Vuelta a España: De La Cruz keeps top 10 place after Peña Cabarga
On a stage which saw Pieter Serry and Zdenek Stybar feature in the break, the Spaniard put in a strong ride on one of the race's toughest climbs.
After a rest day spent in Oviedo, the Vuelta a España peloton rolled off from Colunga at a blistering pace, covering 50 kilometers in the opening hour. This made any breakaway attempt useless until after the town of San Roque de Acebal, where 23 riders finally managed to snap the elastic and get a maximum gap of five minutes. Among them were also Pieter Serry, who was at his third escape since the start of the race, and Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Zdenek Stybar, who won the day's intermediate sprint.
Two of the GC teams, Movistar and Tinkoff, weren't content with the break and pushed hard behind the 23 men, chewing into their advantage kilometer after kilometer, so that by the foot of Peña Cabarga – a climb as cruel and brutal as Ojancanu, the evil creature of the fascinating Cantabrian mythology – the gap was down at 40 seconds. With three kilometers to go, the race came back together and the big contenders returned into the spotlight on the grueling 18% ramps.
Former wearer of the red jersey and winner of stage 9, David De La Cruz was in the mix until the final two kilometers, when Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) attacked, sparking a response from Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Movistar duo Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. At that point, the peloton was already strung out, Etixx – Quick-Step's Spaniard being one of the few who were still holding on the wheels of the GC favourites, despite the frantic rhythm.
The stage victory was played between Froome and Quintana, and the Brit was the one who prevailed in the end, while his opponent retained the overall lead. David paced himself admirably on Peña Cabarga, finishing 11th, half a minute later, a result thanks to which he kept his top 10 place in the general classification ahead of stage 12 of the Spanish Grand Tour (Las Corrales de Buelna – Bilbao, 193.2 kilometers), that will take the peloton over four classified climbs.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele