Lotto Soudal’s Tomasz Marczynski is on fire. The Polish debutant jumped away from his remaining breakaway companions on the final climb, and soloed in to add stage 12 to the stage 6 victory he claimed last week. Has anyone checked the profile for stage 18? Tomasz is on a ‘six’ roll! Behind him, what looked odds on to be a comfortable day for the GC riders as the break played for the win, suddenly lit up as Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) – who else?- also attacked on the final climb. Sky looked like they had things under control until Chris Froome crashed twice on the descent causing him to lose contact with the GC favourites who couldn’t quite decide if they should wait or chase a rampant Contador. At the end of the day Froome lost time on a hat-full of rivals. He holds onto his red Jersey but his advantage over Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) dips below a minute. Contador claws back 42secs and now lies one minute off the podium.
Rider of the Race
I had a short list of four names all of whom demonstrated the panache required to be nominated for this award. One of the great joys of the Vuelta are riders that shine for the first time and Tomasz is no less deserving today than he was was on stage six. Fellow breakaway rider Brendan Canty (Cannondale-Drapac deserves a shout out, not for somersaulting over the barrier on that sketchy last descent (thank goodness he’s OK) but for the fact he got back on to finish 6th. Of course Contador’s never-say-die raid is worthy of nomination. However, as thrilling as that was I always expect something special from Baby Blackbird so my award goes to his teammate Edward Theuns.
The Belgian fought hard to make the break and stuck to his task only becoming detached when Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) upped the pace on the climbs. However,
when his team leader launched his attack with 30km to go Edward was ready and waiting. Contador bridged and Theuns whirred his aching legs into action to keep the move away. The images of two Trek riders gritting their teeth and giving it beans got everyone cheering on twitter and he certainly deserves extra cake tonight. Team report here
When Baby Blackbird attacks.
He does so with a wink to an ex-teammate… I just LOVE this
It wasn’t all spicy action.
We were treated to one of those enthralling stages where the race action has us glued to our seats. Unfortunately, there were also some some less savoury incidents which leave me wondering what on earth is happening in our sport.
First, Aqua Blue Sport wake up to the awful news that someone set fire to their team bus in an arson attack.
Currently the team are managing in a coach, but it’s far from an ideal base for tired riders and staff. Professional cycling is a tight knit family and Aqua Blue received many offers of help from fellow teams.
During the race there was an incident with an idiotic roadside fan appearing to dive in front of motorbikes causing them to crash.
Which from another angle turns out to be the result of action by an overly zealous Guardia Civil.
Unbelievably there was was also this report from Katusha’s Maxim Belkov
Video footage was indeed found
Top 5 stage
1 Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) 3:56:45
2 Omar Fraile (Dimension data) +0:52
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) same time
4 Pawel Poljanski (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t
5 Stef Clement (LottoNL-Jumbo) s/t
Top 5 GC
1 Chris Froome (Sky) 49:22:53
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:59
3 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +2.13
4 Davide de la Cruz (Quick-Step) +2.16
5 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +2.17
All the jerseys
Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)
Points: Matteo Trentin
KOM: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)
Combined: Chris Froome (Sky)
Team Classification: Movistar
Most Aggressive Rider: Omar Fraile (Dimension-Data)
For race reviews, go to CyclingNews; official La Vuelta website is here
Header image: Tomasz Marczynski © Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images
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