Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 12 – Cort stomps to victory; Odd still in red

I cannot imagine riding a bike, at speed, in 41°C heat, on slippery tarmac, due possibly to dirt, grease or olives, for hours. But that’s what the peloton did today in Stage 12 of this year’s Vuelta. But as yesterday, the race caught fire in the last kilometre and, again, it was EF’s Magnus Cort who showed he was on the form of his life as he took to the front in the final 800m. But this time, there was no Roglic and Mas chasing him, and he took a MAJESTIC win half a wheel ahead of Andrea Bagioli (DQS), with Michael Matthews (BEX) in third. The red jersey stayed with Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and the GC hasn’t been stirred at all and all the jerseys stay put.

Magnus the magnificent

The last climb was … this

The final kilometre was … this

It was another stage that only lit up at the end – and Magnus Cort was holding the sparklers. The sparklers were lit by his teammate Jens Keukeleire as the peloton rampaged under the flamme rouge. Alpecin-Fenix’s Jay Vine, the remaining breaker from a quartet of Trek’s Guilio Ciccone, DSM’s Romain Bardet and Qhubeka’s Sergio Henao, was out front, with Bike Exchange chasing desperately to get Michael Matthews into a winning position, but the dynamic duo from EF swooshed past the Alpecin rider. An alert Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep) caught a ride on the sparkler express but Cort held on with a throw at the line to win his second stage in this Vuelta by half a wheel.

All this, and if you remember, he did all that work yesterday before getting pipped by Roglic.

If you needed reminding about yesterday – after Roglic overtook him, Magnus almost came to a standstill and then zig-zagged his way sloooooowly to the finish.

Never trust an olive

Fun fact: Andalucia is the world’s largest producer of olive oil. So it would make sense that there are olive groves all over the place. Unfortunately for the peloton, they’re riding roads that are lined with these groves. Add dust on the roads, some grease, overhanging trees and a few of those slippery little olives on the road and guys go down (think about Roglic two stages ago, the crashes yesterday …)

A serious crash off-camera took Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Fenix) out of the race at about the 80km to go mark. We’re still waiting for news on how he is (it was one of those crashes you wished the cameraman would stop filming), but this is the latest from the team.

In another 20-some kilometres, a touch of wheels by an Ineos rider took out teammates as well as a lot of Jumbo-Visma riders, including Primoz Roglic. Dylan van Baarle was the worst off of the Ineos guys, but they all got up and continued on.

The Jumbo riders disentangled themselves and chased back to the GC group.

And Movistarlet Nelson Oliveira had half his shorts torn off (possibly by a barbed-wire fence, but that’s not been confirmed)

Do you think this was a subtle and cunning plan from DSM?

Lady Luck turns her face away

While this write-up hasn’t mentioned them so far, for the majority of the race, it was UAE Team Emirates and / or Team Bike Exchange who were driving the peloton, chasing the breaks, making a concerted effort in the form of a sprint train under the flamme rouge … to no reward.

UAE put a lot of work on the front today, as they did yesterday, and as they have on any stage that looks like Matteo Trentin might make good. But he couldn’t catch the break on the final descent and for all that work on such a long, hot day, he placed fourth.

This is not the face of a happy man.

Meanwhile, BEX got themselves organised into a sprint train (it actually looked like they had about 50 guys on the front) in order to set up Michael Matthews. I’m sure he could almost taste victory – they did everything right. Except win the stage. Bling took third today.

Belinda has a solution, although I’m afraid that we might be Vuelta-ing for a few months at this rate.


The final word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 3:44:21

2 Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep) same time

3 Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) s/t

4 Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) s/t

5 Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) s/t

GC Top 10 

1 Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) 45:33:18

2 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58

3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

4 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +2:31

5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +3:28

6 Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) +3:55

7 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:46

8 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:57

9 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +5:03

10 Felis Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +5:38

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux)

Points jersey : Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

King of the Mountains: Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Best team : INEOS Grenadiers

For full race results, go to CyclingNews

Official Vuelta website is here 

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