23-Aug-2011 : Today an extraordinary Sylvain Chavanel is wearing the red jersey as the leader in the Vuelta at the arrival placed more than 2100 metres above sea level on Sierra Nevada.
The champion from Quick-Step Cycling Team completed a masterpiece of tactics and determination, managing to dole out some left over energy after his fantastic performance in yesterday’s stage, maintaining a 43” advantage in the general classification over the second place rider, Daniel Moreno, who won today’s stage.
“I came to this Vuelta highly motivated,” explained an exhausted but radiant Chavanel after the arrival. “I think I proved that both today and yesterday. Today along the climb to Sierra Nevada I saw that Lastras didn’t have a great pedal push. I knew that if I could make it past the first part of the climb I could be the leader. I counted the kilometres to go to the top, I couldn’t let a chance like that get away. For me it’s a great feeling. In 2008 I’d already worn this jersey, but this year after the bad luck I had in the Tour it has a different meaning. I’m going to try to defend it and honour it, like I always have. Tomorrow there are going to be some difficult passages but I’m going to give it my all. I had a tough Tour de France but luckily I have the capacity to turn the page quickly. I know I can have a good end of the season and even make it to the World Championships in great shape. First though, there’s the Vuelta and a jersey to honour in the best way possible.”
The team’s great day was completed by Seeldraeyers’ 10th place in the general classification, 1’04” from his team mate Chavanel.
“We’ve gotten off to a great start at the Vuelta” Seeldraeyers says. “Today my legs weren’t bad at all. I’m happy to be in the top 10, even though the road to Madrid is still long and hard. However, I’m going to try to defend this position in these next days, I’m in good shape and there will be lots of climbs in the next stages.”
General classification after stage 4
1 Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
2 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) 43’’
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) 49’’?
4 Maxime Monfort (Bel) 49’’
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 53’’
10 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel)
- Team News