Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vuelta a Espania Stage 17

Stage 17 was the longest stage of the race at 132.5 miles with 3 climbs. The final climb, Pena Cabarga being the most brutal of all. At the start Juan Jose Kobo was still the red jersey leader. Chris Froome was 22 seconds behind and Bradley Wiggens was 51 seconds back.
The start at Faustino vineyards

The Long Descent from the summit of Portilla de Lunado

After the summit of the 2nd climb the riders descended 3842 feet to the base of Pena Cabarga the 3rd and final climb. Pena Carbaga is 3.79 miles long with an average grade of 10% and a maximum grade of 19%. 

Kobo and Froome pass Dan Martin from team Garmin-Cervelo

In the steepest section of the climb Kobo surged ahead with Froome following close on his wheel.  Dan Martin who had broke away early in the climb was overtaken by Kobo and Froome.  Froome surged ahead of kobo and dropped him. Just as it looked like Froome would win the stage and take the overall race lead Kobo regrouped and pulled back up to and past Froome. Froome was able to muster another kick in the last 109 yards passing Kobo for the stage win by 1 second.

Froome is Victorious

Chris Froome was awarded the 20 second winners time bonus, Kobo recieved a 12 second time bonus and Bouke Mollema came in 3rd taking the green points jersey away from Joaquin Rodriguez.

Kobo is depleted but holds the overall race lead by 13 seconds.

Bradley Wiggens finished the stage 12th at +39 seconds but still hangs on to 3rd place in the overall race standings. Teams Sky's director, Servais Knaven said,"Its not over now, we still have 3 stages to try to take Kobo. It won't be easy but,we're motivated to keep fighting. Its a grand tour, we are going to keep fighting to the end."
This years Vuelta has been one of the most exciting I can remember with 4 stages to go and only 13 seconds separating 1st and 2nd place. 
Wiggens seems to have a firm grip on 3rd with Bauke Mollema in 4th place +.24 seconds from a podium finish.

Watch a short race video to see the exciting finish of stage 17



Stage 17 results
1  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky                  4:52:38
2  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC            + 0:01
3  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank                   + 0:21
4  Daniel Martin (Irl)  Garmin-Cervelo            + 0:24
5  Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi   + 0:27
6  Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi   
7  Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar                + 0:29
8  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto + 0:31
9  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC               
10 Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar       + 0:35

General Classification after Stage 17
1  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC          69:31:41
2  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky                   + 0:13
3  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky                      + 1:41
4  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank                   + 2:05
5  Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC                   + 3:48
6  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale      + 4:31
7  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto + 4:45
8  Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha          + 5:20
9  Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi   + 5:33
10 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard   + 7:06  

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