Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) won stage 13 at the Vuelta a Espana on Friday.
The 169-kilometer stage from Valls to Castelldefels ended with an uphill grade of around 8-9 percent. Barguil was part of a breakaway group and he made his move with 1.3km left. His acceleration came at the right time and nobody was able to follow.
Finishing second was Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) at seven seconds back, while Bauke Mollema (Belkin) took third in the same time.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 31 and 46 seconds in the overall standings.
Barguil celebrated his victory as he crossed the line by pointing to the sky and he dedicated his maiden win to his recently deceased grandfather.
“I am very happy and especially for my grandfather because he was an inspiration for me,” he said.
The victory also completed a huge turnaround in fortunes for Barguil after he suffered a heavy fall in Monday’s 10th stage in Granada, which saw him lose 25 minutes in the general classification.
“I was very disappointed after my crash because I was 19th in the general classification and I felt I was in very good shape,” Barguil said. “Today though the attack went well and I am delighted to seal this first victory.”
A series of escape groups tried and failed to gain any real time early in the stage. But 76km into the route, a large group began to form and opened up a gap. Eventually it consisted of 10 riders, including the three podum finishers, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), and Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural).
As the kilometers ticked away and the field made its way up a Category 1 climb that summited about 50km from the finish, it was clear the lead group might have the legs to make it to Castelldefels on its own.
With 30km left, the gap was over three and half minutes. It was reduced by a minute with 20km remaining, but the lumpy stage profile allowed the 10 riders to stay ahead of the peloton.
At the 8km mark, Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) was the first man in the break to make a move. He attacked and was quickly joined by Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Scarponi. But the threesome couldn’t seem to figure out who would take control and the rest of the break swallowed them up with a little more than 2km remaining.
Shortly after that, Barguil attacked and immediately put some distance between himself and the others. With the rest of the group still not able to sort out who would take initiative and chase him down, Barguil was able to stay ahead and earn the victory.
Nibali, Roche, Valverde, Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard), and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) all registered the same time back in the peloton to ensure there was no change in the top five in the general classification.
However, Nibali is expecting more of a challenge from Rodriguez on Saturday as the race heads into Andorra with a series of daunting climbs in the final 100km during the 155.7km stage 14.
“Tomorrow is a different story. I think that Rodriguez could attack and he has proven today that he is in good condition,” Nibali said. “There are a lot of kilometers until the end of the race. I know the finish tomorrow a little bit and we’ll see what happens.”
Information from AFP was used in this report.