Last year’s Tour of Britain winner Michael Albasini (HTC-Highroad) won the 13th stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana in Ponferrada on Friday.
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After being involved in attacks close to the finish, the Swiss rider still found the strength to take the victory at the head of a 19 strong lead group ahead of fellow breakaways Eros Capecci (Liquigas) and Daniel Moreno (Katusha). Ireland’s Nicholas Roche (Ag2r) took fifth.
Despite a brief mid-stage scare, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) maintained his position in the race leader’s red jersey – just. Nibali grabbed the six second time bonus on the first intermediate
sprint to move up to second place overall, just four seconds behind
Wiggins. Wiggins’ British team-mate Chris Froome drops to third.
Wiggins had been distanced by an attack that included overall challengers Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana), Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek) and Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) on the descent of the first category Puerto de Ancares.
With the gap stretching to a maximum of 27 seconds, a concerted chase by Sky brought the break back to heel at the bottom of the final climb – the third cat Puerto de Lumeras.
Jan Bakelandts (Omega-Pharma Lotto) also ran into trouble on the streets of Ponferrada. Having been in the lead group with 2km to go, he limped in on his own after colliding with a traffic island.
There’s no rest for the overall contenders, as on Saturday they face two tough categorised climbs in quick succession followed by a mountain-top finish after 172.8km of racing on stage 14.
Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 13: Sarria to Ponferrada, 158.2km
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad in 4-19-39
2. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha
4. David De La Fuente (Spa) Geox-TMC
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard-Trek
7. Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar
8. David Blanco (Spa) Geox-TMC
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Marc De Maar (Ned Ant) Quick Step all same time
26. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1-33
37. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1-33
Overall classification after stage 13
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 51-14-59
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 4 secs
3. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 7 secs
4. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana at 9 secs
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 19 secs
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 36 secs
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek at 1-04
8. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC at 1-27
9. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 1-52
10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Radioshack at 1-53
14. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale at 2-15
23. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 4-44
Nicolas Roche at the head of the escape group
Sky head the peloton
Bradley Wiggins kept his race lead
Bradley Wiggins is just four seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali overall
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Related links
Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries
By Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide