Fabio Aru (Astana) just pipped Chris Froome to the line to win the 18th stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led the famous Spanish trio (Rodriguez,Contador) home some 13″ later in 3rd place. Our Spaniard, Sergio Pardilla did a great ride to finish the stage in 11th position while our South African climber, Jacques Janse van Rensburg did superbly to finish 20th even after playing a support role to Pardilla.
The 18th stage was to be the fastest of the Vuelta so far as riders were averaging close on 50km/h for the first 2 hours of racing. A number of moves tried to go clear early on and MTN-Qhubeka were represented in all of them. Jay Thomson and Jaco Venter were covering the initial attacks of day with Thomson eventually going clear with a small group of riders. They weren’t allowed more than 30″ before Movistar brought them back. Janse van Rensburg was involved in the next move that we thought would stick but again, Movistar reeled them in.
3 riders did eventually go clear but their escape was also short lived as Team Sky and Movistar brought everything back together before the penultimate climb. Team Sky kept putting the hammer down on the climb which split the peloton into little pieces. Pardilla and Janse van Rensburg rode well to make the front split. As the riders reached the final climb, the attacks started. Janse van Rensburg held his own after looking after Pardilla to finish in the top 20. Pardilla showed he had good legs by attacking the favourites group multiple times but his wheel was closely marked, in the end Pardilla crossed the line in 11th.
Tomorrows Stage Profile Overview