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“I was feeling a little better than the first days but still not close to 100%. I was happy to follow wheels today and see what would happen, but I knew that I did not have it to play for the win."

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BOB JUNGELS

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HAIMAR ZUBELDIA

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JULIAN DAVID ARREDONDO

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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03.09.2014 @ 21:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the first time in this year's Vuelta a Espana, Julian Arredondo showed signs of life when he launched an attack at the bottom of the final climb in today's stage. The Colombian was quickly brought back but is pleased to be feeling better on another crask-marred day for his Trek team.

 

Trek Factory Racing entered the Vuelta a España with high ambitions and equally high morale, ready to fight each day for wins. However, a crash that took down the entire team in team time trial practice before the race even began spelled a disastrous start to the Grand Tour, and they have been struggling to get back on the right pedal ever since.

 

Yesterday restored hope to the team with Fabian Cancellara’s third place, the team’s first crack at a top result. But today the team endured three more crashes, with Yaroslav Popovych, Fabio Felline and Kristof Vandewalle – already nursing a broken rib from the first day crash – hitting the ground again.

 

Bob Jungels, 21, is one of the team that has been fightlng to return to his normal form after stockpiling crashes in the last month:

 

“Since my crash in Switzerland it’s not really going like I wanted, I recovered pretty well but than I crashed again in Poland," he said. "And I crashed again here, and all those are not helpful to improve the performance. Every day I wake up and I feel that the body is recovering, but it is taking a long time. I have pain in my hip that every time I go a little deep I feel it. It’s frustrating.”

 

It took over 60 kilometers of racing before a breakaway established and five men had a ticket to ride. The 153.4-kilometer 11th stage began flat but on the horizon - in the last 50 kilometers - loomed the hills, and the quintet parted ways soon after the road tilted upward.  

 

The last rider of the escape group held a small advantage to the lower slope of the final mountain (10kms and 7.5%) where the peloton finally zoomed by him, and where Julian Arredondo - feeling sprightlier after a dismal opening week - gave a small testing dig.

 

“I was feeling a little better than the first days but still not close to 100%," he said. "I was happy to follow wheels today and see what would happen, but I knew that I did not have it to play for the win. I was in second position early in the climb and when the guy in front of me peeled off I increased the tempo a little to see what would happen.  As you can see I am happy that I am beginning to feel better, but I am still not great.”

 

Arredondo's surge was quickly doused under a fierce pace from the GC contenders chomping on the bit to begin another fight in a very tight GC battle.  While they eyed each other, keeping close tabs on every rival's attack to the last kilometer, no one minded Fabio Aru (Astana) who made a move with 900 meters left. The reaction behind came late and Aru soloed across the line six seconds ahead of the top GC favorites, who finished together.

 

Haimar Zubeldia has slowly been falling behind, and he knows that his chance at a high GC result is all but over after arriving more than eight minutes back today. He has slipped down to 35th place in the overall classification (+27’19”).  However, coming into the Vuelta Zubeldia was under no pressure from the team after an 8th place finish at the Tour de France.

 

“I still feel the Tour [de France] in my legs, and today again I was not at my best," he said. "It is not possible for me to go for the overall anymore. It is disappointing, but maybe now there is a chance to play for a stage. We shall see how I feel in the coming days.”

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