Stage 13: Bilbao to Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega, 166.4km
Pogačar doubles up on Alto de Los Machucos
Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega, Friday, September 6th 2019 – Slovenians went one-two on Stage 13 when 20 year old prodigy Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) took his second stage win of La Vuelta 19 atop the infamous Alto de Los Machucos beating compatriot Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow him all the way to the summit.
The pair were nearly half a minute ahead of a quartet of chasers, comprising Valverde, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rafał Majka (BORA – hansgrohe) and Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) who took the third spot.
Roglič result saw him extend his lead on GC lead with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) now trailing by 2’25”. Pogačar slipped past Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) to take a potential podium spot. He also took white jersey as the best young rider by 17” ahead of López ..
Deceuninck-Quickstep’s Philipe Gilbert took a sixth la Vuelta victory and the tenth Grand Tour Stage of his career after he held off Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and Fernando Barceló (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias) in the final kilometres to make it a solo win.
“There was a lot of headwind in the first part of the stage, but that
didn’t stop us, and we attacked and joined many moves, but the bunch
reacted each time. It was pretty chaotic, but we kept attacking and at
one point, I went full gas on a descent. Tim came across, some other
guys joined us, and together we opened a small gap which we kept
increasing. Tim was so important, he did a brilliant job, especially
before the last ascent, where he closed the gap on the two leaders, and
I’m grateful to him for his help. From there, all I had to do was race
smart and stick to my plan, which I did and now I’m satisfied it all
paid off”, said the fourth Belgian rider in history to win a La Vuelta
stage in at least four different years
Stage 11: Saint-Palais to Urdax-Dantxarinea, 180km
Itturia basks in glory with solo stage win
Urdax-Dantxarinea, Wednesday, September 4th 2019 – Mikel Iturria (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias) gave the local fans everything to cheer about as he took his first professional win with a brilliant ride to Urdax on stage 11 of La Vuelta 19.
Just a few kilometres away from his home, the Basque rider featured in the 14-man breakaway that animated the day. He soloed away from his companions in the last 25 kilometres and a massive effort saw him hold on to a 6” lead on the line.
The result didn’t affect the top of the GC with Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) arriving safely in the main bunch, 18’35” behind the winner, to retain La Roja on the eve of a tricky stage to Bilbao.
Pau, Tuesday, September 3rd 2019 – Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) delivered a performance that overwhelmed his opponents in the individual time-trial from Jurançon to Pau (36.2km) to claim both the stage win and the leader’s red jersey after 10 days of racing at La Vuelta 19.
The Slovenian took the 36.2km hilly ITT in 47:05 and opened significant gaps over his rivals. Second spot went to Kiwi Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) at 25″ with Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick Step) in third.
The only member of the top 10 on GC to put in a convincing performance was Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) who placed ninth a full 1’27” down. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) moved into second on GC, but after finishng 13th on the stage trails Roglic by 1’52”. Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) retained his third spot despite finsing 14th, 2′ down however it was Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), who was leading the race before this time-trial, that suffered the most sliding to fourth on GC, a mammoth 3’ down.
Roglič is only the second Slovenian rider to wear La Roja in La Vuelta history. The first was Janez Brajkovič who took red after Astana won the Stage 1 TTT in 2013.
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.”
Jakobsen bests Bennett on Stage 4, Roche retains race lead ahead of first mountain stage.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) claimed an early birthday present with his first Grand Tour stage win in El Puig, four days before turning 23 years old. The Irish champ Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) came close but a few millimetres prevented him from taking a second victory in two days and Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) came third on the line. Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) made it safely to the finish to retain La Roja while Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) abandoned on the eve of the first mountain stage of La Vuelta 19.
Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) has led for two days at La Vuelta. The Irishman took over the race lead from Astana’s Miguel Ángel López and holds a slim lead of two seconds over Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), with Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) third at eight seconds.
The lead betters 35 year old Roche’s lone stage win back in 2013 on Stage 2 (Pontevedra to Baiona. Alto Do Monte Da Groba, 177.7km).
Stage 1 (Team Time Trial) Salinas de Torrevieja to Torrevieja, 13.4km
Stage 7 : Sint-Pieters-Leeuw to Geraardsbergen 173.1km
Laurens De Plus takes the win at the Binck Bank Tour
Laurens De Plus gave Team Jumbo-Visma it’s 41st win of the season when he finished four seconds behind the winner of the final stage compatriot Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) on a stage that saw the peloton totally fragmented. The result saw De Plus finish with a 35 seconds gap to Naesen on GC. Leader for the previous three stages Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) stumbled but salvaged third spot one second behind Naesen. Fourth spot went to Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) giving the Belgians the top four spots.
How it happened
The race didn’t start to take shape until 60 km into the stage when a group of eight went clear. On the Valkenberg another seven riders broke free from the peloton and bridged the gap.
The race faced three ascents of the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg, and on the final pass While Stybar and Vanmarcke attacked, it was Oliver Naesen who pulled out the definitive advantage over the favorites taking De Plus and Van Avermaet with him. De Plus in the process managed to grab valuable bonus seconds at the Golden Kilometre taking him to five seconds behind Wellens.
The trio worked hard and pulled out 45 seconds over the chasers who seemed to accept their fate much to Wellens despair who could see his lead disappear.
Van Avermaet launched a final attack on the climb to the line but Naesen sensing a massive opportunity kept the wheel and passed the Olympic Champion.
“It’s the first time I managed to beat Greg in a finish like that,” Naesen said after the finish. “I’m really proud of that. It’s a big relief. I hadn’t managed to win yet this season and that’s painful for a rider like me.
“I had a team-mate pulling at the front of the peloton to keep the gap with the breakaway small. On the last lap I went full on the Muur and Bosberg. Greg, Laurens and I are friends. We didn’t talk about anything in advance, but if you can take ten seconds with three guys on a reduced peloton you know you’re the strongest.”
For de Plus the bonus time proved truly golden as a finished four seconds behind his breakaway companions but 37″ ahead of Wellens to grab the overall.