Vuelta a Espana 2020: Stage 15 – Philipsen Prevails in Treacherous Conditions

Stage 15 marked the longest stage of the 2020 Vuelta, fittingly during the longest week for us Americans, at a gruesome 231 kilometres. If the pure distance was not horrendous enough to send a shiver down your spine, then perhaps the weather conditions will be. Battling an aggressive headwind, dense fog, and eventual rain for the duration of the stage, Jasper Philipsen (UAE) prevailed in Puebla de Sanabria. The general classification remained unchanged after race organisers opted to neutralise the final 3 kilometres due to worsening weather conditions.

The Final KM

After more than 200 kilometres of racing and a reduced group arriving at the finish line, it should be of little surprise that the sprint finish was like watching someone trying to stir melted chocolate after they spilled water into it. It still an unusual bunch sprint, though.

The excitement at the line for Philipsen – you can’t help but spare a smile and be happy for a rider who shows so much love and passion for their victories

And he’s a Hagens Berman Axeon alum, too! Marvellous!!

Missed The Break, Did Ya?

With the final days of this season quickly ticking away, it is no wonder why a few teams — *cough* TREK *cough* — are on the hunt for an elusive late-season win. It is a wonder, however, why these teams seem unable to make a breakaway.

Bora also missed the break, but unlike others, they have sprint power at this race in the form of Pascal Ackermann. It wasn’t his day today, but he did pull off a second place.

Speaking of that pesky break. . .

The breakaway that did eventually go up the road was packed with heavy hitters like yesterday’s stage winner Tim Wellens, King of the Mountains man Guillaume Martin, amongst others. With their gap rarely north of 3 minutes inside the final 60 kilometres, their fate looked set to be one of doom. Until Mattia Cattaneo skedaddled off the front of the group!

For a few moments, it looked as if this Quickstepper might pull off the unthinkable. His gap over the peloton crept up to nearly 2 minutes in the final 20 kilometres, giving even the ever pessimistic Sean Kelly hope.

NTT’s Gino Mader was even allowed to get off the front of the peloton for some time, giving us perhaps the best image of the Vuelta thus far. Riding into the abyss, eh?

Unfortunately for both, however, Bora chose to pick things up at the front of the peloton and the gaps to both Mader and Cattaneo quickly tumbled.

Harrowing Conditions

Wind. Rain. Fog. I’ll take my warm cup of cocoa now, please and thank you! [We also have fluffy towels and heat lamps – ed]

NY Velocity really does have a point here. I mean. . . just look at Roglic’s various costume choices over the past two weeks. These colour patterns will feature in EF’s next kit, surely.

Final thoughts

Stage 15 Results

1 Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) 6:22:36

2 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time

3 Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck-Quickstep) s/t

4 Fred Wright (Bahrain McLaren) s/t

5 Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

GC Top Ten

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) 60:19:41

2 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:39

3 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling)  +0:47

4 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up) +1:42

5 Enric Mas (Movistar) + 3:23

6 Wout Poels (Bahrain McLaren) +6:15

7 Felix Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +7:14

8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +8:39

9 Alexandr Vlasov (Astana) +8:48

10 David de la Cruz (UAE-Team Emirates) +9:23

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains Guillaume Martin (Cofidis)

Best Young Rider Enric Mas (Movistar)

For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official race website: Vuelta a Espana

Header: ©GETTY/Velo/ David Ramos

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