Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 7 – Storer slugs out the stage win; Roglic keeps red

Yesterday’s Stage 6 thrilling finish was hoped to be an amuse bouche for the weekend in the mountains at this year’s Vuelta a Espana. And while today’s six-climb, summit finish stage 7 didn’t have the explosive GC battle that many of us had hoped, it did have surprises, heartbreak, and a lot of slo-mo action on the way to the top of Balcón de Alicante. The end line reads that DSM’s Michael Storer gets a maiden grand tour victory under his belt, while Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) stayed in red. But there was more to it …

The race was ON 

There’s nothing like a short stage (153km) with six categorised climbs and a summit finish on a freshly tarmaced road that is steeper than a steep thing from Steep Town to put the cat amongst the pigeons. And when the first categorised climb is a Cat 1 that starts less than 10km from the start, it was always going to be a tough day. It didn’t take long for the peloton to splinter and crack on the super steep slopes of Puerto la Llacuna. By the time the murmurations of the peloton ended on the second climb, there was a 29-man group racking up the minutes on the red jersey group.

DSM derring-do

UAE, Movistar, Lotto-Soudal and DSM all had multiple riders in the break and while UAE’s Matteo Trentin was riding to get his teammate Jan Polanc into virtual red (ultimately unsuccessful), it was DSM that really put on the show. Romain Bardet, out of the GC due to his heavy fall in Stage 5, decided to target the polka dot jersey, collecting KOM points by cresting first over Puerto de Benilloba, second over Puerto de Tudons and maximum points over Puerto El Collao. (This too was ultimately unsuccesful as Pavel Sivakov ended up in the blue pox at the end of the stage.)

Meanwhile, Chris Hamilton was attacking the break to set up Michael Storer. When EF’s Lawson Craddock shot clear on the descent, he was soon joined by Storer and Sivakov. The three worked together until the attacks started nearer the penultimate climb, with Storer and Sivakov particularly looking peeved with one another – Sivakov carrying on an unending monologue as they broke up and came together time and again on the climb.

The slo-mo win

Storer and Sivakov kept up the bickering as they went over the penultimate climb, periodically joined by the EF yo-yo Craddock, Lotto’s Andreas Kron and a motivated Movistarlet in Carlos Verona. Sivakov kept racking up the KOM points that Bardet would have wanted, but it was Storer who kept his eye on the prize – the stage win.

Finally going clear to ride solo, by the flamme rouge the super-steep climb was at its super-steepest. So much so there were moments in the ride when it looked like Storer would come to a complete standstill. But he didn’t, and Sivakov couldn’t catch the Australian – DSM bagged a Vuelta win and Storer his first grand tour stage.

Valverde crashes out

About halfway through the stage, while the break was busting apart up front, the red jersey group was being attacked by Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, followed by Richard Carapaz and Adam Yates among a few others. Strange as it was to see Valverde riding with Carapaz and not against him, it looked like they were wanting to do some damage to Primoz Roglic.

Unfortunately, a pothole in the road and a slip of the hands from the brakes sent Valverde sliding at speed towards the barriers. Luckily, he went between the two sets of barriers and didn’t fall all the way down the mountain, but for all intents and purposes, that was Valverde’s Vuelta done.

The GC shake-up

Well, not quite a shake-up, maybe a soft rattle. Hugh Carthy of EF had to abandon today, but other than that, no a lot changed in the GC. Roglic still rules the roost and the ease that he followed Adam Yates up the slo-mo climb makes us think that he rules at will. [Cue scepticism about Yates’ thirst for victory …]

Yates makes it into the top 10 – just – with his performance today, while Mikel Landa loses 30 seconds to Roglic and drops out of the top ten at 1.42 back. [Cue a long discussion on Landa’s potential …]

Egan Bernal seems to be keeping his own counsel for awhile, happy to stay in the Roglic group, but either not finding opportunities or not wanting to take them this early in the Vuelta. [Cue … nope, we got nothin’] Will the super-summit stage on Sunday rattle the GC harder? We shall see

The final word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Michael Storer (Team DSM) 4:10:13

2 Carlos Verona (Movistar) +0:21

3 Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:59

4 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +1:16

5 Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +1.24

GC Top 10 

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 25:18:35

2 Felix Grossschartner (Bora-hansgrohe) +0:08

3 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +0:25

4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +0:36

5 Jan Polanc (UAE) +0:38

6 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:41

7 Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +0:57

8 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +0:59

9 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +1:06

10 Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:22

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)

King of the Mountains: P Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (Ineos)

Best team : Movistar

For full race results, go to

Official Vuelta website is here 

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