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Philippe Gilbert and the rest of the peloton suffered through abysmal weather conditions. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
Philippe Gilbert and the rest of the peloton suffered through abysmal weather conditions. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 14: Challenging Conditions

7. September 2013

In rainy and cold conditions, world road champion Philippe Gilbert rode in the breakaway for half of Saturday's mountainous stage of the Vuelta a España, while teammate Dominik Nerz climbed from 17th to 13th overall.

'A Horrible Day'
Nerz, who finished 21st, called the 155.7-kilometer race a "horrible day" and admitted he normally does not perform well in adverse weather. "All the last days, more or less we had 30 degrees, but today it was 10 degrees and pouring rain," he said. "It was hard not only for the body, but also mentally. At the end, I am really happy to move up again on the general classification." Gilbert finished 15th on the day, 6:14 behind solo stage winner Daniele Ratto (Cannondale Pro Cycling), the lone survivor of the original breakaway. "Phil was definitely suffering from the cold," said Assistant Director Noel Dejonckheere, who was following the breakaway in the pouring rain as lightning lit up the sky and thunder shook the ground between mountain passes. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) kept the overall lead by finishing runner-up, 3:53 after Ratto. Nerz is 11:40 behind with another difficult mountain stage to come on Sunday. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said he was proud of the team's performance. "Today was one day when the conditions were very, bad," he said. "I remember days like this from my own experience as a rider. For Philippe, this wasn't a bad result. It was impossible to talk strategy with him or anyone. The riders were 100 percent just thinking about having the courage to finish. Unfortunately, tomorrow will probably be the same weather."