Quintana Takes Control At The Vuelta

Cycle//Vuelta a España

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Nairo Quintana became the new leader of the Vuelta a España despite finishing over two minutes behind stage victor Winner Anacona.

Heading into today's (Sunday) mountainous ninth stage Quintana was fifteen seconds behind race leader and teammate Alejandro Valverde, but an attack late on in the pouring rain ensured the diminutive Colombian took the lead of a race he is hot favourite to win.

"Normally, all climatic conditions are good for me, but I was feeling a bit down due to the heat we had to bear in the first days of racing. I had good legs today and we worked to keep the jersey within this team. My team-mates did really great and I could keep the wheel of the main favourites to snatch this leader jersey," Quintana said.

"Actually, I just sticked to them until the finish - today's stage didn't create big selection and though I'm in the lead, it's almost a goalless draw up to this point. I don't know if we will be able to keep it until the end; it's what we want, but it will be difficult.

"I don't do bad at time trials, but I'm not a specialist either. I'll ride flat-out on Tuesday to defend my chances and keep this jumper. Today's result confirms I'm ready to lead the team, but there's no discussion in here: we're both leaders, we're both there, and no matter if it's Alejandro or myself - the goal is keeping it within the team."

It was an attack in the closing stages by Alberto Contador that forced Quintana's hand and their pace was too much for Chris Froome and Valverde who dropped back, finishing twenty-five seconds back.

"I noticed that some of my rivals were in difficulties and I wanted to use the opportunity. I still lack condition to keep the pace at maximum intensity, but I'm very happy. I don't know exactly how much time I took on some of my opponents, but the important thing now is not to catch a cold and to get some rest," said Contador.

Stage Nine Result

1. Winner Anacona 4hrs 34mins 15secs
2. Alexey Lutsenko +45
3. Damiano Cunego +50
4. Javier Moreno +1:04
5. Peio Bilbao +1:12
6. Jerome Coppel +1:21
7. Ryder Hesjedal +1:33
8. Adam Hansen +1:45
9. Bob Jungels +1:49
10. Fabio Felline +2:08

General Classification

1. Nairo Quintana 35hrs 58mins 5secs
2. Alberto Contador +3
3. Alejandro Valverde +8
4. Winner Anacona +9
5. Chris Froome +28
6. Joaquim Rodriguez +30
7. Fabio Aru +1:06
8. Robert Gesink +1:19
9. Rigoberto Uran +1:26
10. Warren Barguil 

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