If you like your mountain top finishes served with balls-to-the-wall attacking by the GC contenders, then Stage 8 of this spicy La Vuelta is right up your street! With riders all over the slope, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) made his final attack stick and rode away from Richard Carapaz (INEOS-Grenadiers) to take the stage and enough seconds to leap back to second place on GC. Dan Martin (Israel Start Up) rounded out the podium.
Wow, I got to hand it to the Vuelta race directors, the new climb of the Alto de Moncalvillo was a corker. Look at that spiciness.
And comes complete with circling vultures to pick off the unwary contender.
The incline bit and hopefuls flew off the front as fast as riders were dispatched out the back. It was attacks a-go-go, dig after dig until you can’t go any longer. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking the Vuelta may not have many stages left to go.
EF Pro cycling double-tag attack by Michael Woods and Hugh Carthy.
Woods whittled the group to nine riders. Carthy and Baby Daisy Sepp Kuss fly off the front at 3.5km to go.
They were brought back with 2.5km to go by Carapaz, Roglič, Poels and Movistarlet Enric Mas. Then >BAM<! Away went the red jersey with the green right on his wheel.
Honest to Betsy, they knocked lumps out of each other and it was GREAT!
Slowly but surely Carthy, Martin and Astana’s Aleksandr Vlasov got back up to Roglic and Carapaz. Under the flamme rouge and the gradient flattened a teensy bit, enough to tempt Vlasov to leap away and take his chance. For a moment, the group behind looked like they might let him.
But just as turquoise hearts were filling with hope…
Roglic hunted the Russian down, eased past him and rode away with the supreme confidence of the reigning Vuelta champion, not the man who lost yellow on the penultimate day of the Tour de France. Second stage win, jumped back on the podium and is now only 13secs from swapping verde for rojo.
He made it look easy.
I love this head on clip, it reminds me of the finishing shots at La Planches des belles filles – the riders just floating into view against the sky.
Ah Movistar, please never change
It wasn’t only Roglic that looked back in 2019 Vuelta form. Movistar were also recreating their best moves from last year’s race too.
Movistar barrelled into the bottom of the climb, after driving the peloton into a desperately long thin line for kilometres in their desire to catch the break of the day. They succeeded, though I’m pretty sure there were dark glares sent their way from the break and the peloton.
But what was the plan? Would they set up Valverde or Mas or both? Well, Valverde attacked and Mas finished 7th but both were dropped and lost time on GC.
Nothing Twitter fans of Movistar tactics love more than this conundrum …
In truth, if you don’t have the legs, you don’t have them. The end result is not as bad as you might expect. They still have three riders in the top 10 and are well on their way to their first GT team podium of 2020. [Because that’s the prize they really want! – ed]
There was the sound of gentle weeping from some rooms in VeloVoices Towers this morning. [We would call it ‘uncontrollable sobbing’ interpersed with shouts of ‘Why, God! WHY!’ – ed]
We wish them all a speedy recovery and a relaxing off-season.
Guillaume Martin in the blue polkas looks fine. I will brook no argument about this.
I wonder if we will get full blue polka pox after the Angrilu on Sunday. Allez Cofidis!
Stage 8 results
1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4:07:08
2 Richard Carapaz (INEOS-Grenadiers) +0:13
3 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up) +0:19
4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +0:25
5 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:33
GC Top 10
1 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) 32:31:06
2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) +0:18
3 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up) +0:28
4 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:44
5 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:54
6 Felix Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +3:28
7 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) same time
8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:35
9 Marc Soler (Movistar)+3:40
10 Wout Poels Bahrain-McLaren) +3:47
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
Header: ©GETTY/Velo/Justin Setterfield