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LA MANZANEDA, Spain (AFP) — French climbing specialist David Moncoutie took victory in the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain Wednesday, a 167-km ride from Verin to La Manzaneda that ended on a mountaintop.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins took the overall leader’s red jersey from compatriot and Sky teammate Christopher Froome.
“I knew that if I stayed with the climbers I could take the leader’s jersey,” the 31-year-old Wiggins said at the end of the race. “The ideas are very clear at Sky. Froome took the jersey but he knew he came to help me achieve the jersey, it is an effort that I appreciate greatly.”
Wiggins, who crashed out of the Tour de France in July with a broken collarbone, is now seven seconds ahead of Froome in the overall standings and 11 seconds ahead of Italy’s defending champion Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas in third.
Moncoutie, of Cofidis, was part of a key breakaway group that took on the final 19km climb but launched a solo attack to finish the stage one minute and 18 seconds ahead of nearest rival Benat Intxausti of Movistar.
“I made this stage a priority. I wanted to get in the breakaway today and score points on the mountain stage. Lets just say that the scenario unfolded just as I had dreamed,” the 36-year-old said.
It was Moncoutie’s fourth stage win at the Vuelta following victories in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
“We thought the change of climate and terrain would benefit us. I tried to catch the breakaway but with Moncoutie it was difficult, he is unbeatable, we all know that he rarely fails, he proved he is the strongest,” said Intxausti.
The Tour of Spain continues Thursday with a 167.3 km ride between Ponteareas and Pontevedra that is mostly flat and is expected to end in a field sprint.
- 1. David MONCOUTIE, (FRA) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, in 4:38:00
- 2. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, (ESP) Movistar, at 1:18
- 3. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, (ESP) Rabobank Cycling Team, at 1:18
- 4. Mathias FRANK, (SUI) BMC Racing Team, at 1:36
- 5. Sergio Miguel Moreira PAULINHO, (POR) Team RadioShack, at 1:43
- 1. Bradley Wiggins, (Great Britain) Team Sky, in 42:50:41
- 2. Christopher FROOME, (Great Britain) Team Sky, at 7
- 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, (Italy) Liquigas-Cannondale, at 11
- 4. Fredrik KESSIAKOFF, (Sweden) Astana, at 14
- 5. Jakob FUGLSANG, (Denmark) Leopard-Trek, at 19