Vuelta a Espana: Daniel Moreno moves into red jersey with brilliant win on stage nine
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 01/09/13 6:49pm
Daniel Moreno: Claimed his second stage win of the race
Daniel Moreno replaced Ireland's Nicolas Roche as the leader of the Vuelta a Espana after climbing to a superb victory on stage nine's brutally steep uphill finish in Valdepenas de Jaen.
The 31-year-old Spaniard (Katusha) surged clear of the field with 800m to go and held on to win by four seconds from compatriots Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) followed them home in fourth place, but his eight-second deficit to Moreno on the day saw him relinquish the red jersey by a solitary second.
The win was Moreno's second of this year's Vuelta and the light work he made of the 30 per cent ramps of the final climb offered further evidence of his current outstanding form.
Despite losing the red jersey, Roche also performed well on the challenging ascent and continues to impress, but race favourite Vincenzo Nibali was once again off the pace and is now third in the general classification, 20 seconds down.
Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran also had a bad day, finishing 49 seconds down in 33rd place in a result that sees him drop to ninth overall.
It was a pulsating end to a 163.7km day that had started in Antequera, near Malaga, and saw five men - including Britain's Luke Rowe (Team Sky) - break away and stetch out a lead of over six and a half minutes.
The rolling terrain proved sapping, though, and they were caught 25km from home, paving the way for fresh attacks from Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard) and, finally, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky).
Boasson Hagen falls short
Only Boasson Hagen could make his attempt stick and after surging clear over the summit of the category-two Alto de los Frailes 17km out, he built up a lead of 17 seconds on the subsequent descent.
However, with two cards to play on the final climb in the form of Moreno and Rodriguez, Katusha worked hard to bring the Norwegian back with 1.7km remaining and set up the shoot-out they had been hoping for on the 1km-long final climb.
Ivan Basso (Cannondale) was the first to show his cards and Tanel Kangert (Astana) also attempted an attack, but it was Moreno who made the decisive move with an electric burst just as the gradient was reaching its steepest point.
Valverde and Rodriguez followed, but Roche, Nibali and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) couldn't keep pace and had to focus instead on limiting damage.
Stage nine result
1 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusham, 4:18:57
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +4secs
3 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +4
4 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +8
5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +9
6 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +9
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +9
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, +13
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Argos-Shimano, +13
10 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +15
1 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, 35:58:34
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +1sec
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +20
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +22
5 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, +28
6 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +56
7 Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura, +1:09
8 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard, +1:10
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +1:24
10 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing, +1:25
- Green (points classification): Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
- Blue polka dot (mountains classification): Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff