is cycling suffering a lot. The rhythm and speed was very strong from the bottom of the final climb to Lagos de Covadonga. I think I did well and I’m still in the top ten so it’s still going to plan.”
Vuelta a Espana
Stage 10: Lugones > Lagos de Covadonga (188.7km)
Top 3: 1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Chris Froome (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 21. Samuel Sánchez, 27. Ben Hermans, 30. Darwin Atapuma
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 10. Samuel Sánchez, 15. Darwin Atapuma, 22. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.