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On a completely flat course, Quintana won a thrilling battle with Moreno by finishing second behind Saramotins in the final time trial; Moreno finished 5th and lost the overall win by just 3 seconds

Photo: RCS Sport
















17.08.2014 @ 17:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) repeated his performance in last year’s Vuelta a Burgos when he defended his title by delivering a great result in the final, completely flat time trial. The Colombian finished a close second behind Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) and distanced Daniel Moreno (Katushe) by 3 seconds to take the leader’s jersey back on the final day of the 5-day race.


Nairo Quintana confirmed that he has progressed massively in the time trials when he used the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos to take back the leader’s jersey he had lost one day earlier. On a completely flat course that suited the powerful specialists, the Colombian did one of the best time trials of his life by finishing second behind an impressive Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM).


The Latvian had been just the fourth rider to start the stage but no one managed to knock him out of the hot seat. Hence, he took his first victory since he joined IAM for the 2013 season.


However, the real battle was the one for the overall victory as Quintana and Daniel Moreno had gone into the stage equal on time. Impressively, they were still equal at the halfway point where they had even been faster than Saramotins.


On the run back to the finish, they lost a bit of ground to Saramotins but in the fight for the GC, Quintana emerged as the strongest. He managed to put 3 seconds into Moreno to win the race overall and even finished a close second on the stage, just 1 second behind Saramotins.


For the first time in a few years, the Vuelta a Burgos included a time trial as this year’s race ended with on a completely flat non-technical out-and-back course starting and finishing in Aranda de Duero. Held on the plains in Burgos, it was expected to suit the really powerful specialists.


The first rider down the ramp was Mattia Pozzo (Neri Soittoli) who set a time of 15.43 to become the first rider in the hot seat. He held his lead for around two minutes before Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) lowered the mark by powering across the line in a time of 14.48.


The first rider to get just remotely close to Saramotins was Luis Mas (Caja Rural) but his time of 15.21 was still more than 30 seconds off the mark. Moments later, however, Damien Gaudin (Ag2r) blasted through the finish in a time of 14.56 to slot into seconds.


Maurits Lammertink (Giant) has a good ride with a time of 15.18 but the eyes were now on Imanol Erviti (Movistar) who had posted the best time at the intermediate check. However, he lost ground in the second half and his time of 14.50 was only good enough for second.


Artem Ovechkin (Rusvelo) slotted into third when he stopped the clock in 14.52 and so held off the challenge from Ruben Plaza (Movistar). The Spaniard’s time of 14.53 was good enough for fourth , making it two Movistar riders in the provisional top 4.


With a time of 15.06, Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) performed solidly but he was slightly bettered by Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) whose time of 15.04 was a mark for his teammate Chad Haga. The American seemed to be poised to take the lead when he set the fastest time at the time check but in the end his time of 14.51 was only good enough for third.


With a time of 15.18, Sebastien Turgot (Ag2r) had a great ride but Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) did even better when he stopped the clock in 15.03. The specialists had no almost all finished their rides and the attention started to turn towards the GC battle.


Among the GC riders, Ilnur Zakarin (Rusvelo) was expected to be one of the strongest and the Russian was clearly on a good day when he blasted through the intermediate check in the best time. However, he made a costly mistake in the final turn which cost him a few seconds and in the end his time of 14.55 was just good enough for 5th.


Daan Olivier (Giant-Shimano) performed well to slot into 11th but was relegated by Sergio Pardilla (MTN) who was just fractions of a second faster. The only specialist among the final 10 starters was Janez Brajkovic (Astana) but his time of 14.58 was only good enough for 8th.


While David Arroyo (Caja Rural) rolled across the line after a very poor performance, the focus had turned to Moreno and Quintana who were equal on time at the intermediate check. Quintana almost grabbed the stage win when he finished just 1 second off Saramotins’ mark while Moreno was 3 seconds slowed and took 5th on the stage.


For the second year in a row, Quintana won the race overall while Moreno and Brajkovic completed the podium. Moreno won the points competition and Quintana took the mountains jersey. The best young rider was Olivier while Astana was the strongest team in the race


Racing in Spain continues on Saturday when the Vuelta a Espana kicks off with a team time trial. Quintana and Moreno will both be back in action as they are set to line up as part of a star-studded field for the final grand tour.



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