Barguil Wins Stage 16 of Vuelta; Nibali Fights to Keep Red Jersey
Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) has taken his second stage of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The French climber pipped Rigoberto Uran (Sky) in a photo-finish sprint to take Stage 16, a 147.7-km ride from Graus to Formigal, in 3:43:31. Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) took third, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) kept the red jersey despite losing nearly half of his overall lead to attacks from his rivals.
At the start, the racing was aggressive. A series of attacks occurred in the first hour. One of them included Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Bauke Mollema (Belkin), Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Danilo Wyss (BMC), but Movistar shut down the move after it gained 0:42 on the peloton.
At about 65 km, another break formed. This one included Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Flecha, Dominik Nerz and Martin Kohler (both from BMC), Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis), Huzarski, and Uran. Movistar chased and sent Benat Ixtausti and Sylvester Szmyd to bridge up to the move, which led the peloton by 1:20 on the Category 2 Puerto de Contefablo.
Astana unsuccessfully attempted to reel in the break. Barguil, Christian Meier (GreenEdge), Vladimir Gusev and Dmitriy Kozontchuk (both from Katusha), Jose Herrada (Movistar), Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Maciej Paterski (Cannondale), Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis), Andre Cardoso (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale), Maciej Paterski (Cannondale), Mikael Cherel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Juan Manuel Garate (Belkin) joined the move, which led the field by 2:30 with 27 km left. One km later, the advantage had grown to 3:10.
Euskaltel-Euskadi joined Astana at the front. Ahead, the 23-man break, whose members had different goals, began to disintegrate as riders attacked.
With 20 km left, Barguil, Nerz, Txurruka, Uran, and Garate attacked, but Szmyd and Ixtausti brought them back. Four km later, Garate took another dig, and several others followed, but the rest of the break reeled them in.
At the beginning of the Category 1 ascent to the finish, Sorensen went down, but no one else crashed with him.
The attacks were shelling riders, whom the Euskaltel-Euskadi-led peloton reeled in. With 13 km left, Garate tried again, and Barguil and Cherel went with him. What remained of the break snared the trio, however.
With nine km to go, Barguil made his move. He led his erstwhile companions by 0:22 one km later, and he led Nerz, Cardoso, Cherel, and Herrada by 0:34 two km later. Uran chased from a group that was further back and trailed by 0:30 with four km left.
Nerz joined Uran, and the pair attempted to catch Barguil. With two km to go, they had closed to within 0:20 of the Argos-Shimano man.
Uran dropped Nerz and caught Barguil at the one-km banner. The Colombian attacked immediately, but Barguil took his wheel. Nerz joined forces with Huzarski, and the duo closed in on the two leaders. Uran led out the sprint, but Barguil came around around him to win by no more than a few centimeters.
Behind, the battle for the red jersey began. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked, but Nibali’s teammate Kanel Tangert brought him back. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) followed and rode up to Gusev, his teammate. Rodriguez dropped Gusev and proceeded on his own.
Horner put in an attack, and not long after, Valverde got clear of the red jersey group. Thibaut Pinot (Francaise des Jeux) joined him,