Miguel Angel Lopez (Team Astana) won stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana with race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) securing 2nd place and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) taking 3rd.
It was another wet start at the Vuelta a Espana today as riders left Lorca for a tough 187km mountain stage. Similarly to yesterday, there was a big fight to make it into the break of the day and only after 55km of racing did a group of 14 riders go clear. Igor Anton, our African Team’s best placed rider on GC, was in the escape to represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
The peloton wasn’t keen on letting the break runaway though and held the gap tight at 3-minutes. With 2 massive mountains bringing up the rear of the stage, that margin was never going to be enough for Anton and company. On the penultimate climb of the stage, Anton lost contact with Roman Bardet (AG2R), Sander Armee (Lotto-Soudal) and Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) in the break while Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) and John Darwin Atapuma (UAE Emirates) rode across from the main group to the leaders.
Our Basque climber, already committed to the attack, pushed on between the leaders and the main break, trying to go as deep into the stage as possible before being caught by the favourites. The final climb was a difficult 16km rise up to Calar Alto, and with 11km to go Anton was caught. As the GC favourites powered up the final climb, the rest of the break was caught too. Lopez had the legs to ride away from Froome and Nibali in the final kilometer of the stage and took a good win.
Anton kept us much pressure on the pedals as he could after spending a good few pennies in the early break, crossing the line 4’04” down on Lopez and in 26th place on the stage. The result saw no change to Anton’s overall position as he remains 18th on GC.
Igor Anton – Rider
Today I have to be happy because I tried my hand in the long breakaway. After 55km we made the break and my goals were take a few steps up the GC and possibly win the stage. I won this stage in the past so it brings back a lot of good memories for me. It was a very hard stage and a lot of riders lost time. On the last climb, I could start to feel the earlier effort I had made taking its toll, and finally I lost time too. It will take some time to recover from this because I gave 200% today but I am happy.