PEYRAGUDES, France, Sept 08, 2013 (AFP) – French rider Alexandre Geniez of
FDJ claimed victory in his homeland as the grueling 224.9km 15th stage of the
Tour of Spain from Andorra to Peyragudes crossed the border into France.
Geniez finished over three minutes ahead of Italian Michele Scarponi and
Irishman Nicholas Roche in a time of 6hrs 20mins 12secs.
Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali maintained his lead in the overall
classification, though, as he finished fourth alongside American Chris Horner
and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, who remain 50 secs and 1min 42secs behind
“It has been a long day,” a delighted Geniez confessed afterwards.
“I went from the start in a group and we worked well together, everyone
collaborated to obtain the maximum time gap in the breakaway.
“Two kilometers from the finish was when I saw that I had the victory in my
legs and it was a special motivation for me to win here in France.”
Following a tough day of climbing into Andorra on Saturday when 16 riders
were forced to withdraw due to the brutal weather conditions, Sunday’s stage
– the longest of the three week race — was even more daunting with four
category one climbs.
Geniez didn’t show any signs of fatigue, however, as he was part of a
breakaway group of six riders that led a chasing pack of 19 by over two
minutes, and the peloton by over seven minutes by the time they had completed
the climbs over the Colle del Canto and Port de la Bonaigua.
The 25-year-old then attacked on his own with fully 25km still to go, but
having maintained a significant advantage over the peloton he began the climb
up the Col de Peyresourde to the finish line with still over five minutes of
an advantage and was never threatened.
However, there was still plenty to fight for in the overall race standings
on the climb to the finish as all the major contenders grouped together before
a series of attacks and counter-attacks were launched.
Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez and Movistar’s Valverde were first to show
their hand, but Nibali always ensured they could never get away and in the end
there was no change in the top five of the general classification as those
three, Horner and Italian Domenico Pozzovivo all registered the same time.
Despite maintaining his lead after another crucial stage Astana’s Nibali
isn’t taking anything for granted with four more mountain stages still to come.
“I tried to go in the last climb up to Peyragudes but it was difficult,
with so many continuous attacks it was a crazy stage with a lot of movement,”
said the 2010 Vuelta winner.
“We will see how things will go in Formigal tomorrow after two days with
such great accumulated fatigue. There are still important climbs to come like
in Pena Cabarga and Angliru.”
Results of the 15th stage of the
Tour of Spain, a 224.9km ride from Andorra to Peyragudes on Sunday:
1. Alexandre Geniez (FRA/FDJ) 6hr 20min 12sec
2. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) at 3:03.
3. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SAX) 3:07.
4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 3:20.
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t.
6. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) s.t.
7. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) s.t.
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) s.t.
9. Jose Herrada (ESP/MOV) 3:23.
10. David Arroyo (ESP/CJR) s.t.
11. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 3:45.
12. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 3:56.
13. Leopold Konig (CZE/APP) s.t.
14. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) s.t.
15. Rafal Majka (POL/SAX) 4:55
16. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) 5:.08
17. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) 5:24.
18. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 5:46.
19. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 6:13.
20. Amets Txurruka (ESP/CJR) 6:35.
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 60hr 20min 21sec
2. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) at 0:50sec.
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:42.
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 2:57.
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 3:43.
6. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SAX) 3.49.
7. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 4:59.
8. Leopold Konig (CZE/APP) 6:18.
9. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 7:46.
10. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 9:11.
11. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 9:21.
12. David Arroyo (ESP/CJR) 11:17.
13. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 12:03.
14. Jose Herrada (ESP/MOV) 13:31.
15. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) 14:49.
16. Eros Capecchi (ITA/MOV) 15.56.
17. Dominik Nerz (GER/BMC) 17:34.
18. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) 18.03.
19. Andre Cardoso (POR/CJR) 21.27.
20. Chris Sorensen (DEN/SAX) 22.17.