• Movistar pair Alejandro Valverde (L) and Nairo Quintana (R) have plans to shake up the Vuelta a España (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
With a day of rest banked Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde are hoping their legs will successfully carry them over the Vuelta a España Stage 11 mountains and beyond to Madrid.
By
2 Sep 2015 - 8:38 AM 

Both Movistar riders will be taking their bodies to new heights as they attempt to back up from a successful Tour de France with an off the scale Stage 11 challenge ahead for the entire peloton.

“I think that tomorrow's stage would have been better for me in another point of the season," Quintana said. “It's the hardest in the Vuelta, no doubt.

"We (Quintana and Valverde) came here after a Tour that squeezed the best out of us and we're reaching this point of the season tired, but that's mostly everyone's situation.

"The important thing here is that we're both ready to keep pushing, in a stage that suits us both and, should we find good legs tomorrow, we'll try to please the fans.

"We'll try to offer the best of us two. We're still waiting to see how my body evolves, since I had never ridden this 'double' and it's being difficult. I kept defending myself until this point and mountains are really coming tomorrow. I hope they're calling for me."

The peloton stopped overnight at Andorra la Vella for the first rest day and its from there that the 138km 11th stage to Cortals d´Encamp starts - ahead is perhaps the hardest stage ever mapped out for a Grand Tour.

"Tomorrow's stage is really impressive, a really hard one if you're at 100 per cent," Valverde said. "Also, after a rest day we all know that the body reacts quite unpredictably, even more so after a long transfer yesterday, going to bed late, and resting at high altitude, which is not ideal for your body. Many things will affect everyone's performance tomorrow.

“There weren't any stages where we could plan any strategy. Now there will be many where we can play with attacks by one or the another, and try something different, whereas the race so far was pushing with the power we could into the last climb."

After consolidating their general classification positions over the first 10 stages (Quintana is 6th and Valverde 7th), the Movistar pair are planning to throw some combinations at their rivals, including Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

“One of the strongest could be Aru. He could rest after the Giro, a race that allows you to peak twice over the season, and I think he'll be faring well," Quintana said.

"We also saw Chris Froome doing better, and his team will fight strong; we'll pay attention to Dumoulin (current race leader Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin), who has surprised everyone with his level up to the date, and Purito (Rodriguez), riding on home roads, over a stage he designed himself."

The shared assessment is that the duo will need to capitalise in the mountains ahead of the Stage 17 time trial in Burgos, a stage Froome will no doubt expect to be his playground if he is within reach of the lead.

"We're not as fresh as we were in the Tour, but I hope we can profit from this advantage to make up some time, which could be really good before the TT in Burgos.”

SBS will begin its live coverage of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday 5th September with the 215km 14th Stage from Vitoria to Alto Campoo. SBS/HD and streaming online at Cycling Central from 2330 – 0200.

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