Stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana was a feisty affair with a break that wouldn’t lie down and the ending in doubt until the winner crossed the line. In the end, Michael Woods of EF was the strongest (or smartest) of those that bought their ticket for the front group. The Canadian took his second career Vuelta stage win after attacking just before the flamme rouge. Omar Fraile of Astana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar rounded out the podium. Behind all the breakaway action, there was little change in the GC top ten.
How did it all go down?
I have no idea what the plan was today. The route always suggested a chance for the breakaway so I expected some big names in there. What I didn’t expect was some of the actual names in there – George Bennett and Sepp Kuss of Jumbo turned up to the party…. didn’t they have an ex-ski jumper to look after? Likewise, Michael Woods, shouldn’t he be at Hugh Carthy’s side?
The breakaway never settled, with numerous riders going off the front only to be brought back and the peloton kept them on a tightish leash throughout. Nerves were a-fraying and opportunity came a-knocking.
There was one other name in the break. And boy was he active!
Ol’ Man Alejandro™ was named most combative rider as if there was any doubt.
Out of the woods
On the final climb, Wood and Valverde went clear with Omar Fraile of Astana, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Nans Peters (AG2R).
Woods is obviously a keen student of the Ol’ Man™ philosophy and did minimal work in the last 10kms. The EF-er launched his attack with just over a kilometre to go and got the gap he needed, despite the best efforts of fast-following Fraile.
To quote Kathi of this parish, Woods did a Hirschi, winning this stage having been in the break on the previous stage. It was a popular win…
Here’s a stat…
After the stage Woods put the day into perspective:
“I wasn’t supposed to be in the break, I was supposed to be with Hugh. The race got so crazy … that I had to go across to make sure we had numbers in it. It paid off. I felt bad I couldn’t pull but we had Hugh back in the peloton”
Dots for the ‘Dis
Special mention to Guillaume Martin of my beloved Cofidis. Three times in the break but never quite there to contest the win. He did get a nice new jersey as a consolation though.
This tweet struck a chord with me. As the grand tours come thick and fast this year, it’s been so easy to see the differences in character and look of each race.
Stage 7 results
1 Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) 3:48:16
2 Omar Fraile (Astana) +0:04
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) same time
4 Nans Peters (AG2R) +0:08
5 Poor Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) same time
GC Top 10
1 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) 28:23:51
2 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:18
3 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up) +0:20
4 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) +0:30
5 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:07
6 Felix Grossschartner (Bora – hansgrohe) +1:30
7 Marc Soler (Movistar) +1:42
8 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +2:02
9 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +2:03
10 George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) +2:39
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers)
Points jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
King of the Mountains Guillaume Martin (Cofidis)
Best Young Rider Enric Mas (Movistar)
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Official race website: Vuelta a Espana
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