It’s the weekend and the start of a double header of pain. Today’s stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, in beautifully scenic Asturias, took in four Cat. 1 climbs and finished with breakmates David Gaudu (FDJ) and Marc Soler (Movistar) going mano-a-mano in the last 5km, with the former easily getting the upper hand in the final 125 metres. Gaudu soloed across the line to take his maiden Grand Tour victory while runner-up Soler catapulted up the GC standings from 10th to sixth. Another break-mate, Michael Storer (Sunweb) rounded out the podium. That aside, the top ten on general classification remained generally unchanged.
A pleasant ride in the sunshine with panoramic shots of sandy Cantabrian seashores, sweeping cliffs and verdant countryside, finished with a 2km climb. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), scenting bonus seconds going begging, his third stage victory and quite possibly the red leader’s jersey, attacked the leading bunch to solo across the line just ahead of the other GC contenders. Felix Grossschartner (BORA) and Andrea Bagioli (QuickStep) finished respectively second and third on the stage. Crucially for Roglic, his 10 bonus seconds and three-second advantage put him on the same time as former race leader Richard Carapaz (INEOS) who, on count back, now sits in second spot. That aside, the top ten on general classification remained unchanged.
On what had been an otherwise excruciatingly uneventful Stage 8 turned chaotic and controversial nearly 30 minutes after riders crossed the finish line as the race jury awarded Bora’s Pascal Ackermann the stage victory. On the road, Sam Bennett had claimed his 50th career victory and Deceuninck-Quickstep’s 100th grand tour stage, outfoxing the likes of Ackermann and Gerben Thijssen (Lotto Soudal). Upon discussion, the race jury relegated Bennett for argy-bargy behaviour towards a Trek-Segafredo rider inside the final kilometre. The top ten on general classification remained unchanged.