Samuele Battistella second time runner-up in Vuelta a España
At four kilometers from the finish, Samuele Battistella was in position fighting for the stage win with Belgian Jimmy Janssens, but on the steep slopes of the final climb to Les Praeres Louis Meintjes made his way back and passed both riders, with 2,5 km to go, to win Stage 9 of La Vuelta.
Meintjes, Janssens and Battistella were part of a nine-rider break that went away after a furious first hour of racing. They worked well together and got a maximum gap of five minutes. With less than 10 kilometers to go, Samuele Battistella and Janssens left the others to fight for the stage win.
“I knew that Meintjes would be faster than me on the last climb. That’s why I anticipated. Unfortunately, he caught me. Then I decided to continue at my own pace until the finish line. It made no sense to try to follow him, I would have exploded and now I finish second. Again second. My second second place in three days. I am happy, but I need to say not extremely happy. But I will try again at this Vuelta as I cannot complain about my shape”, – said Samuele Battistella.
Behind the shoulders of the breakaway there was a big fight among the favorites of the General Classification. Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez showed his increasing form, finishing seventh among the GC contenders and 13th at the stage. This result allowed the Astana Qazaqstan Team leader to move up to 8th place in the overall standings.
After a tough day in Asturias with the scary final climb averaging 12,9%, including sections of 24% gradients, the riders will enjoy their rest day on Monday in Alicante, 900 km more south in Spain.
Photo credit: @Gettysport