La Vuelta a España Stage 13: Brambilla Elevates GC Position in the Break!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Gianluca Brambilla moved into the top 10 of the overall classification, after cleverly being in front and entering the breakaway at 178km La Vuelta a España Stage 13 on Friday. Teammate Niki Terpstra also made the move, and the 24-rider escape group decided the stage. Brambilla finished 13th, and Terpstra 17th.
Brambilla is now 9th overall, 2'51" down on race leader Fabio Aru (Astana).
Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) won the stage solo, attacking inside 30km remaining in the race. Terpstra did his best to try and organize a chase behind, but Oliveira had too much of an advantage. Julien Simon (Cofidis) finished 2nd out of the group behind Oliveira, a minute down. Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) finished 3rd. The Brambilla group still finished several minutes ahead of the next riders on the road, which moved him up four places in the general classification.
The actions of Brambilla and Terpstra reflect the attitude of Etixx - Quick-Step throughout La Vuelta: Attack when there is an opportunity.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 215km Stage 14 on Saturday, from Vitoria to Alto Campoo. Fuente del Chivo. Not only is Stage 14 the longest of La Vuelta, it is also a high mountain stage with an HC summit finale. Alto Campoo, about 18km in length, features several ramps between 7 and 9 percent gradient.
"Today at the start, the speed was unbelievable," Brambilla said. "Not only was the pace really high, but the road was always going up. I wasn't looking for the breakaway, but I was there in the front, and suddenly the group split, and I was in the first part. So, I was there, I looked around me, I saw Niki was with me and Sicard, who was also among the top GC riders in the breakaway. So we decided to keep going and see what can happen. There were a lot of riders in the group, so we started working together. The gap kept increasing. Then I took the intermediate sprint for the bonus seconds. In the last climb there was a lot of attacks. Oliveira was the smartest and the fastest. He went away on the downhill. Behind him we tried to chase and close the gap. Niki worked a lot. But Oliveira was really strong today, and it was impossible to close the gap. In the finale I also wanted to try and do the sprint and get a good result. But I was boxed in a bit on the right side while the sprint was happening on the other side of the road. I couldn't do any better than where I finished. I am still happy with today's result, as I moved into the top 10 of the overall. It was a nice action. Of course I spent some energy in the breakaway, but I was repaid with my GC position improvement. The next days will be really hard. I will have to do my best stage-after-stage. there are three uphill finishes in a row, so it won't be easy to defend my position, and we will probably see a lot more changes in the overall. But for now, I am here in the top 10, and I did a lot of work to get here. I will do my best to keep my position in a group of very strong riders at this Vuelta."