GREAT BRITAIN’S Chris Froome remains in second place in the Vuelta a España, as Colombian leader Nairo Quintana maintained his 54 second lead after Italian Valerio Conti broke clear to win stage 13 on Friday, September 2.
Lampre-Merida rider Conti left a 12-strong breakaway in his wake over the final 20km to win the 213.4km stage from Bilbao to Dantxarinea, the longest of the race.
Conti finished 55 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Danilo Wyss, who won a five-man sprint for second place.
“It’s my first victory in a Grand Tour and it’s a great feeling – this morning I felt perfect,” said the 23-year-old.
Froome and Quintana finished almost 34 minutes behind, but will have been happy with the peloton’s leisurely pace as the race heads into the Pyrenees over the next few days.
Saturday’s tricky 196km stage includes four categorised ascents and culminates with an intimidating 21km climb of the Col d’Aubisque, while Sunday’s 118km stage winds up with a 14.5km summit of Formigal.
Team Sky’s Froome is aiming to become the first man to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same season for almost 40 years, and the upcoming mountain stages are likely to prove decisive.
Movistar’s Quintana, who finished third behind Froome at this year’s Tour, won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
The three week race ends in Madrid on September 11.
Stage 13 result:
1. Valerio Conti (Ita/Lampre) 5hrs 29mins 04secs
2. Danilo Wyss (Swi/BMC Racing) +55secs
3. Sergey Lagutin (Rus/Katusha) same time
4. Vegard Laengen (Nor/IAM Cycling)
5. Michael Gogl (Aus/Tinkoff)
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel/Etixx – Quick-Step)
7. Cesare Benedetti (Ita/BORA) +1min 02secs
8. Jelle Wallays (Bel/Lotto) +1min 04secs
9. Gatis Smukulis (Lat/Astana) same time
10. Stephane Rossetto (Fra/Cofidis) +1min 08secs
13. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +33mins 54secs
17. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) same time
21. Peter Kennaugh (GB/Team Sky)
28. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky)
General classification after stage 13:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) 52hrs 56mins 29secs
2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +54secs
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +1min 05secs
4. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) +2mins 34secs
5. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +3mins 08secs
7. Simon Yates (GB/Orica) +3mins 25secs
15. Peter Kennaugh (GB/Team Sky) +6mins 30secs