Vuelta a Espana

Anton reclaims Vuelta lead

Nicholas Roche performing well, but Philip Deignan unable to finish steep climb stage.

IGOR ANTON REGAINED his lead at the front of the Vuelta a Espana by winning his second stage yesterday.

The Euskaltel Euskadi rider edged Ezequiel Mosquera of Xacobeo Galicia in a steep uphill stage yesterday to reclaim his overall lead. The Spaniard finished the 129.5-mile ride in 5 hours, 25 minutes, 44 seconds.

“It was a little too close,” said Anton to AP. “I wasn’t expecting to win — I was mostly looking to go for the red jersey and to put some distance between myself and the competition.”

Ireland’s Philip Deignan did not finish the stage, and Cervelo team sport director Philippe Mauduit explained that Deignan has been struggling for most of the tour.

“Philip was pretty tired. He’s had a hard season with all his illness and today was too much for him,” Mauduit said. “He just did his best. The other day on the Catí climb, Philip was one of the strongest on the team, so there is nothing to complain about.

Deignan finished in the top ten in last year’s Vuelta, but has been ill all year. One Irish cyclist with a real chance of a top ten finish is Nicholas Roche, sitting eighth overall before today’s twelfth stage.