Moreno Takes Second Stage Win of Vuelta, Red Jersey
The racing started early. In the first km, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Luke Rowe (Sky) sallied off of the front, and Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Anthony Roux (Francaise des Joux), and Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale) joined the pair. The quintet built a lead that maxed out at 6:34.
BMC and Katusha began to chase, and the lead came down. It was 3:58 at 50 km, and although the pursuit eased up on the throttle over the ensuing km, the gap was 3:43 at 84 km.
Lotto-Belisol joined in the chase, and the leaders’ advantage had dropped to 1:50 with 47.3 km left. Just before the catch was made with 26 km to go, Aramendia rode away from his companions.
Aramendia’s move did him no good. When the peloton reached the Category 2 Alto de los Frailes, it reeled in the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider. Amets Txurruka, Aramendia’s teammate, countered, only to have Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard) overtake him with 20 km remaining. The Croatian led by 0:12 with 18 km to go. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) took a dig and led by 0:10 at the summit. The Norwegian’s advantage maxed out at 0:30, at which point Luis Leon Sanchez (Belkin) attempted to bridge up to the Norwegian, but the bunch snared the Spaniard. With 10 km left, Boasson Hagen had a 10-second lead, a lead that remained constant until he began ascending the tough climb to the finish.
Katusha led the field onto the ascent. With 1.8 km remaining, the field reeled in the Sky man. Ivan Basso (Cannondale) attacked, and Moreno went after him. Valverde, Rodriguez, and Roche followed. Moreno jumped Basso and held on for the win. The bonus seconds that the Katusha rider earned made him the race leader.
Moreno has made a career of riding for the likes of Valverde and Rodriguez, and today’s stage win, his second of this year’s Vuelta, will not change that. “Slowly, I’ve moved into the lead but the last week is going to be hard,” the Katusha man said. “Having the red jersey now doesn’t change anything for me. I deserve it today and I’ll defend it but not crazily. Tomorrow, Ivan Basso can be very strong for example. Anything can happen. Purito [Rodriguez] and Nibali have the endurance. They know how to handle the distance over three weeks. It’s a really long race with very strong riders.”
In the overall, Moreno leads Roche by 0:01 and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) by 0:20. Stage 10 will probably see the red jersey change backs again. The 186.8-km ride from Torredelcampo to Guejar Sierra will feature the Category 1 Alto de Monachil and the special category Alto de Hazallanas. The red jersey will be fought for on the last of these two climbs. Who will take it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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