FI’ZI:K’S QUINTANA SECOND AT THE VUELTA

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, aboard his fi’zi:k Antares 00 saddle and riding for Movistar, enters the second week of the Vuelta a Espana in second place after Spain’s David de la Cruz won Sunday’s stage nine and, with it, slipped into the red jersey.

On a tough day, where the world’s best negotiated three category-three climbs and a Category 2 over 164.5km between Cistierna and Alto de Naranco, Cannondale-Drapac’s Moreno Moser finished a superb third with fi’zi:k’s Alexandre Geniez (FDJ rider) in sixth.

Characteristic of this year’s Vuelta, the breakaway riders were given a long leash by the overall leaders but this time retained their advantage. Riders of the caliber of Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac’s), Geniez, Moser and Dylan Teuns broke free from the GC contenders – Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Chris Froome – with the majority staying away.

While de la Cruz took the win, the action continued further back with Team Sky’s Pete Kennaugh launching an audacious move with 3km to the finish that put further pressure on the GC group. However, with 1km to go, the Movistar powerhouses reeled in the Isle of Man rider, meaning the 27-year-old remains in 15th overall.

Tuesday is the Vuelta’s first rest day but the riders can’t rest on their laurels. Monday’s stage 10 covers 186.6km between Lugones and Lagos de Covadonga with the mountain-top finish one of the most iconic on the Vuelta’s roster. The ascent of Lagos de Covadonga is 12.2km long at an average gradient of 7.2%, including the infamous La Huesera stretch that peaks at 13%. Don’t bet against Quintana or Froome riding into the rest day in red.