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Alessandro Ballan launched his own attack on the first categorized climb. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Alessandro Ballan launched his own attack on the first categorized climb. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 17: Ballan in the Break

5. September 2012

For the second time in less than a week's time, Alessandro Ballan was the BMC Racing Team's rider in the breakaway at the Vuelta a España Wednesday.

Ballan: 'Very Hard Day'
The former world road champion, who was also in a break on Stage 14, made a split of 11 that escaped the peloton about 80 kilometers into the 187.3 km race. But after quickly gaining a three-minute lead, Garmin-Sharp took up the chase to slice that advantage in half approaching the base of the day's first categorized climb. Ballan then took it upon himself to keep the escape going and attacked his breakaway companions. Eventually, he was joined by a group containing nearly all the top general classification riders. But near the top, he lost contact. "It was a very hard day, the day after a rest day," Ballan said. "I tried to attack because the big riders behind were going to make it a hard race for the final climb. I tried to stay with (Joaquin) Rodriguez and (Alejandro) Valverde but I didn't have good legs." Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) soloed to the stage win and into the overall lead as previous red jersey wearer Rodriguez (Katusha Team) dropped to third overall, 2:28 off the lead and behind Valverde, who moved into second. Ballan was the first BMC Racing Team rider to arrive at the mountain-top finish, 6:01 after Contador.

CUTLINE:
Alessandro Ballan launched his own attack on the first categorized climb. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)