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Vincenzo Nibali finishes the Vuelta a España in 2nd

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Vincenzo Nibali finishes the Vuelta a España in 2nd

After three weeks on the roads of Southern France, Andorra and Spain and many hard climbs, Vincenzo Nibali got to celebrate the 2nd place in the overall standings of the Vuelta a España. In addition to that, Giovanni Visconti and Ivan Garcia Cortina scored podium results in stages in the third week. With a 3rd place in the Giro d’Italia and a 2nd at the Vuelta a España the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM has shown a strong first season.

After the tough mountain top finish at los Machucos where Vincenzo Nibali finished in 4th place and managed to put 42 seconds into overall leader Chris Froome, the Vuelta a España seemed wide open. With his deficit reduced to 1min16, a lot looked to be possible seen the tough stages to follow. But on the very next day, the captain of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM lost 21 seconds to his main rival on the short ascent to the finish line. At least Giovanni Visconti saved the day from the team’s perspective, having ridden in the lead group all day and finishing the stage in 3rd, almost ten minutes earlier than Nibali. The next day, another rider in dark blue, red and gold made it into the group of the day that held on to contest for the stage win with Ivan Garcia Cortina. With 20 kilometers to go the young Spaniard attacked, vying for the stage win in his hometown of Gijon, but he was caught soon after. Thus the nine strongest attackers sprinted for the stage win, and Garcia Cortina crossed the line in 3rd - a superb result for a first-year professional.

The highlight of the third week of racing at this year’s Vuelta a España was the short mountain stage finishing atop the Alto de l’Angliru. As for the conclusive 50 kilometers, there was hardly a flat section in sight, and to top off things the final ascent featured 1’300 vertical meters of climbing and gradients of up to 24%. To make matters worse, the stage was ridden on a cold and windy day with some heavy rain showers. The riders of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM gave it their all to get Vincenzo Nibali into the position to launch a final attack on Chris Froome. The team set a high pace on the descent from the Alto del Cordal, but it was Vincenzo Nibali who crashed on the wet streets, being lucky to escape almost unscathed. On the brutally steep ramps of the Angliru Franco Pellizotti worked relentlessly to shrink down the group of overall contenders. But on the last three kilometers, Nibali lacked the power to attack and had to settle to defending his 2nd place in the overall standings. Thanks to the help of Pellizotti and a 6th-place finish, he succeeded in doing so.

The final day and the stage to Madrid did not bring any changes in the overall standings anymore. This meant that Vincenzo Nibali got to celebrate his 2nd place in the overall standings on the podium. This result and his 3rd place at the Giro d’Italia clearly show that Nibali is still one of the strongest Grand Tour riders. More than 5000 kilometers further West the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM was competing at the two Canadian one-day races in Québec and Montreal. As the team’s protected sprinter Sonny Colbrelli could count on the support of Yukiya Arashiro, Borut Bozic, Grega Bole, Jani Brajkovic, Enrico Gasparotto, Heinrich Haussler and Luka Pibernik. As for the first race held around Québec, the group sprinting for the win got reduced to 35 riders and Colbrelli was one of the very few sprinters to remain in that group. But on the ascending finish straight he lacked the necessary power to go for the win, having to settle for 10th instead.

72nd Vuelta a España

Stage 18: Suances - Santo Toribio de Liébana, 169km
1. Sander Armée, BEL, in 4:09.39 hours
2. Alexey Lutsenko, KAZ, + 0.31
3. Giovanni Visconti, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 0.46

Stage 19: Caso / Parque Natural de Redes - Gijon, 149.7km
1. Thomas de Gendt, BEL, in 3:35.46 hours
2. Jarlinson Pantano, COL, st
3. Ivan Garcia Cortina, ESP/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, st

General classification:
1. Chris Froome, GBR, in 82:30.02 hours
2. Vincenzo Nibali, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 2.15
3. Ilnur Zakarin, RUS, + 2.51

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