The final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León going into Sunday’s three-climb finale was only a “nine-man” race after Saturday’s winning breakaway took eight minutes on the main pack.
Overnight leader and Saturday’s stage-winner Luís León Sánchez (Rabobank) looked to have the race under control, but everything unraveled on the snow-covered final summit in the snowbound mountains south of Segovia.
Javi Moreno (Movistar) rode brilliantly, first to drop León Sánchez on the Cat. 1 Puerto de Navacerrada with 50km to go, and then to win a second-place time bonus on the finish line to claim the overall prize.
Guillaume Levarlet (Saur-Sojasun) started the day in second place, six seconds behind León Sánchez, and nine seconds ahead of Moreno.
Levarlet and Moreno both bridged up to what became a 24-rider group over the Navacerrada while León Sánchez was trapped in a chase group. Three of his Rabobank teammates abandoned on the climb, leaving León Sánchez to largely chase by himself.
Yelko Gómez (Caja Rural) took the team’s second win of the weekend in Segovia while Moreno kicked to second and earned a six-second second-place bonus.
All would have been fine for Levarlet if he could have finished with the breakaway, but the group split in the final sprint, and he crossed the line 10th at four seconds slower.
When the seconds were added up, Moreno nipped Levarlet by one second in the battle for the GC.
Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan) closed out a solid day of racing with fourth on the stage after riding most of the day as part of the winning breakaway.