Vuelta a Espana 2022 : Stage 15 Arensman shines on Sierra summit, Remco keeps red

Stage 15 was the first stage in this year’s Vuelta with an HC climb – at the finish, no less – so it was a test to see just how successful all that high-altitude training was for the GC! At the end of the day, it was DSM’s Thymen Arensman, who won from the break, but give it another minute or so and the GC guys were sprinting for the finish to either gain time or minimise losses.

Craddock, Vine & Soler

It was like a tag team of riders who were tilting for the victory in the high Sierras. From a break of 28 people, these three all spent some time solo on the front of the race. First, it was Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) who made his move before the penultimate climb, 60km from the finish.

Always a big ask that far out, but it was an even bigger one as pox-wearing Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) wanted to make sure he picked up as many KOM points as possible. The closest rival for the KOM jersey was Ineos’s Richard Carapaz, who was in the break and had taken two stages in the last three days. No sense in tempting fate as there was only 14pt difference between the two. With the final climb worth 20pt, you can see what the plan was. Luckily, Carapaz wasn’t interested in KOM points, nor was he able to make it a hat trick today, so the 19pt that he earned means Vine is 29pt ahead.

Craddock had been rocking and rolling up the penultimate climb and was only a kilometre away from cresting when Vine went hell for leather, catching and passing the American to claim full pox points.

On the descent, the duo were caught by the break, and it was UAE’s Marc Soler who broke free with 21km to go.

It looked like the mercurial rider could do it! But …

It was DSM’s Thymen Arensman, having done so much work on the front of the break, who decided that it wasn’t going to be Soler’s turn to shine today. While the red jersey group was being blown to smithereens by Jumbo-Visma, the Dutch rider stealthily made his way up to Soler. And past Soler. And no one got even close to catching him on his way to his first Grand Tour stage victory. He also moved into the top 10, currently sitting in 8th place.

Jumbo bees a buzzin’

The start of the final climb and the Jumbo bees starting buzzing at the front of the peloton. Taking up the pace at the base of the final climb, they shredded the peloton on the first five kilometres, with its devilishly difficult double-digit inclines. At one point, it looked like the red jersey group was racing in slow motion as they wove from side to side to get around the 17% hairpins.

Red rover red rover, send Roglic right over

Yesterday, Primoz Roglic fired the shots across the Remco bow and the way all the rivals were hanging on his every pedal stroke, they all thought they would wait for him to do that again. He had Chris Harper put in a soul-crushing turn, then rode hard in front … but he couldn’t lose the red jersey.

Movistar’s Enric Mas, Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez, Ag2r’s Ben O’Connor (yes, Ben O’Connor), and Ineos’s Carlos Rodriguez were all there with Rog and Remco, but again, it was a waiting game. Roglic sensibly came off the front and rode in the back of the group and Remco was then relieved of pacing duties by picking up one of his teammates, Louis Vervaeke, from the break.

With about 10km to go, Lopez went like a rocket, with no response from the red jersey group. Until Mas made a break for it – yes! Mas! – to catch Lopez. They caught Vine, who stuck with them for the most part, and then it was the second time Mas went out into the front (perhaps in his entire career!), to outsprint Lopez to second, taking time on Roglic and Remco.

Meanwhile, further back: Remco, Roglic and O’Connor were finally left to their own devices, with Remco doing all the pulling on the way to the finish. It was only in the last 2km that Roglic dropped Remco, with O’Connor on his wheel. In front, he gritted his teeth and tried to get as much time as possible on his GC rival.

Meanwhile, even further down the climb, it was UAE teammates Joao Almeida and Juan Ayuso riding together. No, not together, not helping each other. They were more riding solo and pretending not to see the other. Most peculiar

Remco remains in red

It was the stage that could have seen Remco Evenepoel buckle under the pressure of attacks or the high altitude, but he didn’t. He kept his cool the whole day, kept his own pace when Mas and Lopez attacked instead of using valuable energy to chase them back, and let Roglic go in the final two kilometres, seemingly confident in the fact that he wasn’t going to lose that much time.

Is it over? Is Remco going to be crowned the new Vuelta champion in Madrid next Sunday? It’s definitely a possibility (some say a probability) but let’s not forget that Remco has never completed a grand tour (and he’s only rode one previously – the Giro last year). It looks like he’s fresh as a daisy, but will he have that one mare of a day? We shall see.

In the meantime, here are your Stage 15 highlights.


Stage 15 Top 10

1 Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) 4:17:17

2 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:23

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan Team) +1:25

4 Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +1:30

5 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:44

6 Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen) +1:44

7 Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +1:55

8 Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:55

9 Louis Meintjes (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +1:55

10 Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep Alpha Vinyl) +1:59

GC Top 10

1 Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl ) 55:40:49

2 Primož Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:34

3 Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:01

4 Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +4:49

5 Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers) +5:16

6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan) +5:24

7 João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +7:00

8 Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) +7:05

9 Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen Team) +8:57

10 Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe) +11:36

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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