Manizales, Colombia — Oscar Sevilla had the fastest finish among a shattered peloton that was reduced to 12 riders Tuesday to win the ninth stage of the Vuelta a Colombia and secure Rock Racing’s third victory of the 15-day, 14-stage race.
Due to landslides in the area, more than 30 miles had to be trimmed off the original race route, reducing the race to 86 miles (138.9 km).
Rock Racing Team Director Mariano Friedrick said Sevilla was motivated to get in an early move. But Freidrick preached patience.
“I told Oscar they were not going to let him go since these guys know they can lose five-and-a-half minutes in a single stage,” Friedrick said. “So he decided to play it safe and wait until the last climb.”
The Spaniard becomes the third different rider from Rock Racing to win a stage in this year’s Vuelta a Colombia, joining Santiago Botero (prologue time trial) and Victor Hugo Peña (Stage 7).
The victory is Rock Racing’s 14th of the season and it came on the 37th birthday of Haldane Morris, Rock Racing’s general manager.
Friedrick also noted the aggressiveness of Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton, who was off the front in a breakaway nearly the entire stage – a feat that earned him the white “excellence” jersey.
“As I said before, Victor (Hugo Peña), Tyler and Sergio (Hernandez) are the ones to get in breakaways and go for stage wins,” Friedrick said. “So for Tyler it was an excellent day. He was the aggressor and the one who created the breakaway. He’s been persistent enough and, who knows, he might get one.”
Sevilla continues his reign as the current wearer of the points jersey, signifying him as the race’s most consistent finisher. In addition to a number of top 10 finishes, he placed third in the prologue behind Botero and Peña and was a close second on Stage 2 to Jhon Freddy García (UNE). His result Tuesday also climbed him two places to 11th overall, 5:44 behind red jersey wearer Giovanny Baez (UNE).
Wednesday’s stage is 77.6 miles (125 km) and features one climb between the start city of Manizales and the downhill run into Mariquita. Only two more climbing stages and a flat road stage remain before the tour concludes with a flat circuit race Sunday