After spending the day in the break, BMC's Alessandro De Marchi timed his attack perfectly to win Stage 11 of the Vuelta a España.
By
Cycling Central

6 Sep 2018 - 1:25 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2018 - 7:30 AM

De Marchi dropped Jhonatan Restrepo inside the final four kilometres to finish ahead of the Katusha Alpecin rider by 28 seconds with Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida) third at 59 seconds. It was his third career Vuelta stage victory.

"I couldn’t describe the whole day, it was extremely intense. Sometimes I was dropped of the back, then I was on the move… I just thought about giving the maximum and then see how it goes," De Marchi said.

"In the final climb, I joined Restrepo and then I attacked but it was too far so I waited for him and decided to try again in the final four kilometres. I knew there was this uphill section. I only had one shot, the legs were empty. It was all in the mind.

"If I wasn’t able to drop him there it would have been very hard in a sprint. I think I would have been second. Now I can take a bit easier in the peloton in the next days and I want to try again in the last week, but I’ll be more relaxed.”

The general classification stayed relatively the same, though threatened for a moment by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), also in the break alongside De Marchi.

Lying 16th overall and two minutes and 33 seconds behind Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at the start of the stage, Pinot was the most dangerous rider in the break. With the peloton minutes in arrears, the Frenchman rode hard to re-establish himself as a force for the remainder of the stage. But the effort was practically wasted when he came away with little more than a handful of seconds.

Yates continues to lead Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by a single second on the general classification with Nairo Quintana, also Movistar, at 14 seconds.

At 207.8 kilometres, Stage 11 from Mombuey to Ribeira Sacra was the longest of the race, with four solid climbs and a smattering of rain producing a testing day in the saddle. But the lumpy stage did not affect the pace - the first two hours was raced at a 48km per hour average and without a break forming despite numerous attempts.

The punishing speed took its toll on Stage 6 winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ), all abandoning before the break unhooked on the category 3 Alto do Covelo midway through the stage. 

As the final categorised climb approached, the lead group crumbled under attack by Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) who ultimately drew 10 riders including Pinot, Restrepo and De Marchi and team mates Dylan Teuns and Nicholas Roche. The BMC trio countered surges until De Marchi escaped on the climb, Restrepo rejoining the Italian on the descent. 

Spain's grand tour continues with a 181km trek from Mondoñedo to Faro de Estaca de Bares. It's marked down as as a deceiving mid-mountain affair.