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La Vuelta: Stage 14 Slinky Malinki

September 9, 2014

The day featured two hard Category 1 climbs. The first was very long but it was the second that was more important. It was very steep and the rides crawled slowly up, seemingly in slow motion at times. The break had plenty time in hand and when Zaugg attacked he looked odds on for the win. However, Hesjedal ground his way back and timed his effort superbly to take the win. The Canadian is very deceptive, who would think such a large frame would be well suited to climbed steep hills.

The main action was amongst the GC favourites. Froome was out the back early but set his own pace and amazingly overtook the rest late in the stage, He even gained a few seconds. He seems to be stronger on the moderate gradients but unable to keep up when the going is steeper or when the better climbers attack. He is lacking the top end acceleration of last year but is managing his energy well and keeping in contact. The others must be worried that they cannot dispatch him.

The time gaps between the top few were small but Valverde was dropped near the end. Uran struggled and lost almost a minute. He was looking great after the time trial but has not been able to climb well since.

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