Report: Team Sky
Published: 29 August 2012
Chris Froome put in the third fastest time in the stage 11 time trial at the Vuelta a Espana to place him third overall.
The result means the Team Sky rider sits just 16 seconds back as the overall classification tightened up significantly on the run from Cambados to Pontevedra.
Joaquim Rodriguez put in an incredibly gutsy ride to retain the lead of the race. The Spaniard (Katusha) is not renowned for his time trialling abilities but pushed hard to claim the seventh fastest time on the day over the 39.4-kilometre test.
But it was all about the clock and when it stopped it appeared that Rodriguez had finished dead level on overall time with rival Alberto Contadro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).
The timing was quickly adjusted and showed that ‘Purito’ still held the jersey by a single second following his biggest test thus far as leader.
Contador jumped above Froome to bring himself further into contention, yet none of the GC favourites were able to deny Frederik Kessiakoff (Astana) from claiming a maiden Grand Tour stage win.
Heading into the stage all eyes had been on the duel between Contador and Froome, with the Spaniard edging out an advantage early on and gradually extending it to the finish.
Richie Porte was the next Team Sky rider home in sixth after leading early on, while Juan Antonio Flecha breached the top 20 with 19th spot.
The eagerly-awaited time trial was expected by many to significantly shake up the overall standings. Rodriguez began the day with a 53-second lead and was in no mood to give up the red jersey.
39 seconds down to Contador following the first intermediate, the Katusha man pegged the gap on the climb, still leading provisionally by six seconds over the top Alto Monte Castrove.
Early race leader Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) came out of the blocks quickly to lay down a marker time of 54:10, the Spaniard’s time holding up in the early going before coming under threat.
An impressive Porte went 12 seconds quicker through the second intermediate and held on off the descent to narrowly edge out compatriot Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) by two seconds to move into the hotseat.
But there was no stopping Kessiakoff, the Swede powering through the stage to smash the time with a 52:36, taking 1:15 out of his rivals.
Wearing the white skinsuit of the combination competition on behalf of Rodriguez, Froome was unable to edge himself ahead of Contador on the splits but dug deep to remain firmly in the GC mix heading back into the mountains.
1 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team 0:52:36
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:17
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:39
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:08
5 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:09
6 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:15
7 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:16
8 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica - GreenEdge 0:01:17
9 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:01:24
10 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:34
General classification after stage 11:
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 40:26:15
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:01
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:16
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:59
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:27
6 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:02:54
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:39
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:04:08
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:22
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:05:10