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For the second year in a row, Quintana won the Vuelta a Burgos queen stage when his repeated attacks on the Lagunas De Neila climb finally made Moreno crack; the Colombian took the overall lead in the process

Photo: Sirotti










15.08.2014 @ 17:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second year in a row, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has put himself in a great position to win the Vuelta a Burgos overall by taking another big solo win on the traditional queen stage to the top of the Lagunas De Neila climb. The Colombian made repeated attacks that finally made Daniel Moreno (Katusha) crack and he gained enough time to take the leader’s jersey with a narrow 1-second lead over the Katusha leader.


Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sent the expected warning shot to his Vuelta a Espana rivals when he won today’s queen stage of the Vuelta a Burgos for the second year in a row. The Colombian emerged as the strongest on the race’s landmark climb to Lagunas De Neila that traditionally determines the overall winner of the race.


However, Quintana had to fight hard for his win as Daniel Moreno proved to be a worthy rival. Quintana made several attacks inside the final kilometres but every time he had the Katusha leader glued to his wheel.


Things got more complicated when Mikel Landa (Astana) escapd with David Arroyo (Caja Rural) and Sergio Pardilla (MTN-Qhubeka) before dropping his rivals. With a solid gap inside the final kilometre, the Basque looked like a potential winner of the stage.


In the end, Quintana made a final acceleration and finally Moreno succumbed. Quintana flew past Landa and had time to celebrate his second consecutive win in the stage while Moreno passed Landa to take second with a time loss of just 6 seconds.


After two stages for the puncheurs and sprinters, the Vuelta a Burgos continued with its traditional queen stage that brought the riders over 170km from Comunero de Revenga to the traditional mountaintop finish on the climb to Lagunas de Neila. After a flat start, the riders tackled two smaller climbs before they reached the hectic finale. First they went up four warm-up climbs, including the category 1 Pail de Rozavientos before they reached the bottom of the race’s landmark climb.


The riders took the start under beautiful sunny condition with no overnight withdrawals.  The race got off to a fast and aggressive start with numerous attacks but after 3km of racing, 6 riders managed to get a small gap.


Andrey Zeits (Astana), KOM leader Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli), Luis Mas (Caja Rural), Pablo Torres (Burgos), Benat Txoperena (Euskadi) and Sergey Klimov (Rusvelo) had to fight hard to open a bigger advantage and for some time the dangled less than a minute ahead of the peloton. At the 12km mark, they finally extended their advantage above that mark when the gap reached 1.10.


The 6 escapees built an advantage of 1.30 before Movistar took control of the peloton. For some time, the Spanish team kept the gap at around 1.50 but when Mas beat Torres and Zeits in the first intermediate sprint after 36km of racing, they have loosened their grip a bit as they were now 2.40 behind.


Over the next kilometres, Movistar kept their deficit at just below the 3-minute mark. Meanwhile, Tedeschi beat Zeits and Klimov in the first KOM sprint while Mas beat Torres and Zeits in the second intermediate sprint.


Tedeschi again led Klimov and Zeits over the top of the second climb while race leader Juan Jose LObato was riding on the front of the peloton. He upped the pace and after 100km of racing, the gap was only 2 minutes.


As the escapees hit the late climbs, Movistar accelerated and when Tedeschi won the third KOM sprint, the gap was only 1 minute. That was as many points as he would get though as he was dropped moments later.


Torres tried to attack his companions but was brought back and instead he fell off the pace. Mas was also dropped – after having won the final intermediate sprint - leaving just Zeits, Txoperena and Klimov to press on with 1.20 advantage at the bottom of the next category 2 climb.


Lobato finished his work and left it to Imanol Erviti and Ruben Plaza to set the pace on the climb. They did a great job to bring the gap down to 30 seconds which prompted the escapees to up the pace. Zeits led Klimov over the top.


On the category 1 climb, Sylwester Szmyd took over the pace-setting while Klimov got dropped from the front group. With 33km to go, the Pole had brought the front duo back and then he left the work to Igor Anton who led the small peloton over the top.


Szmyd managed to recover and went back to the front on the descent before Anton again took over on the penultimate climb. The Basque set the pace all the way to the bottom of the final climb where Jose Herrada and Javier Moreno took over for Movistar.


The hard pace by the Spanish team created a big selection but the final domestiques blew up when Landa launched the first attack 5.5km from the finish. Quintana responded and instead Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) and Pardilla gave it a go.


Pardilla got clear on his own while Moreno, Quinatana, Tiralongo and Landa followed a little further back. More riders joined from behind to form a group in which Quintana did all the work.


Landa attacked and was joined by Arroyo who both bridged the gap to Pardilla. The trio managed to build a 20-second advantage over the Quintana group while Matteo Rabottini (Neri Sottoli) set off in pursuit.


Quintana now only had Janez Brajkovic (Astana) and Moreno for company and while Pardilla was dropped from the front group, Quintana made a strong attack. However, he was unable to drop Moreno and the pair again slowed down.


Passing the flamme rouge, Landa was now alone but Quintana was now making his next big attack. This time he dropped Moreno and he passed Landa with 500m to go to win the stage for the second year in a row. Moreno took second while Landa held onto third.


As Quintana had lost 5 seconds to Moreno in stage 1, he goes into stage 4 with a narrow 1-second lead. The penultimate stage is mostly flat and the inclusion of three category 3 climbs should do nothing to test the GC riders. The final of those summits just 17km from the finish and from then it is a gradual descent to the line where a sprint finish is expected on the eve of the decisive time trial.



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