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Vuelta a Espana

Eiking (10th): “Blend of pure joy and suffering”

After conquering the lead of the general classification in the tenth stage of the Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09), Odd Christian Eiking shone in his red kit on the first start row in Antequera this Wednesday. Being only 133 kilometer, the eleventh stage was the shortest of this Vuelta, a parcours which was already used in 2013. With the Puerto de Locubin (8.8km at 5%) in the final as the only categorized climb, the stage was just like the day before suited for a breakaway. However, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and the teams of Primoz Roglic and Michael Matthews joined forces to prevent a breakaway of five riders from winning the stage. Even though Magnus Cort resisted until the final hectometers.

On the top of the Puerto de Locubin, 8 kilometer before the finish, the Norwegian rider Odd Christian Eiking and the South African rider Louis Meintjes maintained themselves in the first group of a scattered peloton. The descent quickly brought the riders to the steep and explosive finish towards Valdepeñas de Jaén, where a stage finish in the Vuelta was held for the fourth time in the last decade. The favorites accelerated from the bottom and fought for the stage victory on slopes up to gradients of more than 20 per cent. In the end, Primoz Roglic showed his dominance. Odd Christian Eiking defended the red leader’s jersey by crossing the line 11 seconds later in 10th place. He finished next to Guillaume Martin, his main contender for the general classification. Also Louis Meintjes followed behind the favorites and climbs to 14th place in the provisional classification, before the twelfth stage with start in Jaén. The stage of 175 kilometer will be fast and downhill in the beginning towards a first passage on the finish line in Córdoba. From there, a climb of second and of third category need to be covered in the final 65 kilometer. 

Today was a blend of pure joy and suffering. I'm exhausted but happy, to pursue my red dream one day longer. The stage was harder than I expected because of the tailwind and the desire of several teams in the peloton to fight for the stage win. I limited the time loss and I even managed to finish in the top 10, just ahead of my main contender for the GC Guillaume Martin. I kept an eye out for him today, just like for Primoz Roglic. I take this Vuelta day by day and together with the team we're determined to defend the jersey again tomorrow! 


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