With one stage win under his belt and another in his blood, Team KATUSHA’s Sergey Lagutin put himself in position to contest the final in Friday’s stage 13 in the 71st La Vuelta. One rider was up the road by almost one-minute however, and Lagutin was forced to sprint in from the remains of his breakaway group to take third place on the same time as Danilo Wyss of BMC. But the day’s efforts paid off in the return of the mountain jersey to the back of Lagutin and he leads that classification by one-point to race leader Nairo Quinatna of Movistar.
- I didn’t start the day thinking I would go for the mountain jersey, but I found myself again in the breakaway and I knew there were many mountain points available, so I figured why not try for it. Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov told me if I could win all of the points on today’s stage that I could win the jersey back. That became my first goal of the day, - explained Sergey Lagutin, winner of last week’s stage 8.
The win was clearly in hand for Valerio Conti of Lampre-Merida with a 55-second advantage to Wyss and Lagutin. The field with the GC riders was more than 33-minutes behind on a day where the peloton basically took it easy on the 213,4 km stage from Bilbao to Urdax-Dantxarinea. With no threatening riders in the breakaway, the GC remained the same. Quintana leads by 54-seconds to Sky’s Chris Froome.
- The second goal became to get on the podium or win the stage. We were a group of 12 in the breakaway and when Conti went away, it was clear he was the strongest one. At the end there were five of us really chasing after him and we kept losing more and more time, so he was definitely the best. It’s possible if I had not been trying for the GPM points I could have done more for the stage win, but I felt good all day and I was keeping up with the best riders all day on the up and down. It was a risk I took and it was third place for me on the stage, - said a satisfied Lagutin.
Tomorrow it’s a return to the high mountains with an HC finish on the Aubisque in store for the riders at 196 km. Stage 14 begins in Urdax-Dantxarinea. Despite an earlier injury, Lagutin continues to look forward to some stages in the last week.
- My fingers still hurt but they are getting better and better – it mostly hurts when the road is bumpy. For sure I will finish this Vuelta. I look forward to the third week, - concluded Sergey Lagutin.
Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele