Home VUELTA A ESPANA VUELTA A ESPAÑA FINAL WRAP: TINKOFF’S FINAL GRAND TOUR COMES TO A CLOSE
VUELTA A ESPAÑA FINAL WRAP: TINKOFF’S FINAL GRAND TOUR COMES TO A CLOSE PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tinkof Saxo Team press office   
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:30

After three tough weeks of racing, the Vuelta a España came to a close with five final stages including two more tough mountain finishes, two sprint opportunities, and a key individual time trial test to see the fight for the red jersey continue to evolve. At its close in Madrid, the race saw a fitting award for Alberto Contador, with the team's leader awarded the most combative rider prize, a fitting award for his and the team's fighting spirit.

Tinkoff News Update
 
Vuelta a España Final Wrap: Tinkoff's final Grand Tour comes to a close
 
 
After three tough weeks of racing, the Vuelta a España came to a close with five final stages including two more tough mountain finishes, two sprint opportunities, and a key individual time trial test to see the fight for the red jersey continue to evolve. At its close in Madrid, the race saw a fitting award for Alberto Contador, with the team's leader awarded the most combative rider prize, a fitting award for his and the team's fighting spirit.
 
The day after the second and final rest day saw the race get back into gear with a bang as the GC contenders went head-to-head on the final ascent to the line. The climb may have been less than four kilometres long, but it was still a big push from the favourites to try to crack one another. As it happened, all attacks were neutralised, and the four crossed the line in the same time.
 
Up the road, the day’s breakaway managed to hold enough of an advantage to fight out the stage victory. Amongst the 28 that went clear was Tinkoff’s neo-pro, Michael Gogl, in his second successful breakaway of the Vuelta. On a finish unsuited to his strengths, he put in a valiant push to hold on for 13th.


Alberto Contador puts in a late push for the line on stage 17. Photo by Bettini Photo

“It started hard today and was fast, then in the middle we had two climbs which the guys did yesterday in training so they were well prepared,” explained Sport Director Steven de Jongh after the stage. “Nobody was in trouble. We tried hard to get Ivan Rovny and Yuri Trofimov in the break but they were brought back. Then in the end Michael Gogl was in the right move and it was good to have someone up there if something was needed in the final. As it was, Alberto had good support from the other guys and then was up there with the best at the end. It was super hard with the gradients on the climb but he was looking good today.”
 
The following stage saw one of two sprint opportunities for Daniele Bennati and the team in the final week of the race. On the other hand, it was a steady day for Alberto and the rest of the GC contenders ahead of a tough individual time trial and then the last mountain test of the race.
 
As predicted the race came into the finish as one, with the guys positioning Daniele near the front before the final kilometre. Unlike his last sprint opportunity where he jumped before the sprint itself, today he waited until the final effort and dug deep to take fourth.


A tight sprint saw Daniele Bennati finish fourth on stage 18. Photo by Bettini Photo

After the sprint, he told the press: “It wasn’t easy today, but we were pretty quiet and in the final I had some energy left, but I was a little bit behind in the last two corners. When I was able to go on the left I gave it my all.
 
“The main goal is Alberto and the race doesn’t finish until Madrid so we’ll keep doing everything we can to race for the red jersey. It’s not easy but we know his character and he’ll fight all the way.”
 
The individual time trial on stage 19 tackled a 37km route that rolled its way through the Spanish countryside, taking in a climb as well as some technical windy sections between Xàbia and Calp. On a day where the rest of the team could consolidate and save energy for the coming days, it was full gas for Alberto who ended the stage in eighth, moving onto the podium thanks to his efforts.


Alberto Contador in full TT mode on stage 19. Photo by Bettini Photo

Alberto said after the stage: "I got off to a good start and the first part of the time trial went very well. There was a strong wind but I knew it was there I could make a difference on Chaves. Then it became tougher and I had a hard time keeping a steady pace of watts, it was stop and go. I didn't feel the way I would have liked, the effort took its toll but I'm satisfied with the result.”
 
Stage 19 may have seen some time differences between the rivals, but stage 20 offered a profile that could see riders crack or see their GC hopes fade on a tough, mountainous parcours that took in four categorised climbs before the final ‘especial’ category ascent to the finish.
 
Tinkoff had lofty ambitions for the stage, always looking to fight until the end, and this started with strong intentions to get as many riders up the road early on, looking to have support on hand if needed during the stage.
 
Yuri Trofimov was eventually the rider who made the break that stuck and when a dangerous move came from Esteban Chaves, fourth placed overall, Yuri’s assistance came into play. He dropped back to join Alberto's select GC group before pacing them to the bottom of the final ascent. From here it was every man for himself up the long 21km climb.


Yuri Trofimov drives the chase on stage 20 on the approach to the final climb. Photo by Bettini Photo

Alberto put in a brave effort but couldn’t bring Chaves back enough to stop him moving ahead again in the GC, knocking Alberto off the podium. The GC leader remained pragmatic about the outcome of the stage, despite being disappointed. “When we started the Vuelta we knew what was ahead, unfortunately we weren't able to win it but it might sound strange but I don't give too much importance to the fact that I'm off the podium. When you lose you learn more and in this Vuelta I learned a lot. When you win you barely learn anything, when you lose you learn more.”
 
All that was left then was for the peloton to ride into Madrid for celebrations, and one final sprint opportunity. It was the team's last bid for a stage win with Daniele Bennati and he went so close to pulling it off, just fading in the final metres to drop into second place. Having taken the first part of the stage at a leisurely pace, enjoying the atmosphere and congratulating one another, the peloton eventually ramped up the pace on the city circuit in Madrid, ticking off the laps until the final bunch kick.
 
With big turns from Manuele Boaro in the closing kilometres, and a strong effort by Michael Gogl to bring Daniele into position it was over to the Italian to make the final effort. He launched early and was leading in the drag race to the line but the slightly uphill finish got the better of him as he was passed in the closing metres, leaving him with another second place at this year’s Vuelta a España. For his efforts over the duration of the race, Alberto was awarded the most combative rider prize after the stage, meaning one final podium visit for the Spaniard in Madrid.
 
“If you look back, we went for it and the guys gave their maximum,” explained Sport Director Sean Yates after the race was all over. “Alberto had the massive set back with the crash and lost energy that he would never get back during the race. All in all though it was a good tour. There was a good ambience and the guys helped each other as much as they could. Yesterday was disappointing and the result wasn’t as wanted but as Alberto said we didn’t come here to finish third, we came to win.”


Alberto Contador showed true fighting spirit from start to finish. Photo by Bettini Photo

The Vuelta rounds out the final Grand Tour for Tinkoff as a team, and despite it being the first Vuelta that Alberto has started and not won, he and the team can rest assured that they gave their all in the bid for overall victory and in delivering Alberto in the best way possible for this goal. Chapeau to the whole team, the staff and the fans too for their constant support from start to finish. Together, everybody made it a race to remember.
 
About Tinkoff

Tinkoff is a UCI WorldTour pro cycling racing team that is owned by Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov with the explicit aim to become the greatest cycling team in the world.
 
Tinkoff Bank is an innovative provider of online retail financial services operating in Russia through a high-tech branchless platform. The bank was founded in 2006 by a Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov to service clients in the Russian financial services market. In 2009, the bank started to attract retail deposits, and is a member of the national deposit insurance system.Being one of the leaders in the Russian credit card market, as of 1 March 2015, the bank issued over 5 mn credit cards.

In 2013, The Banker magazine, the world's premier banking and finance resource and Financial Times Group member, named Tinkoff Bank the Bank of the Year and the most profitable bank in Russia. In 2012, Global Finance magazine and Banki.ru portal presented Tinkoff Bank with the Best Internet Retail Bank in Russia award. In 2014 and 2013, Tinkoff mobile bank app was recognized the best by Deloitte, and in 2014, the internet bank of Tinkoff Bank was deemed the most effective in Russia by Markswebb Rank & Report agency.
 
 
Copyright ©2016 Tinkoff Sport A/S All rights reserved.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 23 September 2016 09:23
 
 

Pubblicità