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"They both came down pretty hard but thankfully they are both OK. Nico showed great courage to get back in the peloton before the finish, and while that proved to be impossible for Sergio, he was able to finish the stage."

Photo: Sirotti










31.08.2015 @ 23:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nicolas Roche and Sergio Henao both took tumbles on the 10th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, but Roche defended his fourth place on the overall standings by crossing the line on the same time as the triumphant Kristian Sbaragli.


Roche came down on a roundabout with just over 50km to go, but was paced back to the peloton by Ian Boswell, Henao and Salvatore Puccio after receiving a bike change and treatment to his cuts and bruises.


The Irishman suffered no further problems, but Henao was also downed on the descent of the final climb, and rolled home with Vasil Kiryienka after bravely hauling himself back on his bike.


The day belonged to Sbaragli, who sealed a surprise win by outsprinting John Degenkolb in a reduced bunch sprint in Castellón. The MTN Qhubeka rider rounded Tosh van der Sande on the fast drag to the finish, and then held off late moves from Degenkolb (Giant Alpecin) and Jose Joaquim Rojas (Movistar) for his first WorldTour victory.


Chris Froome and Mikel Nieve also clocked the same as that trio, which ensured they defended their respective eighth and 11th places on the general classification. Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) meanwhile, retained his 57-second lead over Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).


The racing was full gas from the start with Kiryienka producing an early attack before 40 riders managed to break themselves clear of the bunch. Boswell, Henao and Puccio were all among that group for Team Sky, and Henao's presence set alarm bells ringing back in the peloton.


Giant-Alpecin mounted a determined chase, and they eventually brought things back together with 56km to go. It was not long after that when Roche took his tumble, and Henao was forced off his bike on a sweeping corner on the Alto del Desierto de las Palmas.


On the flat run in to the destination town, Christian Knees and Geraint Thomas kept Froome, Roche and Nieve in a prime position, and that trip kept Team Sky at the top of the team classification by rolling home in a 58-man lead group.



After the stage, Sports Director Dario Cioni was pleased to report that Roche and Henao suffered no serious injuries, but admitted the first rest day had come at just the right time.


He told "They both came down pretty hard but thankfully they are both OK. Nico showed great courage to get back in the peloton before the finish, and while that proved to be impossible for Sergio, he was able to finish the stage. 


"They've both got a few cuts and bruises, and although they will be sore in the morning, we have a rest day now to get them treated and give them some time to recover. 


"The team deserve praise for the way they handled the situation, and everyone played their part in getting Nico and Sergio to the line whilst keeping Froomey protected at the same time."


“Yesterday, I had a bit of luck and I just lost a little bit of skin. It was a small blow and the damage was limited, but if you never want to have a crash, it never does you any good,” Roche said. “Today I fell a lot harder and faster. We were going full on into a corner, on a roundabout. And this isn’t the Tour de France, unfortunately. The roads hadn’t been cleaned, so there was sand or something on the road and I went down. It hurts everywhere.


“Two crashes in two days, I think I need a rest day to give myself a better chance to recover. But so as long as I can pedal, I’ll fight.”



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