The Col d’Aubisque set the stage for plenty of attacking on Saturday’s stage 14 (on French soil) and Team KATUSHA’s Egor Silin was in the heart of the action, taking third place on a very difficult day in the 71st Vuelta a España.
- It was not so bad getting third place on the queen stage today. I could have been second, but I was stupid to let Elissonde pass me in the last 30 meters. But Gesink was the best, there is no doubt about that. If he had not come back to us I think I could have won the stage, - said Egor Silin.
Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) took stage honors in his first grand tour stage win. Kenny Elissonde of FDJ was next at 7-seconds and Silin rolled in to round out the podium at nine-seconds behind the winning time of 5:43:24 on the 196k stage beginning in Urdax-Dantxarinea and finishing on the beyond category Aubisque.
- When we broke away on the Marie Blanque with six riders, we worked very well together to prevent Moreno or Fernandez from coming back. It was a good plan and it succeeded. Only Gesink came back. That wasn’t part of the plan but he was so strong today, - explained Silin.
The general classification riders attacked all the way up the Aubisque, especially on the steepest part near the top. Nairo Quintana tried his best to put some distance between himself and Chris Froome (Sky), but their positions remained 1-2 with 54-seconds in hand for the Movistar rider. Esteban Chaves of Orica-BikeExchange took over third place as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) faded from the top of the field.
A big break of some forty riders went clear with most of the teams represented, except for one, and that was Team Sky. Without representation they were forced to work to control the stage. There were many early attacks with Team KATUSHA’s Sergey Lagutin especially motivated to be in the break to earn more points for the mountain jersey.
- All of KATUSHA were active today, trying to go in the breaks especially in the beginning. In the end Losada and Silin were in the right group and we saw smart racing from them, especially with Silin able to reach the podium. I was very happy with the way the team raced today, - said team director José Azevedo.
It’s more mountains on Sunday’s stage 15. It’s a short stage at 118,5km. It begins in Sabiñánigo and ends uphill in Sallent de Gállego - Aramon Formigal.
Photo credit: @ Tim De Waele