Vuelta a Espana: EF Education First-Drapac light up stage 11 final
05 September 2018 08:45
In a stage that had already been brutally quick, EF Education First-Drapac poured fuel on the already burning fire in the finale of stage 11 at the Vuelta a Espana. The American team amassed on the front of the bunch inside the five kilometres as the race approached punchy unclassified climb. Simon Clarke upped what had already been an unrelenting pace set by Movistar, with Pierre Rolland dropping back to help with the effort before Michael Woods pushed clear of the group altogether. With a tough fight to get into the breakaway that lasted almost 100 kilometres, the riders had already been pushed to their limits and the group broke apart on the incline. The effort didn't go completely to plan with the team's GC leader Rigoberto Uran unable to follow Woods, who suddenly found himself alone off the front. Though Uran would not gain any time as a result of the move, Woods is still happy with the result.ADVERTISEMENT "It was hard but a lot more like an Ardennes Classic so, for me, it was fun," Woods said after the stage. "We knew that it would be difficult, we spoke about it in the team meeting but it was even harder than a lot of people, including myself, thought that it would be. The first two hours were savage. I think that we averaged 48kph an hour with two categorised climbs. It was insane. "The plan was for me to attack with Rigoberto on my wheel but he just missed the wheel a bit. I tried to give him as much of a springboard as possible but then I had a gap. I wasn't going for the stage win at that point because there were so many riders up the road but I wanted to try and be a bit of a foil. Even though the gap opened up, I think that there were only about 12 riders by the time we crested that climb. I am happy with the move just because Rigoberto is now sitting in a better position." With the bigger tests still to come this week, Uran is nestled inside the top 10 in eighth place at just 32 seconds behind the red jersey of Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scot). Uran lost most of his time in the opening time trial, and a few seconds here and there since, but has been riding comfortably with the top riders on the key climbs so far. The team has also been boosted by a stage win in the first week from Clarke – the team's first at WorldTour level this season - and Woods is full of excitement as he talks about the prospect of what is to come.
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