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Nairo Quintana on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a EspaÒa

VUELTA’16 St. 20: Quintana Confirms!

Race Report: Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is poised to win the Vuelta a España after holding off Chris Froome (Sky) in the final mountain stage won by Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale). The Briton attacked repeatedly in the finalé on the Alto de Aitana, but could never drop the red jersey, who, barring a crash, will win his second Grand Tour after the 2014 Giro d’Italia on Sunday.

Nairo Quintana on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Esteban Chaves on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) jumped away from the favorites’ group in the penultimate climb to leapfrog Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) into third overall. Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) will win the polka dot jersey by a single point after he leapfrogged Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) by being first at top of the opening climb. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) is now leading the points classification after taking third place in the stage.

vuelta16st20-profile-920

Samuel Sanchez (BMC) did not take the start, having suffered a dislocated shoulder and bruises on his hip and knee in a crash in Friday’s time trial.

The stage got off to a nervous start with Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) jumping away from a big group of breakaway riders hoping to take the KOM points at top of the first climb, the 2nd category Coll de Rates. The Frenchman cracked, however, and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) went atop first to virtually take the polka dot jersey.

The break was reined in and more attacks followed, including one in the descent involving Froome, Andrew Talansky, Esteban Chaves, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Quintana. Tinkoff brought them back. Movistar reined in another breakaway that featured Sky riders before two men, Rudy Molard (Cofidis) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana).

A big chasing group took shape some 110 kilometers from the finish, with the following 15 riders: Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Yuri Trofimov (Tinkoff), David Lopez (Sky), Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Damien Howson (Orica – BikeExchange), Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha), Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal), Ben King (Cannondale-Drapac), Mathias Frank and Clément Chevrier (IAM Cycling), Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) and Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie).

Elissonde went solo from the peloton and joined the group 100 kilometers from the line. They were 2:30 behind the leading duo while the pack was almost eight minutes off the pace.

Rojas crashed in a descent, went under a crash barrier and suffered tibia and fibula fractures.

Vuelta a Espana - Stage 20

The gap between Sanchez/Molard and the peloton rose up to 13 minutes, when Orica-BikeExchange took the reins, setting up Chaves for an attack in the Puerto de Tudons that prompted Contador to lead the chase.
In the descent, Chaves was awaited by his team mate Hawson and both opened a one-minute lead over the red jersey group, which was led by Trofimov, who had dropped from the chasing group to help Contador.

Orica-Green Edge chases on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

They were two minutes ahead at the bottom of the final ascent, a 21.2 kilometer effort at an average gradient of 5.9%. Further up the road, the leading duo had a 1:40 advantage over the chasing group.

Pierre Latour and Darwin Atapuma on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Sanchez made his move 12 kilometers from the finish, dropping Molard with a brutal acceleration. Atapuma accelerated to catch and drop Sanchez with Latour and Frank.

Froome launched his first attack with about 6 kilometers left and only Quintana could follow his accelerations.

Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana on stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Latour and Atapuma were on their own up front, with the Colombian attacking 400 meters from the line and opening a gap, but the Frenchman came back and sprinted to victory.

Pierre Latour wins stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Quintana comfortably stayed in Froome’s wheel until the final straight, when he powered away from the Briton to add two seconds to his overall lead.

Read all about Al Hamilton’s day at the Vuelta HERE.

Vuelta a España Stage 20 Result:
1. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 5:19:41
2. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 0:02
3. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:17
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:40
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:03
6. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:28
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 2:02
8. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 3:01
9. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 3:17
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 4:03
11. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 4:05
12. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 4:34
13. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 4:41
14. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 5:04
15. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 5:10
16. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 5:28
17. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 5:38
18. Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 5:49
19. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 5:53
20. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha at 5:58
21. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
22. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ
23. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 6:06
24. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
25. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 6:37.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 20:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 80:42:36
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:23
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 4:08
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 4:21
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:43
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 8:33
7. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 11:18
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 13:04
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 13:17
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 14:07
11. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 15:33
12. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 15:57
13. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 18:22
14. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 19:10
15. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 22:05
16. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 29:37
17. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 36:30
18. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 38:13
19. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 40:29
20. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ at 42:01
21. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 44:27
22. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 56:08
23. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis at 57:11
24. Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha at 59:27
25. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:02:14.

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