Saturday September 2nd, 2017

Stage 14Écija / Sierra de La Pandera

Start 12h57 (Local time)

Key moments

video02/09/2017 

Summary - Stage 14 - La Vuelta 2017

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After crashing out of the Tour and losing his GC ambitions due to illness on La Vuelta 2017, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) proved on Saturday his aggressive racing could still earn him major victories. The Polish climber made the break at the start of stage 14 and was the only attacker to hold off the favorites on the climb up Sierra de la Pandera. Third behind Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) gains 4 seconds on Chris Froome (Team Sky). Wilco Kelderman (Team...

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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “(Chris) Froome is strong, he's proved it. He's had a great team supporting him. In the last climb we could try something different. Astana worked very well, (Alberto) Contador too. We're all trying, but Froome is very strong.”

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Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), leader of the KOM classification: “Today again there were important KOM points up for grabs. I managed to win atop the first two climbs and I'm very happy with this. I did it with the help of Simon Clarke who won that jersey in the past (in 2012). Climbing the last hill on a slow rhythm, we spoke about how to win this classification at La Vuelta. I have a good advisor here.”

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Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac): “I'm very happy, very proud. The team is riding well, they're positioning me well and they believe in me. That's sweet. The big goal for me is to win a stage. That's still the main goal. And hopefully I can keep my position in the top 10 of the overall classification.”

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Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), most aggressive rider: “I was quite affected by my crash for a couple days, I'm doing better every day. Today I tried again. It was hard to make the break. Unfortunately the bunch pulled hard behind us and we didn't have a big enough gap to play it differently and prevent (Rafal) Majka from winning. In the end, the strongest won but with a bigger lead we could have tried to anticipate or play around. But Majka was the strongest. Today was an important day because...

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Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), best young rider: “First of all I have to thank my teammates because they've been doing an amazing work putting two men at the front to reduce the time gap. Luis Leon (Sanchez) and Pello (Bilbao) have been magnificent at the front of the bunch. In the end we came short by very little. We deserved it. The important thing is to have the great sensations I was having today. Tomorrow will be a great day to have good legs again. Of course, if I do, I'll try...

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Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): “Today was a hard day, there was quite some wind. The outcome is everyone spent a lot of energy again. We'll see how we recover ahead of tomorrow. To see (Chris) Froome at the back sometimes is normal. He isn't feeling bad, he's controlling. Maybe I didn't play my hand right in the final and I've lost a few precious seconds, but it was a good stage. An alliance with Nibali? Alliances are things that come up or not, it's not easy. The two of us have tried,...

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Chris Froome (Team Sky), overall leader: “I think it was, actually, a fantastic stage for us. The guys didn't panic when the big attacks came from Chaves, Nibali and Contador. We didn't panic. We stayed together, paced really well and I think we can be pretty happy with what we did today. It was a dangerous day. We had real fireworks in a stage like this in the past, but I think we managed today really well. Given that we have two back-to-back really hard days and tomorrow is the last one...

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Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), stage winner: “I feel great, really. I don't have problems like in the Tour, where I crashed. I came here for the GC and I got sick. I almost went home. I'm so happy. Not because I win, but for my teammates. They did a very good job. The team trusted in me and I'm happy to get the win today. I was pretty confident. I have really good legs and actually my teammate Patrick Konrad has done a great job for me. When I saw (Rui) Costa suffering, I went in the first...

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Newsflashes (Local time)

17:51Froome still in red, the podium changes

General classification after stage 14:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)

2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), +55"

3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), +2'17"

4. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), +2'25"

5. Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), +2'39"

17:48Contador and Chaves lose a few seconds

Results at Sierra de la Pandera:

1. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe)

2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), +27"

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), +31"

4. Chris Froome (Team Sky), +31"

5. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), +31"

Alberto Contador (Trek-Sagafredo) finished at 37", Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) at 57".

17:46Majka wins at La Pandera

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) held off everyone to win at the summit!

