Vuelta a Espana 2022 : Stage 12 – Carapaz comes good on Penas Blancas

A win for Richard ‘Billy’ Carapaz on Stage 12 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana was a fight back for the Ecuadorian who had come to this Grand Tour as the leader for INEOS Grenadiers, but who had so far had a rather unremarkable race. Talking of unremarkable races – the 12th stage can be firmly added to this year’s long list of unexceptional stages of La Vuelta 2022. A stage profile so flat (for the most part) that it fooled fans into thinking today was for the sprinters, sprinters who sadly then had to face the monstrous Penas Blancas for the final 20km. No change to the GC despite a crash for race leader Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep) who fights to live another day in red. Bora’s Wilco Kelderman and VeloVoices fave (never thought I’d write this!) Marc Soler (UAE) rounded out the day’s podium.

Pre-Penas Blancas

If you were one of the brave souls who switched GCN on prior to Penas Blancas, my thoughts and prayers are with you. A bumper-breakaway of approximately 30 riders formed early on in the day, and with GC teams losing man-power due to COVID quicker than a quick thing, the chase was off and the gap grew exponentially. Peaking out at 10′ it was clear the win would come from one of the many escapees – but where? Or who?


It is unclear what tyres QuickStep are using at La Vuelta, but their riders are going down more easily than Bambi on ice! Today’s victim was race leader Remco who took a corner too tight and slipped to the ground. [I see it was followed by a Remco hissy fit at the commissaires – ed]

Fortunately escaping relatively unscathed, Evenepoel was able to calmly get back on his bike and chase back to peloton, although controversially the race was seemingly not waiting for him [insert debate about unwritten cycling rules].

The Conqueror of Penas-Blanca

Within the front group there were some serious hitters, including Richard Carapaz, Marc Soler, Wilco Kelderman, Zwift Academy’s Jay Vine (in the polka dot jersey) along with some less well-known names, but equally gifted climbers.

Many eyes naturally fell to #CouchPeloton hero, Vine, and who can blame us given the form he’s shown so far at this year’s race? However, it was a day and a brutal enough climb that no one could be ruled out.

Following a series of attacks from an unlikely source – that would be Elie Gesbert (Arkea Samsic) – the front group started to decimate…

… and at 2km to go Carapaz made his winning move!

After what has been an underwhelming and disappointing Grand Tour so far for the Ecuadorian, he battled his way to the finish line, determined to flip his fortunes around. And flip them, he did! A win to remember for the Olympic Champion!

The General Classification

As ever, cycling fans have to have their eyes cast in multiple different directions. With the time gaps so massive between the breakaway and the race leaders, fans had to await the GC action further behind.

Jumbo-Visma, via the engine that is Rohan Dennis, attempted to set things up for Primoz Roglic, but sadly the Slovenian still doesn’t look to have what he needs to overcome his current challenges.

Just as Carapaz attacked further up the road, Enric Mas of Movistar tried to challenge Evenepoel for the Maillot Rojo. Alas he could not drop the Belgian leader.

Despite best efforts, the attack came to nothing and the group of GC contenders finished atop Penas-Blancas together, including Roglic who remains in 2nd place. Can he find his form as we head into the final week and a half of the race? I hope so… [so do I! – ed]

The Last Word

Hold the press for an EDIT button on Twitter!


Stage 12 results

1 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:38:26

2 Wilco Kelderman (Bora-hansgrohe) +0:09

3 Marc Soler ♥ (UAE) +0:24

4 Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) +0:26

5 Marc Brenner (Team DSM) +0:34

GC Top 10

1 Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl ) 44:25:09

2 Primož Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +2:41

3 Enric Mas (Movistar) +3:03

4 Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:06

5 Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +4:53

6 Wilco Kelderman (BORA Hansgrohe) +6:28

7 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan) +6:56

8 João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +7:18

9 Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) +8.00

10 Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +8:05

All the Jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl)

Points jersey : Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)

King of the Mountains jersey : Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck)

Young Rider Jersey : Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl)

Team competition : UAE Team Emirates

For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Go here for the official La Vuelta website

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