Joaquim Rodriguez retained his title and effectively secured the UCI number one rider ranking for the second year running (his third in total) to compensate for last Sunday’s bitter disappointment in the World Championships road race. Compatriot Alejandro Valverde and Rafal Majka followed him home.
- The field of contenders quickly shrank: Chris Froome (Sky) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin) were non-starters, crashes accounted for Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and hampered the efforts of two-time winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale).
- Several breakaways formed and were pulled back until a quartet formed including Movistarlets Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde with around 65km to go.
- Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) bridged across and passed the group to ride the next 50km on his own with a maximum advantage of around three minutes.
- The chasing bunch, led by the remnants of Saxo-Tinkoff, Katusha and Movistar, was itself whittled down before catching Voeckler with just over 10km to go.
- Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was first to attack then Pozzovivo followed, catching and then dropping Pinot, Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Quintana.
- In a move reminiscent of last year, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) lit the afterburners with under 10km remaining just as the final climb, the Villa Vergano, ramped up to 15%, building a ten-second cushion.
- Valverde, Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) gave chase, with Valverde eventually dropping the other two.
- Purito powered home to finish 17 seconds ahead of Valverde, with Majka third.
Occasionally monuments are won with daring attacks from far out but more typically they’re seized by a rider who’s patiently waited for the right moment to launch his move in the final 10km or so. Thus it was again today.
It was, like last Sunday, a race of attrition with favourites being felled or dropped at every turn. At the start, everyone was looking forward to the rematch but there was no stealth attack from the world champion Rui Costa (Movistar), looking resplendent in his all-white kit. He worked for Valverde and we bade him farewell before Purito launched his race-winning attack. Despite the weather, he managed to remain pristine and the next time we see him it’ll be in the colours of Lampre-Merida.
Katusha played their hand beautifully today. They didn’t burn their matches too soon and covered the many breaks, including getting a man in the decisive quartet. Not only did they win the race – a popular victory – but Purito’s loyal wingman Dani Moreno finished in the top ten.
Real champions put their disappointments behind them and move on. You sensed from the start that this was Purito’s race to lose, but he wasn’t going to disappoint either his fans, his team or his family. But looking at the body language on the podium I think he’s crossed Valverde off his Christmas card list. Likewise, I noticed Valverde doesn’t congratulate the winner!
A really tough and beautiful race. I shall for sure come back to try and win. Thanks a lot to all my @Movistar_Team mates for the great job!
— alejandro valverde (@alejanvalverde) October 6, 2013
A lot of riders were forced to abandon after falls. Some didn’t even start. It’s been a long, tiring season – don’t think too harshly of them. They’ve entertained us royally but you simply can’t be on your game all season long, not without raising suspicions.
It was the last race of the season for some – for others, it was the last race of their professional career. We said fond farewells to Marco Pinotti (BMC), Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto-Belisol) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM). There will be others who were out there today chasing contracts who came up empty-handed. The employment market’s tough for everyone – elite sportsmen are no exception.
Reading tweets of bike racers retiring involuntarily, breaks my heart. It’s business, I know, but still.
— José Been (@TourDeJose) October 6, 2013
What a difference a week makes. It was all smiles this Sunday and deservedly so.
— Midge Tremayne (@pariswheels) October 6, 2013
1. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) 6:10:18
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:17
3. Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) +0:23
4. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) +0:45
5. Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) same time
6. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) +0:55
7. Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
8. Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) s/t
9. Ivan Santaromita (BMC) s/t
10. Robert Gesink (Belkin) s/t