De Marchi wins longest stage of Spanish Vuelta
LUINTRA, Spain (AP) — Alessandro De Marchi broke away with five kilometers (3.1 miles) left to win the longest stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday, while Simon Yates kept his slim lead over Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.
De Marchi was in a group of 19 riders who escaped from the peloton about halfway into the 207.8-kilometer (129.1-mile) 11th stage in northwestern Spain. He then jumped into a solo lead in heavy rain on the final climb to secure his third career stage victory in the Vuelta.
"This victory is special. I had been chasing it for quite some time," De Marchi said. "Sometimes you feel like you've lost it. Now I feel like I'm back at my best."
The BMC Racing Team rider, who had also won stages in this year's Tour de Suisse and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, was 28 seconds ahead of Jhonatan Restrepo, and nearly a minute in front of third-place Franco Pellizotti.
"I knew there was this uphill section. I only had one shot, the legs were empty. It was all in the mind," the 32-year-old Italian rider said. "Now I can take it a bit easier in the peloton in the next few days and I want to try again in the last week, but I'll be more relaxed."
There was little change overall, with Yates staying one second ahead of Valverde and 14 in front of Nairo Quintana.
"I never thought I would lose the red jersey," Yates said. "The first 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) were very intense and chaotic. We expected a lot of attacks ... we had to take some risks and in the end I'm still in the red. The legs felt good, without any problem, and now I'm looking forward to the real mountain stages."
Thursday's 12th stage will be a hilly 181.1-kilometer (112.5-mile) route from Mondonedo to Estaca de Bares, the northernmost point in Spain.