Stage 17 of Vuelta a España was concluded in a bunch sprint without changes in the overall classification after 190.7 kilometers of racing in the undulating terrain of Galicia. Tinkoff-Saxo and team leader Alberto Contador got through the stage safely and saved as much energy as possible for the final four stages of Vuelta a España. Sport director Steven de Jongh was happy with the outcome.
“It was a good day for us. In the beginning we took control and let a small group go away. Then, immediately, the sprinter teams such as Giant-Shimano started to work and as a result we didn’t keep the control throughout the day, saving a bit of energy. After that, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Orica-GreenEdge started to pull. The group came back in the final kilometer and we just protected Alberto.”
With 14 kilometers to go, crucial helper Daniele Bennati had a flat tire, but managed to get back into the speeding bunch to help Alberto through the last tricky kilometers.
“Bennati had a flat tire. He was the guy that was planned to be with Alberto on the cobblestone section. Nevertheless, the team did a good job, brought him back and Alberto was in a safe place. That was the most important thing for us,” added Steven de Jongh.
Today’s stage came after a well-deserved rest day, where the riders had the opportunity to recover from the mountainous stages of the second week. But it also featured a challenge, as the sensitive race-rhythm can easily be disturbed. Danish champion Michael Valgren commented:
“Coming from a rest day, it was quite hard for me at the start. I had to dig deep in the first climb to get going but afterwards my legs got much better and by the end I had full power. I definitely look forward to the final four days of the Vuelta. It was a fast and day with many hills and short climbs. It was hard to control the race and you could see that, because we caught the breakaway with four kilometers to go. I think the team did a good job and brought Alberto safely to the finish. That was the main goal,” concluded Michael Valgren.
Tour of Spain results after the 17th
stage, a 190.7 kilometres ride from Ortigueira to La Coruna on Wednesday:
1. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) 4hr 26min 07sec, 2. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI)
same time, 3. Fabian Cancellara (SWI/TRE) s.t., 4. Jasper Stuyven (BEL/TRE)
s.t., 5. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM) s.t., 6. Koldo Fernandez (ESP/GRM) s.t., 7.
Geoffrey Soupe (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 8. Danilo Wyss (SWI/BMC) s.t., 9. Damiano
Caruso (ITA/CAN) s.t., 10. Vicente Reynes (ESP/IAM) s.t.
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 67hr 51min 07sec, 2. Alejandro Valverde
(ESP/MOV) at 1min 36sec, 3. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 1:39, 4. Joaquin Rodriguez
(ESP/KAT) 2:29, 5. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 3:38, 6. Daniel Martin (IRL/GRM) 6:17,
7. Robert Gesink (NED/BKN) 6:43, 8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/BMC) 6:55, 9. Warren
Barguil (FRA/GIA) 8:37, 10. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) 9:10.