Vuelta Stage 13: Nelson Oliveira triumphs in Tarazona

Lampre’s Nelson Oliveira took the biggest victory of his career in stage 13 of the Vuelta by seizing the initiative to power away from a large break nearly 30km out from the finish and time-trialling his way to the line, bowing in acknowledgement of the crowd’s acclaim. 

Stage 13 profile: Vuelta a Espana 2015

Stage 13 profile: Vuelta a Espana 2015

Ahead of a three-day pain-fest this weekend, this stage had successful breakaway written all over it. The peloton evidently thought so too as pretty much everyone, bar the main contenders, tried to get into the day’s break, meaning the first hour was fast and furious. Finally, after 63km of racing, a group of 24 riders from 19 teams went up the road with Astana left to police the peloton.

Pavel Poljanski (Tink0ff-Saxo) was the first to break ranks – earning him today’s combativity prize –  before the final summit. He was taken back by the break only for Oliveira to light the afterburners on the downhill section before going into time-trial mode (well, he is three-time Portuguese national time-trial champion!), leaving everyone else behind.

Under 10km to go and Oliveira’s directeur sportif  was cruising alongside and giving encouragement à la Marc Madiot as he steadily built his advantage. He crossed the line with a minute in hand Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Nico Roche (Sky) – second and third on the stage respectively – which gave him plenty of time to savour the occasion. There was no change at the top of the GC, with Fabio Aru retaining the race lead.

Rider of the day

Lampre-Merida put three riders in the break, one of whom, Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira, seized this opportunity with both hands to record his maiden WorldTour victory and his first ever road race win, which was all the more noteworthy given the credentials of some of his fellow breakmates. This is also Lampre’s sixth Grand Tour victory this season, which is looking like it might be their best to date.

Post race, Oliveira confirmed:

This is the best victory of my career. Today’s emotion is fantastic. It’s a joy to share it with the team which had been very supportive, particularly Ruben and Valerio today, but also from the start of the Vuelta even on those occasions when I struggled to assert myself. It’s very nice to get a win after the team has been so persistent and to get it in a very spectacular fashion, after attacking and making the race a lot of fun.

Wins are like buses, expect more from Oliveira before the end of the season.

Three things we noticed

1. Nairo Quintana is hanging on in there – just. Suffering with a fever and an upset stomach, Quintana was hanging off the back of the peloton in the first part of the race but managed to finish with the other GC contenders, thereby keeping alive some hope that he can take something away from this race. The next three days are going to be hellish and, if he doesn’t recover, we could see the withdrawal of yet another pre-race favourite.

2. The organisers have responded to criticisms. The number of motor cyclists allowed in the peloton has been drastically reduced and they’re keeping their distance. This is a good thing.

3. Cycling plays second fiddle to tennis again. Eurosport are denying viewers the podium ceremony and more Vuelta Extra with Juan Antonio Flecha and Ashley House in order to rush over to Flushing Meadow. Call yourself the #HomeofCycling? Watch RTVE instead, the national broadcaster doesn’t cut away for the tennis.

Stage 13 result

1.  Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) 4:14:01

2.  Julien Simon (Cofidis) +1:00

3.  Nico Roche (Sky) same time

4.  Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) s/t

5.  Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) s/t

General classification

1.  Fabio Aru (Astana) 51:33:19

2.  Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:27

3.  Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) +0:30

4.  Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) +1:28

5.  Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) +1:29

6.  Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:52

7.  Daniel Moreno (Katusha) +1:54

8.  Mikel Nieve (Sky) +1:58

9.  Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) +2:51

10. Romain Sicard (Europcar) +2:51

Points leader: Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE)

King of the Mountains leader: Omar Fraile (Caja Rural)

Combined classification leader: Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)

Team classification leader: Sky.

Link: Official race website

Header: ©Javier Belver/Unipublic

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