After a much needed rest day for most of the peloton the Vuelta a Espana continued today with stage 11. Chris Froome (Sky) managed to cross the finish line on the Pena Cabarga in first position ahead of overall leader Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (both Movistar). Merhawi Kudus was the team’s best placed finisher. He spent most of the day in the break but was caught by the aforementioned riders with 4km to go and eventually crossed the line 2.45min down.
The race started with a blistering pace and it took a long while until 23 riders managed to break clear from the peloton. Kudus and Jacques Janse van Rensburg managed to jump into the group. However, Movistar and Tinkoff were not overly keen on letting the group get a big gap and kept a striking distance. In the finale the gap dropped below the 1min mark and it was then that both Kudus and Janse van Rensburg showed our African team’s fighting spirit. The latter was one of the first to attack from the break, but he was pulled back by the others. Kudus then tried to stay out as long as possible, yet when the GC favorites decided to start their fireworks it was all over for him and the remaining break.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) was the first to give it a real go. He couldn’t sustain his gap though and was reeled in inside the final kilometer, when both Valverde and Quintana tried to outclimb Froome, who eventually stayed calm enough to take the win on the day.
Merhawi Kudus – Rider
After yesterday’s rest day a lot of teams tried to be present in the break. At the beginning it was really hard. The break took more than one hour to forge clear, but luckily I made it together with Jacques. With 90km to we had a gap of nearly 5min, but then the peloton really picked up the pace and the gap came down quickly. In the end I gave all I had to stay upfront. We got caught on the final climb, but I guess that cycling.