17:43Last km for Majka!

Miguel Angel Lopez is only trailing by 30".

17:41Lopez accelerates!

Strong attack from Miguel Angel Lopez to try and get back to Rafal Majka!

Zakarin, Chaves and Kelderman are with Froome, Nibali and Contador.

17:40Froome gets back with Lopez

Chris Froome bridges the gap to Nibali and Contador with Miguel Angel Lopez.

Rafal Majka maintains a 50" lead with 2km to go.

17:37Nibali goes

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) accelerates twice. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) jumps in his wheel both times. It's harder for Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott). Richard Carapaz (Movistar) is with the Colombian climber.

Wout Poels is pacing Chris Froome (Team Sky). Fabio Aru (Astana) can't follow. David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) has been dropped too.

17:34Chaves attacks

Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) is on the move with 4km to go. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Chris Froome (Team Sky) has two teammates to pace him.

17:32Bardet attacks

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) accelerates as the peloton gets back to Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates). Richard Carapaz (Movistar) follows him. THey have a delay of 1'15" over Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) with 4km to go.

17:295km to go for Majka

Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) has been caught by the bunch. The gap is still up to 1'20". Team Sky take over in the bunch.

17:23Majka opens gaps

With 8km to go, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) is 20" ahead of Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and 37" ahead of Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal). The Astana-led peloton is losing ground: 1'44".

17:16Majka goes alone

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) ups the tempo with 10km to go. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) can't keep up.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) sets the pace in the bunch. The gap: 1'15".

17:11The last climb to the finish!

Rafal Majka, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) tackle La Sierra de la Pandera (12km, 7.3%) with a 1'50" lead.

17:06Valdepeñas de Jaen

The attackers are facing very hard steep through Valdepeñas de Jaen. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) can't keep up.

17:02De La Cruz: "We'll see more differences today"

David De La Cruz's Quick-Step Floors are leading the peloton on the way to La Sierra de la Pandera, where the Spanish climber expects a big showdown: “Today will be a hard stage with a hard finish. I think we'll see more differences than in the past days. It's a hard stage with more than 3,400m of elevation. I've seen videos from the last climb in 2006 and 2009 and they were hard finishes, with real differences. I'm going to wait for the last climb and I hope I can fight for the victory....

17:005 more KOM points for Villella

Results atop the alto de Locubin:

1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), 5 pts

2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), 3 pts

3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), 1 pt

Marc Soler (Movistar) summited with a delay of 1'44". The bunch is 16" further behind.

16:55Soler on the move

Marc Soler (Movistar) attacks from the peloton. He's 2 minutes away from the front of the race.

16:505 riders at the front

Rafal Majka, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) lead the way in the climb. They are three kilometres away from the summit.

16:45Attacks in the break

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) accelerates in the climb. Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) lead the chase with Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) following them.

Katusha-Alpecin lead a reduced bunch 2'20" behind.

16:402nd climb of the day

Rafal Majka, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Simon Clarke, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) tackle the cat-2 alto de Locubin with a lead down to 2'50".

16:36Katusha accelerate

Ilnur Zakarin's Katusha-Alpecin set a hard pace at the front of the peloton. The gap is down to 3'15" with 31km to go.

16:30Haig: "Contador can attack before the final climb"

Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) told lavuelta.com his team was wary of Alberto Contador's aggressive racing: “It was a hard day yesterday, but not too hard. We're going in the mountains again and I like the mountains, so I'm happy. Esteban Chaves was looked after very well by Magnus (Cort Nielsen) and Adam (Yates) yesterday in the finale. He's a good rider and with those two riders he was fine. Today is another really hard day. Hopefully we can finish the stage with Esteban in the same position as...

16:2340km, 4 minutes

The leading group is heading to the last challenges of the day with a lead down to 4'.

16:21Intermediate sprint

Results at Alcala La Real:

1. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates)

2. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

3. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe)

16:17The gap stabilises again

The nine riders at the front maintain a 4'40" lead with 47km to go.

