Cycling

Tour of Spain 2013 Results: Surprise Title Contenders at Halfway Stage

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26:  Chris Horner riding for Radioshack-Nissan competes in the individual time trial during stage seven of the USA Pro Challenge on August 26, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2013

With the first 10 stages of the competition nearing their completion, we now have a generally good idea of just who will and won’t be vying for Vuelta a Espana honours in just under a fortnight’s time.

While there are some favourites still among the reckoning, this year’s Tour of Spain has once again offered up a sample of shock underdogs competing for the end-of-Tour silverware.

Although there’s still a steep challenge ahead of the field, some of those in the top places have the ability to maintain their early push for the lead.

All standings and Tour information can be found via the event’s official website.

 

Nicolas Roche

One of the main threats to Vincenzo Nibali’s attempts at Spanish glory, Nicolas Roche moved into an early lead, performing really well over the more mountainous terrain.

Stage 2 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana marked the first stage win of the Irishman’s Grand Tour career, but it’s been impressive that Roche hasn’t fallen away altogether in the phases since.

The Saxo-Tinkoff rider headed into Stage 10 just a second behind overall leader, Daniel Moreno, but has a tough task up ahead if he’s to keep up with the pace of a much more star-studded cast.

 

Chris Horner

Despite being one of America’s most well-known faces in cycling, Chris Horner has tailed off in the last two years of what’s been a long and illustrious career.

However, the Oregon native is now back in the running two years after winning his last major title.

At the age of 41, there won’t have been many expecting great things from Horner leading into this year’s Tour of Spain, but some impressive finishes, including a win on the flatter Stage 3, have put him back into contention to add to his trophy cabinet.

 

Leopold Konig

At the other end of the age spectrum lies Leopold Konig, just 25 years of age but having already won his first Vuelta a Espana stage, pipping leader Daniel Morena to the victory on Stage 8.

Coming into Stage 10, the Czech Netapp-Endura rider was positioned in seventh and almost 15 seconds off the leading pace, but he has stood out among one of the less talented teams and might be set to flourish individually.

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