Vuelta a Espana: Alexandre Geniez wins stage 15 as Vincenzo Nibali retains lead
Last Updated: 08/09/13 5:31pm
Alexandre Geniez claimed the biggest win of his career
Alexandre Geniez became only the fourth French rider in history to win a Vuelta a Espana stage on home soil after producing an epic solo performance in the Pyrenees.
The FDJ rider formed part of a 29-man breakaway on the longest stage of this year's race, and after that group had split to pieces on the Puerto de la Bonaigua, Geniez pushed on again with five other riders, and then hit out on his own on the breakneck descent of the Port de Bales.
It was a lead the 25 year old would hold all the way to the ski resort of Peyragudes, and the Rodez native wrapped up the biggest win of his career with a three minute and three second advantage over Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida).
Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) continued his strong showing by taking third place on the day, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leading home his four closest general classification contenders in all that remained from a decimated peloton.
That result ensured Nibali retained his 50-second cushion over Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) at the top of the overall standings, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 52 seconds further adrift in third.
The 15th stage measured a mammoth 224.9km and commenced in the capital of neighbouring Andorra.
The wet and wild conditions took their toll once again with 10 abandonments early in the stage - bringing the total up to 48 - with Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - QuickStep), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and British rider Luke Rowe (Team Sky) among the highest-profile casualties.
The 29 initial pacesetters had forged ahead on the first-category ascent of the Puerto del Canto, and with almost every team in the race represented, their gap was allowed to grow rapidly as the peloton followed gingerly behind.
Those numbers up ahead would dwindle on the two ascents which followed, until Geniez distanced Andre Cardoso (Caja Rural) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) as he swept to the foot of the final climb before driving home a fine solo success in some style.
Stage 15 result
1 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ, 6:20:12
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +3:03
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff, +3:07
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +3:20
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, same time
6 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard, st
7 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 José Herrada (Spa) Movistar , +3:23
10 David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural, +3:23
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 60:20:21
2 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, +50sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +1:42
4 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +2:57
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +3:43
6 Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff, +3:49
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, +4:59
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura, +6:18
9 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +7:46
10 David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural, +11:17