The profile for Vuelta’s Stage 10 promised a sprint finish and Quick-Step Floors delivered Elia Viviani right on the money to secure his second win at this Vuelta. Second place for Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) ensured enough bonus seconds to snatch the points jersey from Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) – is there anyone who is not enjoying this rivalry? Despite a flurry of punctures – including race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in the last 20kms – the top ten on GC remains unchanged.
In celebration of the Quickstepper sprint train
The stage might not have given us any ‘day after rest day’ madness, but I’m certainly going to provide it by playing fast and loose with the daily VeloVoices award. In fact, I’m cancelling it, ordering extra Cava and calling the Quick-Step sprint train up to the podium. We know how good they are – let’s face it, the Belgian team have demonstrated time after time how to deliver a sprinter so that he can give his best in the hectic finale.
Disappointed on Stage 6 when the train unhitched at the final roundabout, today they delivered an absolute masterclass that deserves all the plaudits. Why? They used all their experience, rode when they needed to but were savvy enough to hold some in reserve for the finish. Here’s three points I picked up from the run to the line.
First. They did not panic when BORA-hansgrohe piled on the pressure on the sole categorised climb of the day. They used up a couple of the team to keep Viviani safe and just let the German team ride at the front.
Second. BORA-hansgrohe’s Lukas Pöstlberger nearly spoiled all the sprinters’ plans with his attack at the flamme rouge. The Quicksteppers were crafty enough to let Cofidis take up the chase before Michael Morkov lit it up with 750m to go to snuff the move out.
Third. The sheer precision of Fabio Sabatini’s seven-second burst of raw power before unleashing Viviani for his own seven seconds of victorious sprint. I can’t explain how much this matching pair of timed maximum power bursts pleases me – it’s exquisite and so, SO hard to hit with precision. It must be a great feeling as a poisson-pilote to raise your arm in the air before your sprinter crosses the line. I’ll leave the last word to a jubilant Italian National Champion:
I think it’s one of the most perfect lead-outs we did this year. The guys did a really proper good job. It’s my 17th win this year, and this win is for all the guys who do the lead-out and today they were amazing.
Food for thought…
I do so love this from Trek-Segafredo’s Kiel Reijnen
1 Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) 4:08:08
2 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) same time
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) s/t
4 Nelson Andres Soto (Caja-Rural) s/t
5 Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ) s/t
1 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 41:03:00
2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:01
3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:14
4 Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:16
5 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:17
6 Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) +0:24
7 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:27
8 Rigoberto Uran (EF-Drapac) +0:32
9 Steven Kruiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +0:43
10 George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) +0:48
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
Points jersey: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
Climber’s jersey: Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
Combined jersey: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Team classification: LottoNL-Jumbo
Header: ©GETTY/Velo/Michael Steele