Gilbert Takes First Win as World Champion
With his world championship year about to end, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has notched his first win. The world road race champion overtook Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) to win Stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana. Gilbert took the rolling, 164.2-km ride from Maella to Tarragona in 4:03:44. Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) finished third, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains the red jersey.
Stage 7. Today, however, the Belgian was confident that he could win. "I was really convinced because the last time when I was second [on Stage 7 last Saturday], it was a little bit similar finish – with a very tricky final," Gilbert said. "So I decided to come to the front pretty early, like with 20 km to go. This cost me a lot of energy because you hit the wind more than the rest. But at least you see everything coming and you can choose your line. I was perfectly dropped off by the guys in the last two kilometers, especially by Danilo Wyss, who did a great job."
Gilbert added that Boasson Hagen’s early jump did not unnerve him. "When you start so early, it's never easy, because it's still like 20 seconds to the line – a long time," the world champion said. "It's also where I am the strongest. I knew if I went full gas, I could make it. I passed him and it happened. It was like a dream. It was amazing."
In the overall, Nibali leads Roche by 0:31 and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 0:46. Stage 13 will not change this state of affairs. The 169-km ride from Valls to Castelldefels will feature a Category 3 climb and a Category 1 ascent, but neither will be near the finish line. The GC contenders will allow an escape by a group of riders who are no threat to them. Who will be in it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!