Mo­horic takes stage as Roche stays in third

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Matej Mo­horic bat­tled his way to a solo vic­tory on stage seven of La Vuelta as Chris Froome re­tained his slen­der over­all lead in the red jer­sey for Team Sky.

The 22-year-old UAE Team Emi­rates rider saw off the chal­lenge of a 14-man break­away head­ing into the fin­ish at Cuenca to cross 16 sec­onds ahead of Poland’s Pawel Pol­jan­ski as the Bora-Hans­grohe racer ended run­ner-up for the second con­sec­u­tive day.

Jose Joaquin Ro­jas (Mo­vis­tar) was beaten on the line in third, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) hav­ing to set­tle for fourth.

Jetse Bol was the big­gest mover in the gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion stand­ings, as the Man­zana Pos­to­bon rider moved up 25 places into sev­enth as the pelo­ton, which in­cluded Froome, fin­ished over eight-and-a-half-min­utes off the pace.

Ire­land’s Nicolas Roche was also in the main pelo­ton and re­mains in third place over­all, 13 sec­onds down on Froome.

Cross­winds

The 207-kilo­me­tre stage, which started from Lliria, fea­tured a tre­ble of cat­e­gory three climbs, with the break­away tak­ing shape from around 10kms as the riders bat­tled against cross­winds. How­ever, it was Mo­horic who ul­ti­mately lasted the dis­tance for the climb and de­scent of Alto del Castillo be­fore then pulling clear as he closed in on Cuenca.

Froome, who is aim­ing to be­come just the third man to win the Vuelta and Tour de France in the same year, kept his 11-second lead over Orica-Scott rider Esta­ban Chaves.

To­day’s eighth stage will run from Hellin to Xor­ret de Cat, which in­cludes a cat­e­gory one climb to­wards the fin­ish of the 199.5km route.

“It was a rel­a­tively in con­trol day for us, so another good day to tick off now and start think­ing about to­mor­row,” Froome said af­ter­wards. “To­mor­row has a re­ally tough fi­nal, there will be ramps of over 18 per cent on the climb be­fore we de­scend to the fin­ish, it’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be a GC bat­tle.”

Mean­while, yes­ter­day was a day of con­sid­er­able suc­cesses for Ir­ish cy­cling, with riders net­ting second and third and the ju­nior world track championships in Mon­tichiari, Italy.

Xeno Young took sil­ver in the in­di­vid­ual pur­suit, set­ting a new Ir­ish record of 3 min­utes 15.5 sec­onds in the qual­i­fy­ing round. The gold medal ride-off saw him go up against the Dane Jo­han Price-Pe­jtersen, who was quicker.

Shortly be­fore Young’s fi­nal, JB Murphy clocked up bronze in the points race. He lapped the field early on and put in a big surge to take the fi­nal sprint, but was caught be­fore the line.

Oleg Kanaka (Ukraine) won with 38 points, eight ahead of Rus­sia’s Iván Gerasi­mov and nine in front of Murphy.

Matej Mo­horic: saw off the chal­lenge of a 14-man break­away

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