Vuelta a Espana: Alberto Contador takes race lead as Tony Martin wins stage ten time trial

By Matt Westby.   Last Updated: 03/09/14 10:35am

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Alberto Contador took the race lead

Alberto Contador took the race lead

Sky Bet

Alberto Contador moved into the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana as former leader Nairo Quintana plummeted down the standings after a heavy crash on stage ten's individual time trial.

Quintana was descending from the only climb on the 36.7km course when he overshot a corner, collided with a barrier and somersaulted over his handlebars.

The Movistar rider was able to carry on after slowly getting back to his feet, but he continued to lose time and crossed the line 4min 07sec down on the stage winner, Tony Martin, and 3min 28sec down on closest rival Contador, who finished fourth.

Chris Froome also endured a difficult day and could only set the tenth-fastest time, 53 seconds down on Contador, while Alejandro Valverde fared slightly better, finishing 22 seconds down on his fellow Spaniard in eighth.

The result sees Contador open up a 27-second lead over second-placed Valverde at the top of the general classification, with Rigoberto Uran climbing to third, 59 seconds back, after riding to an impressive second place on the day.

Froome falls back

Froome remains fifth overall but falls to 1min 18sec off the red jersey, while Quintana’s disastrous day sees him sink to 11th, 3min 25sec off the pace, all but ending his hopes of overall victory.

Tony Martin won the stage by 15 seconds

Froome told teamsky.com afterwards: "Obviously I was hoping for a better ride today. I definitely started out too fast. For the first 15 minutes I felt fantastic and I think I chased it a little much. By the time I hit the climb I started to really feel the effort of the fast start and I paid the price for the rest of the time trial.

“I’m just over a minute off GC still with a lot of racing to come. I’m going to keep fighting as best I can every day. Going back, my goal coming into this Vuelta was to get a Grand Tour into my legs and finish the season in good form.” 

The course started with an 11km climb up Alto del Moncayo, but then descended gradually all the way back down to the finish line in Borja.

Jesse Sergent’s early benchmark of 48min 15sec was eclipsed when Trek Factory Racing team-mate Fabian Cancellara stopped the clock in 47min 20sec, but then Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) shaved another 18 seconds off with a time that would prove unbeatable.

Martin untouchable

Martin’s mark started coming under threat when the general classification contenders began rolling down the start ramp, and Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the quickest man to the top of the climb, opening up early leads of eight seconds on Valverde (Movistar), 20 seconds on Quintana (Movistar) and 29 seconds of an out-of-sorts Froome (Team Sky).

With Quintana then falling off the road and out of contention, it was left to Valverde and Froome to deny Contador the red jersey, but both men had slipped further behind the Spaniard by the second time check, at 30km, with Valverde dropping to 20 seconds adrift and Froome now 53 seconds back.

Contador slowed slightly in the final 6.7km to the line, but he consolidated his advantages over Valverde and Froome and surrendered time only to Uran, who produced a fine display to climb six places overall.

Quintana said of his crash: "I kept breaking for quite long, but it wasn't enough because the bike didn't stop, and I crashed. I did not hurt myself really badly. I'm hurting my left ankle and I also have blows all over my body, but I hope it's nothing serious. This is cycling. I lost some time and I might be switching to help out Alejandro so we can conquer the overall podium."

Stage ten result

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 47:02
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +15secs
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing, +18
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +39
5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing, +48
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing, +49
7 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, +58
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +1:01
9 Jesse Sergent (NZ) Trek Factory Racing, +1:13
10 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +1:32
Selected others
17 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +1:49
82 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +4:07

General classification

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 36:45:49
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +27secs
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +59
4 Winner Anacona (Col) Lampre-Merida, +1:12
5 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +1:18
6 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +1:37
7 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing, +1:41
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +2:27
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, +2:38
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale, +2:59
Selected other
11 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +3:25

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