Samuel Sánchez claimed a creditable fourth place on the 19th stage of the Vuelta a España on Friday.
The stage, ending atop the famed Naranco climb close to Sánchez's home city of Oviedo in Asturias, was ideally suited to pocket rocket Joaquim Rodríguez, and the Katusha leader delivered and then some by cantering to the win.
No one was able to get even remotely close to grabbing hold of his wheel, but 'Samu' paid homage to his friends and family lining the roadside by launching a powerful attack inside the last click. For a while he looked a good bet for second on the stage, but he was eventually passe by both Diego Ulissi and Daniel Moreno, meaning he had to make do with fourth on the day.
Not much changed on GC. Heading into the last decisive stage on Saturday, the Euskaltel leader occupies ninth overall.
- (1, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), 4:16:13)
- 4, Samuel Sánchez, 0:11
- 14, Mikel Nieve, 0:41
- 17, Egoi Martínez, 0:51
- 28, Gorka Verdugo, 1:29
- 33, Mikel Landa, 1:57
- 48, Juan José Oroz, 4:19
- 66, Jorge Azanza, 9:31
- 69, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 143, Pablo Urtasun, 21:10