Stybar Breaks to Victory at Vuelta
Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has won Stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana 2013. Stybar took a two-up sprint from world road race champion Philippe Gilbert (Team BMC Racing) to win the rolling, 205.9-km ride from Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare in 4:51:27. Robert Wagner (Belkin) won the sprint for third at 0:01. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains the red jersey.
Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has won Stage 7 of the 2013 Vuelta a Espana. Stybar took a two-up sprint from world road race champion Philippe Gilbert (Team BMC Racing) to win the rolling, 205.9-km ride from Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare in 4:51:27. Robert Wagner (Belkin) won the sprint for third at 0:01. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains the red jersey.
The hostilities began early. After the peloton reeled in an earlier break, Marco Pinotti (BMC), Christian Knees (Sky), and Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attacked at 11 km. The trio went unopposed and had forged a 7:12 lead at 55 km.
The peloton started chasing, and the gap narrowed. At 131 km, the lead was less than four minutes, and at 140 km, the bunch had shaved another minute off of the lead. With 50 km left, two and a half minutes separated bunch and break. Fifteen km later, the escapees led the field by 1:45.
The peloton accelerated, and the gap narrowed more quickly. With 17 km left, Pinotti dropped his companions, and the bunch reeled them in. Not long after that, Pinotti was caught.
RadioShack-Leopard took command and lifted the pace. With 11 km to go, Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) crashed and needed a new bike. Two teammates waited for him, but the Irishman finished 1:33 off the pace and went to a hospital after the stage. His status for Stage 8 is unknown. Not long before Martin’s mishap, his teammate Tyler Farrar punctured and lost his chance to contest the sprint.
With nine km to go, Gilbert attacked and took Stybar with him. The pair forged an eleven-second lead while GreenEdge attempted to reel them in.
Argos-Shimano fought its way to the front and paced the peloton. With five km left, the escapees’ advantage was down to 0:06. Narrower roads, however, made it possible for the fugitives to stretch their advantage to 0:12.
With just over two km left and the gap between bunch and break at 0:15, Sky went to the front. Stybar and Gilbert were still clear at the one-km banner, and riders began jumping out of the peloton in pursuit.
Stybar led out the sprint. With 100 m to go, Gilbert came off of the Czech’s wheel, but Stybar held him off. The race jury had to look at a photo to determine that Stybar had won.
Stybar said that Tony Martin’s 174-km break yesterday motivated the team today. "It was really beautiful for me and all of the team," Stybar said. "After yesterday, with Tony Martin fighting so hard, we were so proud of him. He gave all of us such big morale. We were really motivated for the stage because of him. After 100 km I told my sport director, 'Hey, if there is some attack on the last climb I am going to try and if not, we can go for the sprint for Gianni or Andy.’ I thought this was a good chance for me, but also a comfortable situation for the team because they wouldn't have to pull for the sprint.