Steve Cummings Soloes to Victory in Vuelta a Espana
Team BMC Racing's Steve Cummings soloed to victory in stage 13 of the Vuelta a España after attacking his six breakaway companions with just four kilometers to go. Team Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez maintained his overall lead.
Cummings finished today's stage in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 2 seconds, while Cameron Meyer of Australia and Juan Antonio Flecha of Spain were 4 seconds behind.
Commenting on his stage victory after being celebrated on the podium, Cummings described how he waited for the perfect moment to launch his attack. Cummings first followed a move by breakaway group companion Flecha before countering with an attack of his own near the end of the stage.
"I tried to wait as long as possible," Cummings continued. "I think I played it really well. I just waited for a good opportunity. With a kilometer to go, I saw them sit up, so I knew I'd won - so I could enjoy it a bit more. But before then, it was head-down, go-as-hard-as-I-could, because they weren't far behind."
Rodriguez managed to keep his 13 second lead over Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Alberto Contador and is 51 seconds ahead of Tour de France runner-up Christopher Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky after all three crossed the line with the main peloton group. Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Team Movistar trails by 01:20.
Contador intends to strike down on Rodriguez during the coming weekend of hard mountain stages involving difficult climbs in an attempt to take the overall lead from the fellow Spaniard.
"We should be moving into my type of terrain," 2008 Vuelta a Espana champion Contador explained. "I hope to take advantage of the opportunity. I'm in good shape and I've prepared for this." Contador should have the fresher legs after sitting out since February because of a doping ban.
Team Argos-Shimano's John Degenkolb, who has four stage wins, won the main peloton's group sprint finishing seventh as the peloton crossed 40 seconds back.
Tomorrow's 149.2 kilometer stage 14 from Palas de Rei to Puerto de Ancares features five category climbs including a steep finish at the top of Puerto de Ancares. The climbs continue in Monday's stage, where Rodriguez expects the special category finish at Cuitunigru to be decisive.
"I need to maintain my lead, that's clear. But if I feel good I'll try to attack and gain some seconds," Rodriguez said. "I need to be wary of Alberto, and if I can leave him trailing behind, I will. It would be nice if he had a bad day."
The 21-stage Vuelta a Espana ends in the Spanish capital Madrid on September 9.
Watch video highlights from all stages of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana in our videos section (U.S. only - due to geo broadcast rights restrictions).