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La Vuelta - Stages 20, Report, Photo & Video
By Mark Sharon
Date: 9/15/2013
La Vuelta - Stages 20, Report, Photo & Video
2013 Daily Peloton

13 September April 2013: Stage 20, Avilés / Alto de L´Angliru, 142.2 km : Battle of the Titans ends in Horner extending his lead.

In conditions that resembled a mediaeval picture of hell Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) finally hammered the hopes of his rival Vicenzo Nibali (Astana) into the tarmac. While Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) gave his team and France another day of cheer with a solo stage win Horner extended his lead ten-fold, from three seconds to 37" of the Italian to make winning La Vuelta 2013 a near certainty with just a parade into Madrid today left in the schedule.

The final twelve kilometres of the stage saw the two fighting for glory on slopes of 21 and 23 percent in visibility that was down to 35 metres, hounded on both sides by a crowd at once baying and blood and glory and insisting on their own moment in front of the cameras. A race for stage victory was happening around them but Horner, Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and a handfu of others with GC places at stake battered at each other in the appalling conditions. One moment of weakness and the other would disappear into the mist. With just a couple of kilometres to go the Italian finally succumbd to the pressure and the American was past a car and camera bike and gone.

La Vuelta 2013

Nibali & Horner © La Vuelta

“When I was home during my knee surgery, I was never sure the knee was going to recover,” said Horner, referring to the knee injury that kept him from competition for most of the season. “At one moment my 11-year old son asked me if I could keep racing my bike. I said to him: ‘I hope so, but if my knee doesn’t recover I will have to retire.’ He said to me, ‘Dad you can’t retire. It’s not cool if I’m at school and the other kids ask me what my Dad does. Right now I can say he’s a professional bike rider and he does big races like the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain. I can’t tell all my friends my Dad is an ex-bike racer.’ I kept thinking of that with every pedal stroke, wanting for my son to be able to tell his friends at school that his dad won a grand tour, that he’s the only American to ever win the Tour of Spain and he’s the only over-40 rider to ever win a grand tour. Now he’ll get to say that for the rest of his life and it will be a moment he will enjoy forever.”

La Vuelta 2013

Stage 20 Route Profile © La Vuelta

Horner further reflected on the day’s action:  “At my age I do not need to wait until tomorrow to let this sink in.  I understand how beautiful it is.  I love how big a fight Nibali brought to this and how hard and to such a dark place I had to dig to win this race.”  Nibali attacked Horner no less than six times, each time accelerating away and creating a gap. “I had to go back to what works best for me.  It took me a moment to realize as he kept attacking me that I needed to stick with what worked for me at the beginning and remind myself it would work for me again at the end.  Finally I had to bring the power up as high as possible all the way to the end so he wouldn’t have one moment to recover.  Any time he could recover even just a little bit, he had time to accelerate.  I made that mistake the first few times before I went to the front and set my own tempo.” 

The battle began with 6km of climbing on the super steep L’Angliru.  Nibali went to the front and quickly surged ahead, opening up a gap that Horner was initially slow to respond to.  He eventually rode his way back to the Italian rider, getting on the wheel, only to see Nibali ready to try again and again and again, bringing the fight with no thought to the pain.   Horner responded each time, up out of the saddle and pressing hard to gain time.  Horner explained:  “I don’t like to sit down on the climb.  I am most comfortable when I stand.  It sets me into a rhythm.  That’s how I train at home and it’s always been that way for me.  It’s my own unique style but for me it’s most comfortable.  I love to race my bike. There are four precious things in my life and the bike is the fifth,” he said, referring to his wife and three children.

Horner continued:  “I knew how hard today would be and how much suffering I was in for.  Nibali was amazing.  To win here among such great champions such as Nibali and Valverde and Rodriguez means so much to me.  To have those guys around me in this victory is incredible.  To see Nibali attack so many times had to be so exciting for the fans of cycling.  They must have been on the edge of their seats!  It was a legendary moment I think to see someone of my age win a Grand Tour.  I hope all of you enjoyed every pedal stroke and enjoyed my suffering and love it the same way I did.  For every moment I suffered, I hope the fans truly enjoyed it.”

Stage 20 Result - Top 10

1 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) 3:55:36
2 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:26
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:54
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
5 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
6 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
7 Jose Joao Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:01:15
8 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:01:45
9 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:52
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) 0:01:59

La Vuelta Official Highlights (in Spanish):

General Classification after 20 Stages - Top 75

1 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 81:52:01  
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:37  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:36  
4 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:03:22  
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:07:11  
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:00  
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) 0:08:41  
8 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:09:51  
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura 0:10:11  
10 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha 0:13:11  
11 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:14:05  
12 José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:16:48  
13 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:17:34  
14 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:19:26  
15 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:22:04  
16 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:25:03  
17 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:25:06  
18 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:27:02  
19 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:32:52  
20 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:33:05  
21 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:34:35  
22 Jose Joao Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:39:08  
23 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team 0:48:46  
24 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:49:36  
25 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:51:17  
26 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:57:15  
27 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:57:52  
28 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:58:42  
29 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 1:00:37  
30 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1:12:19  
31 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 1:17:42  
32 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 1:18:47  
33 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) 1:22:12  
34 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp-Endura 1:25:27  
35 Anthony Roux (Fra) 1:25:47  
36 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Argos-Shimano 1:28:03  
37 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1:33:23  
38 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 1:36:39  
39 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1:37:26  
40 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
41 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1:38:50  
42 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 1:41:15  
43 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1:42:49  
44 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1:46:40  
45 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar Team 1:48:08  
46 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1:48:50  
47 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) 1:51:39  
48 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team 1:51:53  
49 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha 1:52:37  
50 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 1:53:51  
51 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 1:58:20  
52 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 1:58:59  
53 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 2:02:21  
54 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling 2:02:49  
55 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling 2:04:10  
56 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:05:39  
57 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 2:07:58  
58 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 2:14:19  
59 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 2:16:27  
60 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol 2:17:18  
61 Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 2:18:03  
62 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha 2:19:17  
63 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 2:20:03  
64 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 2:25:57  
65 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 2:26:34  
66 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team 2:28:59  
67 Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura 2:32:34  
68 Iker Camano (Spa) Team NetApp-Endura 2:32:39  
69 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 2:34:45  
70 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 2:36:14  
71 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 2:38:19  
72 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky Procycling 2:39:26  
73 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team 2:39:35  
74 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team 2:42:44  
75 Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 2:43:05  


Race Route for 2013

La Vuelta 2013

Race Route © La Vuelta




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