La Vuelta a España Stage 14: Carnage on La Camperona
OPQS rider Carlos Verona, the youngest of an original breakaway that decided a brutal 200.8km La Vuelta a España high mountain Stage 14 on Saturday, fought for a hard earned 9th place finish on La Camperona (8.3km, 7.5% average gradient).
The carnage of the stage happened on a little more than the last 2 kilometers of La Camperona, when the gradient rises to a 14% average and max ramps around 20 percent.
The breakaway immediately reduced to seven riders when the gradient started to ramp up to 15 percent, but their gap was more than enough to not worry about the peloton behind them. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was the first to attack, but Oliver Zaugg (Tinkoff-Saxo) went over the top of him. However, Hesjedal caught and passed Zaugg in the final hundred meters of the race for the stage win. Imanol Erviti (Movistar) was 3rd. Verona was one of the riders unable to maintain contact, but he still finished in the top 10 after a long day.
Rigoberto Uran, who was 3rd in the GC, made it to La Camperona in the peloton. Uran was unable to stay with the attacks once the gradient got steep, and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) led an acceleration that formed a very small select group to fight for GC positions.
Contador, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), and Fabio Aru (Astana) were fighting back and forth in the final kilometers, with not much separation being gained. Meanwhile, Chris Froome (Team Sky) worked his way back to the group, and he was the one who attacked in the final kilometer. Rodriguez was able to minimize time lost, while Contador and Aru lost some seconds. Valverde and Moreno were both dropped and lost more time.
Uran is now 5th in the GC, +2'07" after placing 18th.
"We tried to make the race a little bit hard, tried to pull a little bit," Uran said. "But in the final, on the last climb, I suffered a bit. But OK, concerning the GC and my goals here, nothing has changed. We still have two hard mountain stages in front of us. Tomorrow we have a tough summit finish in Lagos de Covadonga that I am familiar with . I will try to do my best again. The goal in these next days is to hang on, and do our best to stay with the strongest guys with the climbs."