My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Still no Vuelta stage win for Valverde

Category: Cycling

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) really wants to win a stage at this year's Vuelta a España. He missed out on the Alto do Monte da Groba on stage two, and he also miscalculated on the next stage that suited him. So he did not win at the Alto de Peñas Blancas. Instead Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) took victory.

"I missed out, when I wanted to make my move at 400 metres to go it was too late," Valverde said afterwards. "My congratulations to the winner.

"I'm pleased because I've got good form, which is good when guys like [Bauke] Mollema [Belkin] and Roman Kreuziger [Saxo-Tinkoff], important riders weren't able to handle the pace."

Mollema finished 35th at 2:33, and Kreuziger 47th at 5:27.

"Maybe Nibali wanted to lose the jersey today, but in any case it's Monday's stage that really counts. That's the hardest of the three. But I would have liked a stage win today."

Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez both finished 19 seconds back in eighth and ninth place respectively.

"It's true that me, Nibali and Rodriguez are watching each other closely," Valverde admitted. "But it's Monday that really matters."

Valverde is currently 7th overall. He still has the chance to take over the lead.

Horner lost Vuelta leader's jersey

Category: Cycling

Chris HornerChris Horner (Radioshack) did not mind losing the leader's jersey today.

"For me personally, it's a good thing to lose the jersey - for the sponsor I think it's an absolutely terrible thing," Chris Horner said.

"[From here on] I will be able to concentrate on the GC, without all the leader's [ceremony protocol] stuff, maybe an hour to an hour and a half [of leader's obligations] after each stage," Horner told Cyclingnews.

"For me personally, it was all about leading for one day."

Horner was caught out by a late split in the peloton at the finish in Fisterra. Nibali finished in 16th spot in the front group of 21. Horner finished in 26th, with a six-second time gap.

"I got boxed in, there was a split very close to the line and I couldn't move out on either side," Horner said. "It wasn't a hard effort in terms of the finish, but we slowed down and I got boxed in so badly there wasn't anywhere for me to go.

"We used up the teammates that usually I have around me 100 percent beforehand, I was left to work on my own and I got boxed. By the time I got unboxed, the gap was there.

"I got trapped on one side, I could see the acceleration going on the other. It wasn't bad luck, you know it's going to happen, there's nothing you can do and if you get caught out....that was the way the race went."

Horner leads Nibali by 3 seconds

Category: Cycling

Vincenzo NibaliVincenzo Nibali lost the leader’s jersey on stage 3. But there's no reason to worry for Astana. There is so many up-hill finishes at this year’s Vuelta a Espana, that Nibali will have plenty of chances of taking it back.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) took the win at Mirador de Lobeira and now leads the Italian by 3 seconds in the overall classification.

"In the first day at the team time trial we won the stage but not the Vuelta. Likewise today we lost the jersey but not the whole race. There are three weeks of competition ahead of the entire peloton, and it will not be easy for any one team to defend day in and day out," Astana’s Alexander Shefer said.

On stage three, Astana kept Nibali and his red jersey out of trouble.

"The winds today were strong, but always from the same direction. When we came to the final climb it was a tailwind for the riders, and that kept the pace very high. Horner made a strong move in the last 2k and Vincenzo did well to keep close at the finish," Shefer said.

"There are 13 mountain stages in this Vuelta, and it will take strong legs and a smart head to climb them. We are not disappointed to let go of the red jersey today, and we look forward to the rest of the Vuelta to try and take it back."