Cracking finale yesterday at the Vuelta, which is finally back in Spain and finally came to life. I know that it’s great to see these Grand Tours start in another country but when they end up being mass sprints to finish, well it’s a bit dull, no?
The Basque Country though did not disappoint and featured those nasty little hills that we all love to see (tho perhaps not to ride). Remco looked pretty good, Hindley finished in the 10, Geoghan Hart was 11th, Mas rode well for 3rd and dark horse Sepp Kuss lost no time in 11th. Carapaz did however, as did Yates, but only 7 seconds. However, I don’t see either winning this race overall and it won’t be a bonus for the confidence to be gapped.
Pedersen, great finish for 2nd, and Alaphilippe loses time after being sprightly earlier on, is that really helpful to Remco? JA wants to win some stages, it’s not been a great year for him, but Remco wants to be podium at the very least. That’ll be an interesting watch, to see how those two combine.
Let’s catch up with the rider reactions for the stage:
“I know I can do finales like this, and it’s tough in a quality peloton like this one, but if you never try, you never win. Today we tried, and we finished second, and again we got some points in the green jersey, so I think we are pretty happy with today’s result.”
“It’s mission accomplished. A one kilometre uphill finish is a very intensive effort, the kind I haven’t done in training in a while. I knew I had to be in the front because gaps were possible and I’m glad I didn’t lose any time, that’s the most important thing”,
“The first day in Spain was hot and fast. Jonas and Ryan set a solid pace to control the breakaway so we could fight for the bonus sprint for Sam. After that, we focused on the final uphill sprint. Unfortunately, Sergio was not at his best today, and normally such a finale would have suited him very well. On the finishing straight, I tried to help Wilco as much as possible and in the end we were both in the top 10.”
JENS ZEMKE / SD BORA-HANSGROHE
“Our plan was to take points for Sam at the intermediate sprint. Unfortunately we were a few meters short of being able to fight for full points. Nevertheless, Sam still scored points that might end up being important in the final standings. Then our second goal was to bring our three GC riders safely to the finish. We can definitely be satisfied with ninth and tenth place, especially since there was a small gap behind Jai and Wilco. We’ll continue to stay in the green jersey tomorrow, so that went according to plan, and we’ll keep looking for more opportunities to defend the jersey.”