Fabio Aru (Astana) rode to victory on the 11th stage of La Vuelta a Espana.
The young Italian arrived 6 seconds before the GC favourites group where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crossed the line 2nd and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was 3rd. Even though the stage finished at the summit of the San Miguel de Aralar, there was very little change to the GC.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had a good day placing 5 riders in the top 50 on a really tough stage. Initially the plan was to place one of our young climbers in the early break but due to the infighting for bonus seconds by the top GC contenders, the break was not allowed to go in the early stages of the race. The first hour of racing saw more than 50km’s completed. The focus then shifted to the final 10km climb as the break would be reeled in just before the road tilted upwards.
A solid team effort allowed us to place our climbers in a good position before the climb but it did not happen without a fight. Sergio Pardilla was our best placed finisher in 15th position while Louis Meintjes was 30th. Jacques Janse van Rensburg also finished the stage strongly in 34th position. With the Vuelta a Espana shaping up to be the grand tour of the year, our riders can be happy with their performance today as the level of racing is of the highest order.
Rider – Merhawi Kudus
Today was really hard. I tried to get in the break but it was not possible. The pace was too high in the beginning and they kept closing every gap. Eventually the break would only go at 65km. I got over the first climb alright but then there was always a big fight for position leading into the final climb. I lost some power while fighting for a good position so i didn’t have too much left for the final climb. It is okay though, my legs are feeling and there are still plenty stages coming for me.
Tomorrows Stage Profile Overview