16:10Kelderman: “For sure I'm going to try and finish on the podium”

Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), sitting 4th on GC, wants to keep climbing the ladders at La Vuelta 2017: “It's a hard stage with a uphill finish and I think it will be an interesting day. For sure I'm going to try and finish on the podium. It will be hard, a lot of riders are trying. I know Sierra Nevada (the finish of stage 15) from altitude training. Today will also be a big fight. There are big changes in the weather. We had two days of rain and then it was really hot. It had a big...

16:06Third hour

The attackers have maintained an average speed of 39.6km/h in the first three hours of the stage.

16:02Villella punctures, Gougeard suffers

Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) suffers a punture with 54km to go. Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) is losing contact.

15:58Clarke accelerates

Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) jumps ahead of the breakaway with 56km to go. His companions get back to him 1km later. The gap with the peloton is down to 4'40".

15:50Lopez: "Obivously we need to be at the front"

Miguel Angel Lopez said this morning today was an important day for Astana, who are now working hard at the front of the bunch: “Obviously today we need to be at the front and work well as a team. We'll wait for the final and see how it goes.”

Luis Leon Sanchez also spoke about the Kazakh team's ambitions: “We have two options in the team. We also come to fight for the general classification with (Miguel Angel) Lopez and Fabio (Aru). We'll see how it starts today, see if we can...

15:44Costa punctures, the gap keeps decreasing

The breakaway's lead is down to 5'10" as the attackers make it to km 110. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) has to chase his way back to the front of the race after a puncture.

15:37La Pandera is back 7 years later

Sierra de la Pandera welcomes a fifth La Vuelta stage finish. The first one dates back to 2002. Roberto Heras won at the summit. Alejandro Valverde has been a main protagonist on the Andalusian climb. In 2003, he claimed his second Grand Tour win, one week after raising his arm for the first time on a three weeks race, at Port d'Envalira. In 2006, he lost La Vuelta to Alexandre Vinokourov, as the Kazakh rider made it to the finish alone with his teammate Andrey Kashechkin, winner on that...

15:30Very hard pace in the bunch

Astana, Bahrain-Merida and Trek bring the gap down to 6'09". The leading group still has 73km to cover.

15:22Bahrain, Trek and Astana up the tempo

The 10 man breakaway is travelling through the feeding zone (km 92) with a gap of 7'36".

Three riders from Bahrain-Merida, Trek-Segafredo and Astana take the front positions of the bunch and increase the pace.

15:18Anton: “This isn't the end and we're not going to give up”

Igor Anton, one of the three Dimension Data riders left in the race, talked about his team's situation this morning: “Cycling is a sport of sacrifices and suffering. If you're not well, you feel it and the sickness has put a toll on the team. But this isn't the end and we're not going to give up. Without a doubt, I have good memories in Andalusia (stage wins at Calar Alto in 2006 and Valdepeñas de Jaen in 2010), also with the red jersey. I need to recall these to keep going...

15:12Villella takes the first KOM points

Results atop the puerto El Mojon:

1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), 3 pts

2. Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), 2 pts

3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), 1 pt

15:06Second hour

The average speed gets down to 39.6km/h after two hours of racing. That pace is high enough for the leading group to maintain a 7' lead with 92km to go.

14:57First climb of the day

The 14 attackers are in the climb up the puerto el Mojon. Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) punctures.

14:50Oomen abandons

Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb) drops out of La Vuelta 2017.

14:44Almost 7 minutes

The gap is at 6'44" after 70km.

14:35Froome: “Today's stage obviously has a mark on it”

Chris Froome shared his views on the stage before the start: “Today's a stage that has obviously a mark on it. On the final climb there's some steep ramps and I think, if the rivals are feeling good, they are going to go on the move.”

Christian Knees (Team Sky) is one of the man who gets early in action for Chris Froome. He was 12th atop La Pandera in 2009 after making the the breakaway: “It's a pretty steady climb. I don't expect too much to happen today. We need to get the...

