Adam Hansen Wins Tour of Spain Stage 19 With Perfect Attack

Hansen_TOS_Stage 19_2014
by Barnaby CHESTERMAN

CANGAS, Spain, Sept 12, 2014 (AFP) – Australian Adam Hansen timed his
attack to perfection to win the 180.5km 19th stage of the Vuelta a Espana from
Salvaterra do Mino to Cangas do Morrazo on Friday.

The 33-year-old Lotto-Belisol rider took off with just over 4km remaining
and held off a charging peloton to win by 5sec to German John Degenkolb and
Italy’s Filippo Pozzato.

Spain’s Alberto Contador maintained his race lead of 1min 19sec over last
year’s Tour de France winner Chris Froome as both came home safely in the
reduced pack.

Asked if he was surprised at his victory, Hansen was in a light-hearted
mood.

“I’m real insulted,” he joked. “It’s OK, it was a very tough stage and it
was a big surprise that’s for sure.

“I wanted to do something and for sure all the sprinters were annihilated
which was good for me.

“I thought at the very end I could do something. I went for it and although
I didn’t get too far in front I held on, so surprise, surprise.

“I’ve won a Giro stage, now a Vuelta stage, it’s coming together and I’m
very happy.”

Contador admitted he was inching ever closer to a third Vuelta triumph with
just two stages remaining.

Behind Froome, another former Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde is at 1min
32sec with Joaquim Rodriguez at 2:29 and Fabio Aru 3:15 back.

Saturday’s penultimate stage is the main danger for Contador with four
categorised climbs over the 185.7km run from Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil to
Puerto de Ancares, including the 12.7km hors category finish with an average
gradient of 8.7 percent and one part reaching 18 percent.

“If you had said to me (before the race) that I would be here at this stage
I wouldn’t have believed it,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard, who broke his
tibia in a crash during the Tour de France just under two months ago.

“We have a very hard stage in front of us with a rival (Froome) that is
really strong and with a really strong team in Sky.

“We’ll see how the legs recover for tomorrow and get ready for the final
push.”

The stage was animated by a three-man breakaway but although Wout Poels,
Pim Ligthart and Laurent Mangel spent around 140km in the lead, they were
never allowed a lead of more than 3min 30sec.

They were reeled in with just over 20km remaining as Contador’s
Tinkoff-Saxo team upped the pace to guard against any attacks, such as Froome
managed the previous day as he snatched back 20sec including time bonuses.

As the pack hit the final difficulty of the stage, a 4.7km long second
category climb, Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko attacked as the favourites kept a
close eye on each other.

Froome’s Sky team pushed the pace but more in an effort to control the
field than to break it up.

Lutsenko was never allowed more than 10sec over the peloton and as he
crested the Alto Monte Faro, he still had more than 15km to ride and little
hope of holding on.

Yet on a fast downhill towards the finish, the Kazakh managed to extend his
lead to 14sec with 10km remaining, although the Giant-Shimano team of sprint
competition leader Degenkolb was now leading the chase.

However, it was a dangerous descent as Sky’s Cario Cataldo found out to his
cost as he crashed badly, almost taking down Contador but perhaps more
importantly jeopardising his chances of helping Froome on Saturday.

“I don’t know how I managed to adjust the bike three or four times to avoid
the crash,” said a relieved Contador.

Lutsenko persisted but within another 5km he had been swallowed up.

Hansen was next to try his luck on a slight incline and this time he made
it stick to earn his second Grand Tour victory following a Giro success last
year.

Results from the Vuelta a Espana
following Friday’s 180.5km 19th stage from Salvaterra de Mino et Cangas do
Morrazo:

1. Adam Hansen (AUS/LTB) 4hr 21min 58sec, 2. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) at
5sec, 3. Filippo Pozzato (ITA/LAM) same time, 4. Yannick Martinez (FRA/EUC)
s.t., 5. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) s.t., 6. Geoffrey Soupe (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 7.
Paul Martens (GER/BKN) s.t., 8. Jasper Stuyven (BEL/TRE) s.t., 9. Romain Hardy
(FRA/COF) s.t., 10. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) s.t.,
11. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) s.t., 12. Pieter Serry (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 13.
Peio Bilbao (ESP/CJR) s.t., 14. Eduard Vorganov (RUS/KAT) s.t., 15. Rinaldo
Nocentini (ITA/ALM) s.t., 16. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/MOV) s.t., 17.
Guillaume Levarlet (FRA/COF) s.t., 18. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t., 19.
Vincent Jérôme (FRA/EUC) s.t., 20. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/BMC) s.t.

Selected others:
21. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) s.t., 35. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) s.t., 38. Alberto
Contador (ESP/TCS) s.t., 41. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) s.t.

Overall standings
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 76hr 00:40, 2. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 1:19,
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:32, 4. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 2:29, 5.
Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 3:15, 6. Daniel Martin (EIR/GRM) 6:52, 7. Samuel Sanchez
(ESP/BMC) 6:59, 8. Warren Barguil (FRA/GIA) 9:12, 9. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF)
9:44, 10. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) 9:45,
11. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 12:49, 12. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 14:15, 13.
Romain Sicard (FRA/EUC) 18:15, 14. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) 20:05, 15.
Giampaolo Caruso (ITA/KAT) 21:55, 16. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LTB) 22:10, 17.
Sergio Pardilla (ESP/MTN) 22:33, 18. Luis Ángel Maté (ESP/COF) 30:16, 19.
Dominik Nerz (GER/BMC) 31:51, 20. David Arroyo (ESP/CJR) 39:03

Photo: Corvos

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