Barguil Takes Stage 13 of Vuelta
Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) has won Stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana. The 21-year-old neopro surged away from a nine-man break in the last km to win the rugged, 169-km ride from Valls to Castelldefels. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) outsprinted Bauke Mollema (Belkin) for second at 0:07. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains the red jersey.
In a departure from earlier stages, Astana was unwilling to let early breaks go up the road. At 10 km, a crash occurred, and Pablo Lastras (Movistar) and Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) abandoned because of injuries. After a number of abortive sallies, six riders went off of the front at 72 km. They were Mollema, Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Barguil, Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iker Camano (NetApp-Endura), and Nocentini. Twelve more riders joined the move: Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), Mikael Cherel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol), and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Astana let this move go, and the break led the field by three minutes at the base of the Category 1 Alto del Rat Penat.
Scarponi created a selection on the climb. The Lampre-Merida man accelerated, and his pacemaking split the break and dropped a number of break members. At the summit, the Italian led the remnants of the break by 0:35 and the Katusha-led peloton by 1:50. Scarponi sat up and waited for reinforcements. Barguil, Nocentini, Martinez, Xandio, Santaromita, Coppel, Intxausti, Mollema, and Txurruka joined him.
The break extended its lead on the descent. With 29 km left, the gap had widened to 3:48. Astana was not chasing, but Cannondale, Francaise des Jeux, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step were. With 10 km to go, the break was still more than two minutes ahead of the bunch. Obviously, a break member would win.
Two km later, Intxausti crashed on a right-hand turn and lost his chance. Soon thereafter, the attacks began. Xandio, Txurruka, Coppel, and Martinez went off of the front, and Mollema bridged up to the group. Just as he did so, however, Coppel and Martinez attacked.
Scarponi joined the pair. The break appeared catchable. It never led by more than a handful of seconds. With two km left, the six chasers had caught the three leaders.
Coppel countered, but Xandio, Barguil, and Nocentini took his wheel. Just short of the one-km banner, the Argos-Shimano man made his move. Indecision regarding who should chase allowed Barguil to get well clear, and he pointed to the sky with both hands as he reached the finish line. Nocentini led the chase group home.
Barguil has had a difficult season with injuries and crashes, and he was happy to have a success that justified his team’s faith in him. "I am so proud of my victory today in my first year as a professional and for it to come in a Grand Tour," Barguil said. "I crashed really hard last Monday and I was really disappointed after that, as I was 19th in the GC and had several top 10 finishes in the mountain stages. Even if that was not my biggest goal in this Vuelta it was a pity to lose this overall position. But the rest day came at the right moment and since then I have felt better and better.
"We knew that today was a good opportunity for a breakaway, so I saved my energy and I still felt really good in the finale. I knew it suited me very well and I waited for the right moment to attack and I did it. Unbelievable.
"I am happy that I can confirm my talent with this victory, given I had some problems with my back in the beginning of the season. But the team gave me all their trust and guidance to work towards this race without any pressure or expectations. It is great how they support me and help me to develop as a rider."
In the overall, Nibali leads Nicolas Roche (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) by 0:31 and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 0:46. Stage 14 will be a standing shaker. The 155.7-km ride from Baga to Collada de la Gallina in Andorra will take the riders over the special category Port de Envalira and the Category 2 Coll de Ordino and Alto de la Comella before concluding on the Category 1 Collada de la Gallina. The stage will be the first of three consecutive stages that could decide the 2013 Vuelta. Who will win? Who will don the red jersey? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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