Another stage at La Vuelta, another frantic finale and another French rider on the top step of the podium. Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale) picked the perfect moment to attack in the closing kilometres, holding the chasing pack at bay to solo over the line in jubilation. BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan popped up to grab second from the teeth of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). A spate of crashes and mechanicals on the narrow, twisty, rough roads to Pozo Alcón left Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, amongst others, on the tarmac. The Polish national champion chased hard but had to concede forty seconds, slipping from second to sixth on GC and losing the points jersey to Valverde.
Rider of the Race
The award today will be shared by two riders who have both overcome adversity in their own way. First, a round of applause for today’s victor Tony Gallopin.
The Frenchman’s move from Lotto Soudal to AG2R La Mondiale this season surprised many fans, and it’s fair to say he has been plagued with ill luck, illness and injury. After his withdrawal from the Tour de France he’s finally been able to train and race the way we all know he can. The sublime timing of his attack to bridge across to Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) caught his rivals on the hop and, once he dispatched the Spaniard, he was always going to keep his advantage.
We knew the final was hectic a little bit, so we had a plan that first we try to go in a breakaway, then at the end, the team put me in a really good position and I fight with the best. Then when we came on the last straight road, I had a plan that if I have a possibility I try to attack. I found a good moment – and I’m so happy.
It’s a dream for the riders to win in a big tour. After this year, with so much bad luck, so many times I crashed and I was sick, so after I stopped in the Tour, we had the plan that I go to the Vuelta and now I won, so I think the plan was good.
Monsieur Gallopin shares the VeloVoices podium with Michael ‘Rusty’ Woods (EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale).
But for a bad crash at the recent Tour of Utah, the pink clad Canadian who thrives on vicious Vuelta climbs should have been riding for GC. Today he made the seven-man break of the day, crashed, changed bikes twice, rejoined the breakaway with immodestly ripped bib shorts and a whole lot of strapping on his leg, and then proceeded to attack on the final climb of the day. I LOVE his positive thoughts on the matter.
A road too far?
The minute the peloton swung right off the smooth, wide tarmac onto a much narrower road, you just knew the racing was about to get more interesting and much more risky. Now, we’re not talking the Colle della Finestre, but the last 20km were narrow, twisty and uncompromisingly rough, especially at speed on the descents.
An ill timed puncture or a crash here could see time lost and unfortunately that’s exactly what happened as seemingly every kilometre was marked with a report of some calamity.
If this article from VeloNews is anything to go by, the weary riders were not amused.
Pic of the day
Rudy Molard and Luis Angel Mate – a riot in red white and blueEmbed from Getty Images
1 Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale) 4:18:20
2 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:05
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) same time
4 Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias) s/t
5 Omar Fraile (Astana) s/t
1 Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) 26:44:40
2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:47
3 Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:48
4 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:51
5 Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) +0:59
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) +1:06
7 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +1:11
8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +1:14
9 Steven Kruiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:18
10 Enric Mas (Quick Step Floors) +1:23
All the jerseysEmbed from Getty Images
Leader’s jersey: Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)
Points jersey: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Climber’s jersey: Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
Combined jersey: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Team classification: Astana
Official Vuelta website is here; Full stage review from cyclingnews
Header: © Tim de Waele/Getty Images
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