Sept 2, 2016 – Italy’s Valerio Conti won the longest stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Friday as the main favorites enjoyed a leisurely ride in the sun.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

The 213.4km course from Bilbao to Urdax near the French border was dominated by a 12-strong breakaway, with Conti pulling clear in the final 20km to come home alone. Colombia’s Nairo Quintana retained the race leader’s red jersey ahead of Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who is at 54 seconds.

Swiss Danilo Wyss won the sprint for second ahead of Russia’s Sergey Lagutin, 55 seconds behind the stage winner. But with tough mountain stages to come, including Saturday’s first trip into the Pyrenees, the overall contenders essentially took the day off.

Riding at a pedestrian pace, the peloton came over the finishing line almost 34 minutes behind the winner. Saturday’s 14th stage is 196km long from Urdax to Aubisque and includes three first category climbs before the final hors category ascent to the finish.

It is highly likely to provoke some serious skirmishing amongst the overall contenders, with Quintana looking to gain time on Froome. There is a 37km individual time-trial in a week in which Froome is expected to make significant gains on Quintana.

Results Stage 13:
1. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre – Merida 5:29:04
2. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:55
3. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
4. Michael Gogl (Aut) Tinkoff Team
5. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM Cycling
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18 0:01:02
8. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:04
9. Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro Team
10. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:08

General Classification:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 52:56:29
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:54
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:05
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 0:02:34
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:03:08
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:03:09
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:03:25
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:34
9. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:03:45
10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:03:56