Overnight race leader Igor Anton sensationally crashed out of the Vuelta a Espana after suffering injuries in a crash inside the last 10km of the race’s 14th stage on Saturday.
Joaquin Rodriguez, a stage winner at the Tour de France in July, took the stage honors after counterattacking Italian Vicenzo Nibali on the final ramps of the Pena Cabarga climb after 178km of racing from Burgos.
As a result, Liquigas rider Nibali took over the race lead and now holds a four-second advantage on Rodriguez, although the Sicilian admitted he would have preferred to do so under different circumstances.
“I’m disappointed for Anton. I only heard when I was stood on the podium,” Nibali said. “I’m happy with my performance, but I’d have preferred to take the race lead in a different manner.”
Euskaltel rider Anton was one of several riders to hit the asphalt on a slight downhill section of road with about 9km to race as the peloton continued their hot pursuit of stage leaders David Millar and Niki Terpstra.
Anton was left with scrapes all over his body and spent several minutes appraising his injuries and discussing whether to continue or not with team officials, before finally pulling out.
He was later diagnosed with a fractured elbow, team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano said, but Anton was later trying to keep his spirits up.
“I’m trying to remember how happy I’ve been during these past two weeks. I’ve been living a dream,” said Anton, who boosted his profile by wearing the red jersey for five days and winning two stages. “I’ve won two stages and I’ve shown my ability to be a challenger for overall victory on a Grand Tour. I’ll be back stronger in 2011.”
The peloton’s efforts, meanwhile, reduced the gap to a minute and a half by the time the front duo hit the steep climb, packed with thousands of spectators, leading to the summit finish line in the Cantabrian mountains.
The climb, with an average gradient of 9 percent, soon took its toll on both front men, however, and although despite appearing to struggle, Terpstra made one final and valiant attempt to hold off the chase.
As the climbing specialists turned on the gas in his wake, he was reeled in a few kilometers from the finish line and from there the race’s main protagonists took over.
The final 2km saw Nibali and Rodriguez go off on their own, however the Italian appeared to dig too deep, too soon and when the climb got steeper at the end Rodriguez pounced to pedal smoothly away from the Italian.
“It’s a huge win for our team, who all worked hard for it,” Rodriguez said. “I heard that Igor Anton crashed, it’s a real shame he had to pull out. I didn’t know that. Unless I’m mistaken, he was the strongest.”
Nibali admitted he could do little to counter Rodriguez.
“My team manager told me the hardest point of the stage was with 1.5km to go,” Nibali said. “I saw Rodriguez attacking, but all I could do was finish at my own rhythm.”
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by