• Vuelta a Espana, Stage 16

Rodriguez gains as Cataldo takes queen stage

ESPN staff
September 3, 2012
Thomas de Gendt was bidding to repeat his success he enjoyed in the queen stage of the Giro d'Italia © PA Photos

Dario Cataldo won his personal, breakaway duel with Thomas de Gendt to win stage 16 - the queen stage - of the Vuelta a Espana.

Meanwhile, in the battle for general classification glory, current race leader Joaquin Rodriguez was third, two minutes and 40 seconds back from Cataldo.

De Gendt and Cataldo stormed ahead of the rest with 132km remaining of the stage and, with 88km left, had built a gap of 15 minutes that was never likely to be overhauled.

And so it proved, with De Gendt and Cataldo left to duke it out on the punishing final climb, which was 20km long. They battled right to the very end, with Cataldo successfully resisting a late attack from De Gendt.

Cataldo, the 27-year-old current Italian national time trial champion, scored the most significant triumph of his career to date.

Behind the two out front, an intriguing sub-plot was developing between the main contenders for the red jersey. Saxo Bank, Alberto Contador's team, set a ferocious speed in the peloton in the hope of gaining their man a few priceless seconds - and he made a move with 5km remaining.

But Rodriguez was more than equal to it, and in the end gave himself more breathing room in the overall standings. He is now 28 seconds in front of second-placed Contador, with Alejandro Valverde in third more than two minutes in arrears.

Team Sky's Chris Froome, whose race was run over the weekend as he lost key time, finished five minutes and ten seconds behind Cataldo after finding the pace too punishing.

Stage 16 top ten:
1 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 5:18:28
2 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm 0:00:07
3 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 0:02:39
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:02:41
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:02:58
6 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar 0:03:24
7 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:04:07
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:04:15
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:18
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:21

General classification top ten:
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 63:38:24
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:28
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:02:04
4 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:52
5 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha 0:06:58
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:07:28
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:08:28
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 0:09:00
9 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:09:11
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:11:44

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