Stage 9: Andorra la Vella to Cortals d’Encamp, 94.4km
Young gun Pogačar rides the storm to take solo win, Quintana takes Red
Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) bests both mountains and weather to take a first Grand Tour stage with a solo win in Cortals d’Encamp. A second place gives Nairo Quintana the race lead for the first time since 2016.
Cortals d’Encamp, Sunday, September 1st 2019 – The 20 year-old Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) claimed a spectacular stage win in Cortals d’Encamp after a short fast but action-packed day of racing.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) finished second to claim La Roja, 6” ahead of Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma). The Colombian climber leads La Vuelta for the first time since his overall victory in 2016.
The early action on a stage comprising five categorised climbs, featured a substantial breakaway by some 30 riders. A feature rider was Team Ineos’ Tao Geoghegan Hart who attacked form the outset and then did sporadically during the stage right up to the final climb to Cortals d’Encamp. He was overhauled by the main contenders, including Marc Soler (Movistar) Ben O’Connor (TDD), Geoffroy Bouchard (ALM) and Pogačar.
The terrain was already pushing the limits of the riders but a thunderstorm on a section of gravel road brought rain and hail made the race even more brutal, leading to crashes for Lopez and Primoz Roglic (TJV).
The stage and race lead were up for grabs after overnight leader Nicolas Edet (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) destined to lose over six minutes after being dropped at the halfway mark, and it Soler who was striking out for a stage win. An attack by Quintana saw team ambitions take over and Soler was forced to stop three kilometres from the summit pull for the Columbian and sacrifice his chance at stage glory.
Pogačar had no such conflict and reiterating the statements he had made with wins at the 2018 Tour de L’Avenir and 2019 Tour of California he struck out to win by a full 23″ over Quintana with Roglič third at 48″.
Nairo Quintana was sanguine over the chances of retaining his newly won jersey: “A very tough stage, where we always tried to ride on the attack to gain an edge on Roglic. I’m really thankful about what Marc Soler did there in the finish, as well as with all other team-mates. We always said we would be going day-by-day, seeing what Alejandro and I could do, supporting whoever is doing best, and the team has been protecting us both so far and we’ve been working together to take this jersey. There’s still a long way to go in this Vuelta. Roglic still has an advantage, considering the TT on Tuesday. We would have to make a big, big effort in the time trial not to lose the jersey, which is what will probably happen, but once we’re over it and together with the team, we will keep making efforts to take the jersey back and hopefully keep it until the end.”
Stage 9 Video Summary (Courtesy La Vuelta)
Stage 9 Results and GC