Fredrik Kessiakoff Rides to Time Trial Victory in Vuelta a Espana
Joaquin Rodriguez held a slim overall lead Vuelta on Alberto Contador in this year's Vuelta a Espana after finishing seventh in the time trial earlier Wednesday.
It was an intense and thrilling afternoon as fans watched the Vuelta general classification favorites were challenged with the 39.4 kilometer individual time trial from Cambados to Pontevedra. The stretch contained one small climb and a descent.
Prior to the time trial each of the GC favorites had had a busy time pointing out other GC favorites as favorites for the victory in today's time trial.
Fredrik Kessiakoff won the time trial by 17 seconds over Contador. Rodriguez finished 1:16 behind Kessiakoff to retain a one-second lead over 2008 champion Contador.
"Rest day is over and it's now back to work. Good thing is the temperatures are a lot cooler here in the north west. Hoping for good sensations," Kessiakoff commented before firing on all cylinders in today's stage.
Christopher Froome finished 39 seconds behind the Astana rider's winning time of 52 minutes, 36 seconds. He’s 16 seconds behind Rodriguez in third overall.
Contador moved ahead of Froome into second in the overall standings, but couldn’t overtake Rodriguez.
"To have Alberto second is like having the devil in your ear," Rodriguez said. "My legs felt like they were going to explode."
Contador’s fresher state may help his push for a second Vuelta a Espana title after he arrived at the 67th edition of the classic with little racing in his legs, because of a doping ban since February.
"The Vuelta really starts now," Contador commented.
Contador gained time over his rivals in the climb to Monte Castrove after 14 miles. He was fastest among his top rivals in negotiating the steep and curvy descent, with Froome showing nerves navigating the thin stretch of road.
"It’s good to have been stronger than Chris Froome in a discipline that favors him. So while I managed a good time against the other favorites, I wanted to win the stage," Contador explained.
Contador is racing in his first major event since serving a doping ban that stripped him of his third Tour de France title from 2010.
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).