Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka took a fine solo victory atop the short but steep Peña Cabarga climb this afternoon as Chris Horner (RadioShack-Trek) moved to within three seconds of race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

Kiryienka attacked from a breakaway group of 15 riders with 46 kilometres remaining, and managed to maintain enough of a gap over the other escapees to beat Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) by 28 seconds, with Australian Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) taking third 1-18 down.

The 32-year-old Belarusian’s victory is only Sky’s second stage win in the Vuelta – the first also came on this climb courtesy of Chris Froome two years ago – and sits alongside Kiryienka’s previous successes in the 2008 and 2011 editions of the Giro.

Behind him, the peloton sprung into life with 1.5 kilometres of the first-category climb remaining, as former race leader Daniel Moreno attacked and took his Katusha team-mate Joaquim Rodriguez with him. Horner bridged across easily, while Nibali at one point tussled with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to get the best line into one of the Peña Cabarga’s steep hairpin bends. Both men eventually made it up to the chasers, before Valverde was distanced.

Horner, having raced the latter part of the climb out of the saddle, attacked around 700 metres from the line and simply rode away from the race leader. Nibali, looking somewhat reminiscent of Sir Bradley Wiggins as he remained seated even on some of the climb’s 20 per cent sections, eventually lost Rodriguez’s wheel before Valverde came back to pass him in sight of the finish. 

Horner crossed the line in sixth, 25 seconds ahead of the race leader to reduce Nibali’s advantage to just three seconds with as many days remaining. 

Tomorrow’s nineteenth stage ends with a second-category climb to Oviedo Alto Naranco, before the fearsome Angliru welcomes the race at the end of the penultimate day of racing on Saturday.


Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage 18: Burgos to Peña Cabarga

1. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky 186.5km in 4-46-48

2. Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0-28

3. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol at 1-18

4. Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC at 1-34

5. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1-42

6. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard at 1-53

7. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural at 2-02

8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 2-13

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2-14

10. Vincenzo Nibali (Spa) Astana at 2-18

Overall classification after stage 17

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Spa) Astana in 73-39-35

2. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard at 0-03

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1-10

4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 2-24

5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 3-43

6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5-44

7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 6-14

8. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 6-35

9. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 7-51

10. Tanel Kangert (Esa) Astana 11-10

Chris Horner attacks

Nibali loses touch with Horner

Kiryienka wins

Vasil Kiryienka celebrates his stage win

Related links

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Coverage index

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Stage reports
Stage 18: Kiryienka solos to win as Horner gains time
Stage 17: Mollema wins after crosswinds split bunch
Stage 16: Barguil makes it two as Nibali put under pressure
Stage 15: Geniez wins as Roche goes on attack
Stage 14: Ratto wins rain-swept Vuelta stage 14
Stage 13: Barguil takes first pro victory
Stage 12: Gilbert ends rainbow curse with Vuelta stage 12 win
Stage 11: Cancellara issues Worlds warning shot by winning time trial
Stage 10: Horner wins stage and regains race lead
Stage nine: Moreno wins stage to take race lead
Stage eight: Konig wins, Roche takes lead
Stage seven: Stybar wins from escape
Stage six: Morkov wins after Martin’s day-long escape
Stage five: Matthews wins in Lago de Sanabria
Stage four: Moreno wins tough stage
Stage three: Horner takes charge with stage win and overall lead
Stage two: Nicolas Roche attacks to win
Stage one: Astana takes opening team time trial

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Photo galleries
Stage 18 photo gallery
Stage 17 photo gallery
Stage 16 photo gallery
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
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