Winner Anacona wins Vuelta stage
Winner Anacona wins Vuelta stage
The ninth stage of the Vuelta a España saw a first highlight from TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA's perspective with a stage win by Winner Anacona. The Colombian set off from a large group of attackers on the two final ascents and soloed to the stage victory. Damiano Cunego also made it to the podium by finishing the stage in 3rd.
The Vuelta a España saw a bad start for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA: As the team's designated leader Chris Horner had to forfeit the race and thus the defence of his title due to low cortisol levels. These were the consequence of a persistent bronchitis that Horner had caught at the Tour de France and that had forced the team doctors to treat him with cortisone. The American's spot was given to young Italian Valerio Conti who rewarded the trust of the team management with an attacking ride in stage 2 that got him into the leader's jersey of the combined classification.
At the race's opening team time trial TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA showed a pleasing performance and finished in 10th. As TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA's strongest sprinter at the Vuelta a España, Roberto Ferrari added three more top10 finishes in the first week. At the end of the second stage, Ferrari made it to the podium by sprinting to a 3rd place-finish. He added an 8th place at the end of the eighth stage and a 10th place at the end of the fifth stage to his tally. Winner Anacona on the other hand lost almost a minute when the peloton fragmented in the finale of the 8th stage due to crosswinds.
But the real highlight thus far from TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA's perspective came courtesy of Winner Anacona on the day before the first rest day: Just like his team mate Damiano Cunego the Colombian made it into the day's large, 31-men group of attackers. On the stage's final two ascents Anacona showed a strong performance: First he set off from the rest with two other riders and then he got rid off these on the final ascent as well. As the best-placed rider of the attackers in the overall standings, the Colombian also had a chance to get the red jersey of the overall leader. But as the favourites started to attack each other fiercely on the final two kilometres, Anacona missed out on this opportunity by a mere nine seconds.
But the stage win was a sure catch for the 26 year-old Colombian: He arrived atop the Aramon Valdelinares on his own in pouring rain and thus got to enjoy his first win as a professional to the full. About 50 seconds later Damiano Cunego was the second rider of TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA to cross the finish line in 3rd. Thus Cunego scored the most valuable result of his season thus far at the Vuelta a España. Tomorrow the riders get to enjoy the first rest day of the Vuelta a España before MERIDA's WARP TT time trial bikes are brought to use on Tuesday for an individual time trial over 36.7 kilometres.
69th Vuelta a España
Stage 9: Carboneras de Guadazon - Aramon Valdelinares, 185km
1. Winner Anacona, COL/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, in 4:34.14 hours
2. Alexey Lutsenko, KAZ, + 0.45
3. Damiano Cunego, ITA/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, + 0.50
1. Nairo Quintana, COL, in 35:58.05 hours
2. Alberto Contador, ESP, + 0.03
3. Alejandro Valverde, ESP, + 0.08
4. Winner Anacona, COL/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, + 0.09
5. Chris Froome, GBR, + 0.28