Zdenek Stybar best world champion Philippe Gilbert on the line to win stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana today.
The 27-year-old did not panic and timed his run to the finish perfectly. Gilbert looked over his shoulder to the fast approaching pack when Stybar accelerated to take his fourth individual win of the season after claiming the overall at this month’s Eneco Tour.
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Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Gilbert (BMC) surged off the front of the peloton within the last 10km of the rolling 206km race from Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare.
Technical roads in the closing stages worked to the pair’s advantage with Orica-GreenEdge, which had points leader Michael Matthews, left to do most of the chase work.
Searing temperatures added to the pressures of the day that saw Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) crash in what appeared an isolated incident within the final 15km. Martin changed bikes and was afforded two teammates to bring him back to the main group.
Earlier, Gilbert’s teammate Marco Pinotti as well as Christian Knees (Sky) and Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural) comprised the main break of the day. The three escaped not long after the start and held a maximum advantage of more than seven minutes before being reeled in, Pinotto the last, within the final 20km.
Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) held onto the race leader’s jersey.
Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage seven: Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
3. Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin
4. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
5. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
9. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC
10. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana 27-29-35
2. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 3 secs
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8 secs
4. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard at 16 secs
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 21 secs
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 26 secs
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 28 secs
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 31 secs
9. Rafal Majka (Pol)Saxo-Tinkoff at 38 secs
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 42 secs