The Movistar Team is starting to feel like this year’s Vuelta a España could be a good one for them. They had brought serious power to the last Grand Tour of the year, with strong helpers and two courageous, talented leaders. And on Saturday, atop the grueling Alto de La Camperona, Nairo Quintana took the leader’s jersey by leaving all rivals behind in the last three kilometers of incredible slopes in the Sabero valley, following 181km from Villalpando where the Arrieta/Chente-led squad always behaved well.

José Herrada, Rory Sutherland and Imanol Erviti led their team-mates out into the run-in towards the climb, while an excellent Jonathan Castroviejo, Rubén Fernández and José Joaquín Rojas kept the group strung out through the 5km section between the foot of the ascent and the earl start of the steepest part of the climb, after the village of Sotillos. As Froome (SKY) went on his own from behind and race leader Atapuma (BMC) was soon dropped back, Alejandro Valverde made sure that a steady pace was kept at the GC peloton to make things harder for the Briton. Froome would bridge back and eventually created the big selection: the Sky leader, Contador and Quintana, with Valverde struggling some meters behind.

Nairo didn’t hesitate: he countered Froome’s move and soon opened a considerable gap, which grew towards 25” over Contador on the line, 33” to Froome, Pardilla (CJR) and a brilliant Valverde. ‘Bala’ used all his experienced and tenacity to keep his 2nd spot overall, now 19” behind his team-mate -Froome sits at 27”, Chaves 57” in arrears-. With Dani Moreno in 8th place (+1’44”) and more than able to help the team, Eusebio Unzué’s group seems to show the strength that it’s needed to start their defense from tomorrow’s traditional Naranco climb in Asturias (164.5km).
Report taken from Movistar Team News Blog