The Vuelta’s first mountain top finish was very much a “wait and see” stage. Wait and see if the breakaway will reach the base of the final climb to contest the stage. Wait and see which GC contenders would perform. Wait and see who would win the stage, and what the new general classification would look like.
After plenty of waiting, we saw an impenetrable team performance by Burgos-BH in the breakaway that led to King of the Mountains jersey holder Ángel Madrazo winning the stage. Madrazo’s teammate, Jetse Bol, secured second while Jose Herrada (Cofidis) succumbed to 3rd after doing the majority of the pace setting. In the peloton behind, it was Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) who stormed away from the likes of Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) to reclaim the leader’s jersey as Sunweb’s Nico Roche suffered behind.
Another maiden Grand Tour victory, this time in purple, red and sky blue polkas!
It’s a dream come true. We have suffered throughout the season, the team deserved it. I could not follow the rhythm of Herrada, I had to go slower not to wear myself out. I wanted to help Jetse, who waited for me. In the sprint I am fast. The team had told me to save myself for tomorrow, but when I caught them I saw that they were weak and I attacked. Ángel Madrazo
Rider of the Race
I have spent a sizable chunk of time debating who should be awarded Rider of the Race. It has to go to one of the breakaway victors. To be blunt, I am not a fan of the tactics Burgos-BH employed on the slopes of the final climb. Herrada was left to ride on the front while Madrazo yo-yoed back and forth between attacking and being distanced. Bol should have offered to pull, regardless of what was happening with Madrazo.
On the other hand, it was brilliant teamwork by Burgos. Whether or not Madrazo was playing mind games or truly in the pain cave, he stayed close enough to the other two to give Bol an excuse not to work. When he regained contact – multiple times – he attacked, forcing Herrada to expend more energy. As the weaker riders, Madrazo and Bol employed astute, albeit unfavorable, tactics to win the stage. For that, Ángel Madrazo ought to be awarded Rider of the Race. Not to mention that his performance in the final kilometer was astounding! [Not to mention almost getting knocked off his bike by his own team car -Ed]
The Battle for Red
Whilst the breakaway trio fought for stage honors, the peloton behind heated up for what would be the first true general classification shake up. Similar to Stage 2, it was EF-Too-Many-Words’ Hugh Carthy who kicked off accelerations in the favorites group. Unfortunately for the team, Carthy’s efforts were all for not as Rigoberto Uran soon thereafter succumbed to the pace of the peloton.
After Carthy’s accelerations, however, things got interesting thanks to Movistar, as they so often do. Fan-favorite Alejandro Valverde launched a blistering attack that pulled the cream of the crop to the fore. Suddenly, it was a race between Valverde, Nairo Quintana, Roglic, and Lopez. Unfortunately for Movistar, Valverde continued his accelerations and eventually dropped Quintana from the group. Whoops!
Much like the whole cycling world for the past three years, Miguel Angel Lopez quickly grew tired of Movistar’s shenanigans and chose to go for glory on his own. With that, Lopez again stomped his authority on the race. When the clock stopped at the end of the day, the young Colombian had stolen enough time from his rivals to regain the race lead as the peloton approaches the end of week 1.
1 Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) 4:58:31
2 Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) +0:10
3 Jose Herrada (Cofidis) +0:22
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:47
5 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:59
1 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) 18:55:21
2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:14
3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:23
4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:28
5 Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) +0:57
6 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +0:59
7 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:17
8 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:18
9 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:49
10 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +1:50
All the Jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Points jersey: Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH)
Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Team classification: Movistar Team
Header image: © JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images