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Alejandro the third in Haza Llana

Alejandro the third in Haza Llana

Tomorrow rest day at the Vuelta

Alejandro fought to his physical limits in the biggest Andalusia mountain stage of the 2013 Vuelta a España, a 167km trek between Jaén and the HC-rated Alto de Haza Llana via the gruelling Monachil (Cat-1), 27k from the finish.

The Spaniard completed the day in 3rd place, taking the final four bonus seconds. Horner takes back over the lead of the Vuelta, with Valverde in the same 4th place he started the day, now 1.02 adrift.

The Spanish grand tour leaves for Zaragoza this evening where the first rest day will take place tomorrow, preceding the important 39km ITT on Wednesday.

Alejandro’s quotes (audio available below):

“I had already stated that today was the stage where we would be really seeing who were the biggest candidates for the Vuelta overall, with two real climbs along the way. Horner was a surprise, but I don’t think it was too much, because he was already riding well – the time gap might have been it, a minute is quite a difference. When he won his first stage, he already proved strong, but he won convincingly today. The rest of us – Nibali, Purito, Basso, Pinot or Roche – we’re all pretty much close to each other right now. Nibali got a bit of a gap today, but we’re all quite strong. I don’t know if the current situation will change the race’s development, as Nibali, Purito and myself looked to each other a bit, but we also knew we weren’t the only podium contenders, and everyone could see it today.

I dropped a bit with 5k to go because I knew the climb really well – we had trained a lot on these roads and I knew I had to set my own pace. I took some breath and could close the gap again; even though I suffered a lot, I found myself better after that. As I’m saying, it was the first real mountain stage today, and there’s still a long way to go. I have to thank and congratulate my team because they were splendid today once again. We’re really willing to get that rest day, though it will be a bit more active than usual since we have the TT on Wednesday. It seems like a hard time trial, so it shouldn’t be bad for me. We’ll put some guts on it and suffer as much as we can.”

(Press release: www.movistarteam.com)