14:27The gap increases again

The leading group has opened a gap of 5'58" after 60km.

14:1750km into the stage

The Sky-led peloton makes it to km 50 with a delay of 5'38" over the breakway.

14:10Villella on the hunt for KOM points

Davide Villella (Cannondale-Dapac) already proved himself to be one of the most aggressive riders of La Vuelta 2017 and he's back at the front of the race. The Italian rider leads the KOM classification with 41 points, 14 more than Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and 20 more than Chris Froome (Team Sky). Yesterday, he said he'd “look at the classification day by day, hoping to bring this jersey to Paris... sorry, to Madrid!”

14:06First hour

Rafal Majka, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Clarke, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) have covered 42.2km in the first hour of a racing to get away from the bunch.

14:03The gap stabilises

The bunch reaches km 45 with a delay of 5'17".

13:555 minutes

The attackers have covered 40km and now enjoy a 5'06" lead over the peloton.

13:51Bardet: “Making the break is a lottery”

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) spoke this morning about how hard it is to make the break: “Today it's complicated. I have high hopes of shining at La Vuelta but today, with a flat start, making the breakaway is a lottery. Then I hope to have a chance in the finale if I don't spend too much energy at the beginning. Anyway I'm going to be aggressive, I'll give it all. Those are two days that suit me and I'm determined to put on a fight. I think the GC contenders will control tomorrow....

13:43Team Sky control the bunch

Chris Froome's teammates set the pace at the front of the peloton. The gap is up to 3'45" after 30km.

13:35The peloton lets go

The gap quickly increases to 2'04".

13:32Majka, Villella, Costa...

Rafal Majka, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Clarke, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) have opened a 1'20" lead over the peloton after 26km.

13:247 riders at the front...

But the bunch is right behind them and still doesn't let go after 19km of hard racing.

13:18Back together

Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Roux (FDJ), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) and Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) joined the front of the race only to be caught by the peloton at km 13. UAE Team Emirates led the chase.

13:13Taaramäe and De Gendt

Rein Taaramäe (Katusha-Alpecin) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) are slightly ahead of the bunch at km 9.

13:10Very hard pace

Attacks keep flying but the bunch sticks together after 7km.

13:06First attacks

Three riders quickly jump ahead of a fast peloton.

13:03It is on!

The proper start has been slightly delayed as David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) punctured. But the flag has now been dropped!

13:00"We're going to enjoy again the show the leaders are offering"

Francisco Giner, technical director of La Vuelta, spoke to lavuelta.com about his expectations for today's stage: “Every stage has its challenges, its climbs. Today is a traditional climb, the alto de la Pandera, that is very demanding. We're going to enjoy again the show the leaders are offering us. It's a climb for (Chris) Froome, the Astana riders, (Alberto) Contador… Any favorite who feels good can open differences. It's a hard climb, you need to be wary of the heat. The hydratation...

12:53Famous Andalusian riders visited La Vuelta

Antonio Gonzalez del Moral, one of the biggest names in Andalusian cycling, visited La Vuelta at the start of stage 14. Born in Cabra, he won three stages in the 1960s and finished five times in the top 10 (5th in 1961). At 77 yo, he expressed his happiness to see the race in his province: “It's a beautiful day, to see La Vuelta in Andalusia. I've been successful but in cycling you need luck.” His brother José was also a professional rider.

Antonio Piedra, stage winner at the...

12:44Domont abandons

Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale) is a non-starter today. 172 riders tackled stage 14.

12:40The bunch is on the way

The riders are on their way to km 0. A hot day lies ahead of them as the temperature is already up to 32°C.

12:33Welcome

Welcome to the official live of stage 14 of La Vuelta 2017. The race heads back into the mountains with a gruelling summit finish at Sierra de la Pandera. There has been a slight change in the route: 176km from Ecija to the finish line. The neutral start is set at 12:37, the proper start at 12:57.

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