Cofidis climber Rein Taarmae won the fourteenth stage of the Vuelta on the mountain finish of Lagos de Somiedo, finishing ahead of Geox pair Juan Jose Cobo and David De La Fuente.
Cobo attacked from the peloton four kilometres out, but couldn’t catch the Estonian, despite the help of de la Fuente, who had been in front with Taaramae for the closing 40 kilometres as the survivors of a seventeen-strong break.
Wiggins turns the screw
Behind, Bradley Wiggins impressively gained time on his big rivals, putting 1-21 into Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
The Briton had looked under pressure on the penultimate climb of the Puerto de San Lorenzo, as Rodriguez tried an attack.
However, the tables were turned on the final climb to Lagos de Somiedo. As the gradient reared with four kilometres to go, the Froome-Wiggins partnership moved to the front and kicked into gear again.
The Team Sky pair set a fierce pace that saw chief rivals Rodriguez, Kessiakoff, Fuglsang and Nibali melt away. Only Poels, Mollema and Menchov could keep up.
Wiggins and Froome have consolidated their overall advantage in first and second place, also likely striking a psychological blow with their controlling ride.
However, the race’s queen stage comes tomorrow, finishing on the ultra-steep Angliru, where we will see if the Britons’ opponents can gain back time.
Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 14: Astorga to La Farrapona-Lagos de Somiedo
1. Rein Taarmae (Est) Cofidis 175km in 4-39-01
2. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC at 25secs
3. David De La Fuente (Spa) Geox-TMC at 29secs
4. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil at 40secs
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 45secs
6. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
8. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 55secs
10. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 1-00
16. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-37
26. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 2-06
27. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Overall classification after stage 14
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky 55-54-45
2. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky at 7secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 36secs
4. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC at 55secs
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek at 58secs
6. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana at 1-23
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 1-25
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek at 1-37
9. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-16
10. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 2-24
15. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 3-32
18. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 4-17
21. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 5-36
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Rein Taaramae wins the stage
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