Team Lampre-Merida

Nelson Oliveira wins 13th stage of Vuelta a España

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Nelson Oliveira wins 13th stage of Vuelta a España

The first rest day at the Vuelta a España seems to have done TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s riders good. They rode aggressively in the Queen’s stage before it all added up in the 13th stage. Nelson Oliveira had been one of the most active riders throughout the stage, attacked from the lead group with 29 kilometers to go and rode to a solo stage win in Tarazona.

Right after the first rest day the athletes were facing what was probably one of the toughest stages in the history of the Vuelta a España: Over a distance of only 138 kilometers, the riders were facing no less than six climbs and a total of more than 5000 vertical meters of ascending. While the overall contenders only got into action for the final two ascents, two riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA made it into the escape group of the day with Nelson Oliveira and Rubén Plaza. The latter was unlucky and lost contact due to a mechanical, but Oliveira remained in the lead of the race far into the finale. He placed an attack at the foot of the last climb, but the Portuguese had no chance against the real climbing specialists he was competing with. In the end Oliveira crossed the finish line in 11th, a bit over three minutes down on stage winner Mikael Landa.

The 12th stage was significantly easier and was an ideal opportunity for attackers. Early on five riders got away, but this time TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA had no rider in the lead group. In the finale the attackers and the peloton battled it out by hook or crook, with the latter only closing in on the final kilometer. Unfortunately Max Richeze timed his acceleration a bit early and got into the wind with 500 meters to go. As a consequence the Argentinian sprinter got passed by about ten riders and only crossed the finish line in 12th. After this finale the riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green agreed that they had to give it all in order not to miss another escape group the next day and to go for the stage win from that group.

Throughout the first hour of racing in the 13th stage the riders of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA were very attentive, and this was to be rewarded: At first Nelson Oliveira got away together with Sylvain Chavanel and Japan’s Yukiya Arashiro. From there a number of smaller groups managed to get to the front, increasing the number of riders up front to 24. TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA was the only team that had three riders in this escape group with Nelson Oliveira, Rubén Plaza and Valerio Conti. And Oliveira showed his strength with a first acceleration at the foot of the final rated climb of the stage. The Portuguese rider got reeled in but that left him unfazed. As soon as an attack from the Polish rider Poljanski had been neutralized Nelson Oliveira placed another strong acceleration right after the KOM marker and with 29 kilometers to go.

From there the reigning Portuguese national time trial champion made good use of his qualities as a rouleur. Oliveira kept the biggest gear turning and handsomely profited from MERIDA’s very aerodynamic REACTO TEAM bike that he was riding on. He kept extending his lead on the steady up and down in the winding finale of the stage. Further back his team mates Rubén Plaza and Valerio Conti did their best to disturb the chase. Their work was a success as Nelson Oliveira’s lead had grown to a minute with two kilometers to go. Thus the final kilometer turned into a triumphant ride for the Portuguese who got to celebrate the second win of his season and the first stage win of his career in a grand tour in Tarazona. The only bad news on this day of joy came from Mattia Cattaneo who had to abandon the Vuelta a España as the second rider of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA.

70th Vuelta a España
13th stage: Calatayud - Tarazona, 178km

1. Nelson Oliveira, POR/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, in 4:14.01 hours
2. Julien Simon, FRA, + 1.00
3. Nicolas Roche. IRL, st

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