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Steve Morabito – seen here cooling down after the race – finished 13th on the race's second mountain-top finish. (BMC Racing Team photo.)
Steve Morabito – seen here cooling down after the race – finished 13th on the race's second mountain-top finish. (BMC Racing Team photo.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 4: Morabito Climbs Two Spots Overall

21. August 2012

BMC Racing Team's Steve Morabito climbed two spots to 14th overall Tuesday at the Vuelta a España after a crash split the peloton and caused Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) to lose his overall lead.

Chaos After The Crash
The pile-up happened with 38 kilometers to go in the 160.6 km race, as strong crosswinds buffeted the peloton. Morabito said he was fortunate to be on the opposite side of the road as the crash, which took down at least 15 riders. "I was on the right side, expecting something would happen," he said. "I saw Sky moving up and yelled to Brent (Bookwalter) to move to the front. I was in position 20 or so, on the wheel of all of our classics guys." Bookwalter said things immediately turned hectic. "It was a bit of a free-for-all," he said. "Sky was riding and other guys were going up there wanting to ride in the rotation, but they wouldn't even really open up. They (Sky) didn't want any help. So it was a matter of keeping each other and Steve out of the wind and staying together." None of the BMC Racing Team riders were involved in the crash.

Amazing Teamwork
While the stage was being contested by two of five riders from a breakaway who once led by more than 13 minutes, Morabito was fighting on the slopes of the final climb to stay with a group that included the new race leader, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team). "My teammates did an amazing job of bringing me bottles in the hot weather and getting me to the front at the start of the climb, where at first I felt blocked," he said. "But after that I started feeling better. I just don't like when there are lot of attacks." By finishing 13th on the stage, 64 seconds behind stage winner Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), Morabito gained nine seconds is 53 seconds out of the race lead. Wednesday's stage is a 168 km circuit race, the first of its kind in a grand tour.