Vuelta a Espana 2020 : Stage 1 – Roglic still reigns in Spain

Reduced to 18 stages, the 75th Vuelta a Espana kicked off today in the Basque Country and wasted no time in heading for the hills with a summit finish atop Arrate, which features each year in Itzulia (Tour of Basque Country). Defending champion and Jumbo Bee Primoz Roglic finished where he left off 13 months ago in the red leader’s jersey. His rocket-like counter-attack in the final 600 metres from a select leading group saw him solo across the line. Ineos’ Richard Carapaz finished runner-up and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) rounded out the podium.

How the stage was won

Stages in the Basque Country rarely disappoint and today was no exception. It was a feisty, fast and furious day, particularly on the final two climbs after the break had been reeled in. Climbs which whatever the weather would usually be lined with hordes of Basque cycling fans, but not today.

Today’s weather didn’t help. It was wet, windy, and misty at times and autumn has definitely arrived in northern Spain.

Ineos shattered the peloton on the penultimate climb as they drove the pace up for Richard Carapaz, spitting out contenders like cherry stones, including one of their own.

But the stage winner had the last laugh, as teammates Sepp Kuss and George Bennett beautifully set him up to counter Hugh Carthy‘s (EF Pro Cycling) attack a select group in some style on the final climb. He powered across the finish line to once more claim the red race leader’s jersey. (Kuss did such a great job, he is the first man in the KOM jersey for Vuelta 2020)

The winner of this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege and runner-up in the Tour de France did not disappoint either his teammates or his many fans. Just watch this last kilometre!

Post-stage, Roglic said:

It’s nice to win, I’m really happy. The team showed again that they’re all really strong. They worked perfectly through the whole stage and in the end I was able to win so it’s a beautiful start. It was already hard before the final climb, and then we were going full gas. We have crazy guys like Sepp and I’m just happy to win it in the end. It’s a strange season so I’ll just enjoy the leaders jersey starting from tomorrow, and the fact that we’re racing. Hopefully, it’ll be fun to watch at home.

It was Roglic, it really was! [I would agree – great stage! – ed]

Today’s losers

You can’t win a Grand Tour on day one, but you can certainly lose it.

Ineos’ Chris Froome finished 72nd, over 11 minutes down.

Dani Martinez (EF Pro Cycling) came in 4:29 down in 39th while teammate Michael Woods, who hit an un-marshalled bollard and came off his bike just before the summit of the penultimate climb, finished 157th.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) who finished 63rd, almost 10 minutes down on Roglic, said he was riding for team-mate David Gaudu who finished 2:22 down in 35th place.

While Sunweb lost Ilan Van Wilder, Ag2r lost two riders: Mathias Frank and Alexandre Geniez!

Samu said

Final thoughts

Stage 1 results

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) 4:22:34

2 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:01

3 Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) same time

4 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

5 Felix Grosschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

GC Top 10

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4:22:34

2 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:01

3 Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) same time

4 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

5 Felix Grosschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

6 Enric Mas (Movistar) s/t

7 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:04

8 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +0:10

9 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) +0:40

10 Andrea Baglioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:51

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)

Best Young Rider Enric Mas (Movistar)

For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official race website: Vuelta a Espana

Header image: ©GETTY

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