De Marchi Just Outside Top Ten as Vuelta a España Heads to Andorra14. September 2018, Andorra. Naturlandia (AND) — Road Team
The Vuelta a España headed to Andorra on stage 19 and, with the General Classification contenders still within touching distance of each other, it proved to be a crucial stage for those eyeing the overall victory and saw Alessandro De Marchi finishing as BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider, just outside the top ten.
Despite there only being one categorized climb on stage 19, the road rose steadily from kilometer-zero all the way to the base of the 17-kilometer long Coll de la Rabassa which had an average gradient of 6.6 percent and pitches of almost 14 percent in places.
It was no surprise to see riders battling to make the breakaway in the opening kilometers of the 154.4-kilometer course because, if the right group went clear, there was an another chance for the day’s successful attackers to make it all the way to the line.
With lots of teams, including those of the General Classification contenders, looking for opportunities, it took over 40km of racing for three riders to open up a narrow one-minute advantage over the main bunch which was being led by Movistar Team.
However, the group wasn’t given much more room to maneuver and in the end, the riders were pulled back before more attacks continued to fly off the front of the peloton approaching the 90 kilometer to go mark.
15 kilometers later, another group was starting to build up an advantage over the rest of the field and eventually, two of the three riders that initially made the jump, were sitting just over two minutes up the road.
The duo’s advantage hovered around that time before a fresh increase in pace saw the gap start to fall approaching the base of the final climb which would ultimately provide the backdrop for an intense battle of the General Classification contenders which eventually saw Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) take the stage win with Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) increasing his overall lead.
In the midst of that action, De Marchi and Dylan Teuns were initially sat in the heavily reduced red jersey group that caught the leaders before the start of the ascent to the finish line but as the fight for red intensified, and the group shrunk further, they lost contact and began to ride their own tempo up the climb.
Stage 11 winner, De Marchi was BMC Racing Team’s first rider across the line after a determined effort in the closing kilometers of the day, finishing in 12th place, 2’20” back, while, Teuns, who has proved his strength over and over again at this year’s Vuelta a España, was next to finish after another solid day of racing.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
Alessandro De Marchi:
“It was a good day to test my shape on a long climb looking ahead to the World Championships. I tried to stay with the GC riders for as long as possible and I am quite happy. I missed going into the first group at the end but I wasn’t so far back really at the line.”
“At the start of the day, we could see immediately that it was going to be difficult to find a good breakaway and try to finish with that because Movistar Team and some other teams were controlling right from the beginning. It was just about sitting there and waiting for the last climb and I had a good approach into the bottom of the climb and then, I set my own pace based on my feelings and I’m happy.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 19: Lleida > Andorra. Naturlandia, 154.4km
Top 3: 1. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3. Steven Kruijswijk (Team Lotto-NLJumbo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 12. Alessandro De Marchi 35. Dylan Teuns 68. Nicolas Roche