Bradley Wiggins (Sky) had a tough day on the Angliru, losing his overall lead of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, but both team-mate Chris Froome and Wiggins remain very much in the frame at less than a minute with six days racing to go.
“It’s not over yet, Bradley had a bit of bad luck there, then he suffered on the steepest parts of the climb and finally [stage winner and race leader Juan Jose] Cobo (Geox) was the strongest on the day,” Sky’s Shane Sutton said.
The bad luck described by Sutton came when Wiggins dropped his chain at the foot of the Angliru climb and had to chase hard to get back on. But there were no excuses, either – Cobo’s attack was unstoppable, Sutton said, and they had to face that.
“No complaints. We said to the guys this morning to try and keep control of [Rabobank's] Bauke Mollema [third overall before the stage] and they did that. They dropped guys like Nibali and
“And Froomey [Chris Froome] tried to get after Cobo but he couldn’t quite close it.”
“But they did amazing rides and we’ll keep fighting.”
Sutton also had praise for the large number of British fans that cheered Wiggins on during the climb and who came around the team bus at this morning’s start in Aviles.
“It was great to see, and something we all appreciate very much.”
New leader Cobo was cautious about his chances of keeping the lead.
“I have to be careful, anything can happen between here and Madrid.”
“I felt far stronger than I thought I would on the climb, which is why I decided to attack from further out than expected.”
“I didn’t know if I could hold that speed all the way up the climb because the Angliru’s so steep, but little by little my advantage increased.”
“I got more and more confident and I finally made it to the finish. For a Spanish cyclist to win on the Angliru is something truly exceptional.”
Next up is a rest day and another long transfer south before a flat stage on Tuesday.