Is it just me or does no one want to keep the red jersey for any amount of time? Stage 8 of Vuelta2019 wasn’t going to be a day for the GC boys, but I don’t think anyone anticipated that there would be a leader by the finish. In the end, the break claimed the day with Sunweb’s Nikias Arndt taking the victory on a wet, chaotic finish in Igualada. The best placed rider in the break was Nicolas Edet and the peloton’s complete lack of interest in controlling the time gap meant the Cofidis rider found himself in the red jersey. He has 2.21 on his fellow breaker Dylan Teuns who also leapt up the GC while Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) is just over 3min down from the top spot.
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With a mega-break of 21 quality riders out in front all day and a peloton behind who seemed just to want to roll in, you know, whenever, the action was always going to be out in front. As the break hit the foot of the Puerto de Montserrat, the rain started, as did the attacks. Trek’s Peter Stetina was first out of the blocks and he quickly got 25sec. With over 30km to race, it was a big ask for him to stay out by himself – he was soon joined by Fernando Barceló (Euskadi-Murias). Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) then kicked off the front of the break, followed by a handful of riders, until there were little pockets of riders all over the slippery descent. All back together at the 5km mark, attacks came fast and furious and with under 2km to go, QuickStep’s Zdenek Stybar, who had been tipped for the win today, took off like.a rocket and got a bit of a gap, but not for long as the attacks came fast and furious in the run to the flamme rouge. And then out of seemingly nowhere, Arndt used Trek’s Ruben Guerreiro as his leadout, took his chance and took his first Vuelta stage win.
Rider of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
My rider of the race today is actually Jesus Herrada. He might not have taken the win – he finished 18th, a minute down from Arndt – but I loved his aggressive ride today. The break was full of strong, smart riders hungry for victory, but Herrada was the one who made the lasting impression on me. I just loved the way he was constantly trying to mix it up, chasing down attacks off the front, always looking for chances to shake the break off his wheel. The final 30km of the break’s race was full of fizz and fireworks and Herrada set a lot of those off.
Funny how teams wax and wane with the grand tours. In July, Cofidis were almost invisible. Seems they’re making up for it in Spain with the Herrarda brothers were keeping Cofidis’s jersey on screen throughout the first week – Jesus winning stage 6 after his brother just missed out on a stage 5 victory. And today, Nicolas Edet is in red. This is a most unexpected Vuelta …
What’s up for tomorrow?
Pain and plenty of it. Andorran stages are always thrilling as there’s not a flat kilometre in the entire country. Add to the five categorised climbs, the fact that the stage itself is less than 100km long. Ooooooooh, it’s going to be a beaut! We can only expect the red jersey to change shoulders again, but to who? It’s one of those make or break stages!
1 Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) 3:50:48
2 Alexander Araburu (Caja Rural) same time
3 Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal) s/t
4 Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha Alpecin) s/t
5 Jonas Koch (CCC) s/t
1 Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) 32:16:24
2 Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) +2:21
3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +3:01
4 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +3:07
5 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:17
6 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +3:28
7 Carl Frederik Hagen (Lotto Soudal) +3:45
8 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +4:59
9 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +5:37
10 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +5:53
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)
Points jersey: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH)
Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Header image: GETTY/Velo/Justin Setterfield