An announced tough climbing weekend started today with a long build-up and ended with a finish at the Sierra de la Pandera.
Lots of interest in a flight of the day, but it was a long wait for a successful attempt. Nibali, Vine, De Gendt and Bakelants all tried it.
Only after 80 kilometers did a group finally get away, including Richard Carapaz.
The group held out for a long time, but as the climbing increased, almost all riders had to release. Carapaz, Conca, Champoussin and Leon Sanchez were the best survivors.
On the final climb, Carapaz disbanded his demons and showed that he was the best climber of the group. The Olympic champion stayed ahead of everything and everyone and captured his second victory in this Vuelta.
In the peloton, Jumbo-Visma took control of Quick-Step Alpha-Vinyl after long hard work. Was Roglic up to something?
Yes, of course. With 4 kilometers to go, the Slovenian opened the debates with an acceleration. No one could respond. Evenepoel remained seated and looked at his meter.
The Slovenian drove away from Evenepoel more and more and Mas, Rodriguez, Lopez and Almeida also left the Belgian behind.
Roglic and Lopez steamed on to the lone survivor Carapaz, but the Olympic champion held out. Lopez and Roglic crossed the line 8 seconds later.
Not much later, Mas and Rodriguez also crossed the finish line. In the end it was a 48 second wait for Evenepoel after Roglic arrived.
The Belgian crossed the finish line together with unlucky Ayuso (flat tyre). All in all, the damage was limited. In the standings, Roglic now finishes at 1’49”, Mas at 2’43”.
“Everything was a matter of timing,” said Carapaz. “It was a long final, which was difficult and erratic. Finding and maintaining the right rhythm turned out to be of crucial importance. The bonus of 4 minutes also turned out well. Afterwards I just had to choose the right moment.”
The Ecuadorian already has two stage wins to his name, but clearly has even more ambition. So he sees the very tough queen stage of tomorrow. “We’re going to try it tomorrow. It’s an environment I know well,” he lifted a corner of the veil.