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Dominik Nerz (leading) was joined in the day's big breakaway by teammate Danilo Wyss. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Dominik Nerz (leading) was joined in the day's big breakaway by teammate Danilo Wyss. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 9: Rain-Soaked Finish

31. August 2014

With help from teammate Dominik Nerz, BMC Racing Team's Samuel Sánchez fought to hold onto his place in the overall standings during a rain-soaked summit finish Sunday at the Vuelta a España.

Team Has Performed Well
Sánchez was unable to follow an attack by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the last two kilometers while riding in the peloton that was chasing the remnants of a large breakaway that had shattered on the final climb. Nerz – who was part of that earlier escape group – paced the past Olympic road race champion the final kilometer. Sánchez's result – 28th on the stage – dropped him from 12th to 13th in the standings. But he remains part of a group of nine riders within 30 seconds of each other heading into the race's first rest day. "Today I was missing a little bit to get to the finish line with Alejandro Valverde, who was the race leader," Sánchez said. "We have finished the first nine stages and have to be happy with what we have done up to now. We are close to the top 10 with a nearly two-minute gap from the leader. But our team has done a really good job in the first part of the race."

Support Sánchez, Go For Stage Wins
Lampre-Merida's Winner Anacona survived from the breakaway to take the stage win, 45 seconds ahead of Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) and Damiano Cunego (also Lampre-Merida). In the overall standings, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) took over the race lead by finishing with a small group that included Contador. Quintana is three seconds ahead of Contador and eight seconds in front of his Movistar teammate Valverde, while Sánchez is 1:35 behind. Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team will continue to fully support Sánchez, who was runner-up at this race in 2009 and third in 2007. "But during the next stages, we will also try every day for stage wins," Piva said. "The Vuelta is long and we have not lost any spirit. Samuel will fight back. He knows this is his race."

Time Trial Follows Rest Day
Nerz, who joined teammate Danilo Wyss in the 31-rider breakaway, said he was glad to help Sánchez but disappointed he was not in a position to go for the stage win. "I felt pretty good the whole day and tried to save as much energy as possible," he said. "But in the final, the rain was the biggest problem. I was really cold and my legs felt rock hard. So that killed me in the end. Finally, I just waited for Samuel to bring him back and save him time." When racing resumes Tuesday, the 194 riders remaining in the race will face a 36.7-km individual time trial. "I think I can ride it well, as I know the course," Sánchez said. "The first part is really hard and the second part is for the time trial specialists. My shape is good and normally I am feeling better in the third week of the race."

Listen to complete comments from Nerz, Piva and Sánchez (in Spanish) on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Watch behind-the-scenes videos on the BMC Racing Team YouTube channel.