Local man Daniel Moreno (Katusha) scooped the stage win on the tough final ramp in Valdepeñas de Jaén on Sunday to sensationally take the Vuelta a Espana overall lead.
Moreno needed to win the stage and finish seven seconds ahead of overnight leader Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) to top the table. Agonisingly for the Irishman, Moreno finished eight seconds ahead to snatch the red leader’s jersey.
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished second on the stage after chasing hard after Moreno, with Moreno’s team-mate Joaquim Rodriguez in third.
Moreno heads up the general classification one second ahead of Roche, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in third at 20 seconds.
Rowe in the break
Earlier in the day, British Grand Tour debutant Luke Rowe (Sky) was part of a five-man move. He joined Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r), Anthony Roux (FDJ) and Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural). The quintet worked well together to build up a five-minute plus advantage, but were reeled back in with 26km to go.
As the peloton rolled onto the lower slope of the day’s only classified climb of Alto de los Frailes, Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) attacked. His time out front was short lived, and as first Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack) and then Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) had a go.
Boasson Hagen accelerated quickly, passing Kiserlovski, cresting the climb solo and then hitting the descent with around 15 seconds advantage. Katusha took up the chase, stringing the bunch out on the dusty, twisting roads.
The tiring Boasson Hagen was caught with 2km to go as the remnants of the peloton hit the final, steep ramp. Moreno launched his attack first, quickly distancing everyone despite a concerted chase by Valverde. The stage win and red jersey were his.
Monday’s stage 10 should force the overall contenders to show their hands, particularly before Tuesday’s first rest day. The finale concludes atop Alto de Hazallanas, a 15.8km climb at an average of five per cent but with sections at 18 per cent.
Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage nine: Antequera to Valdepeñas de Jaén, 163.7km
1. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha in 4-18-57
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 4 secs
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 4 secs
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8 secs
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 9 secs
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r at 9 secs
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 9 secs
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing at 13 secs
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Argos-Shimano at 13 secs
10. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 15 secs
Overall classification after stage nine
1. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha in 35-58-34
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1 sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 20 secs
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 22 secs
5. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard at 28 secs
6. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 56 secs
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 1-09
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard at 1-10
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 1-24
10. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing at 1-25
Luke Rowe in escape
Edvald Boasson Hagen attacks
Daniel Moreno wins
Daniel Moreno in the race lead
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