Vuelta a Espana 2022 : Stage 16 – Mads takes stage, but Rog chaos talk of the day

A stage as flat as a pancake, *they said*. A rare day for the sprinters at La Vuelta, *they said*. An easy day for Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep) to hold on to the Red Jersey, *they said*. An attack with 3km to go from Jumbo Visma’s Primoz “No Risk, No Glory” Roglic, *NOBODY said*.

Stage 16 of the 2022 Vuelta should have come with a health warning. From a Grand Tour with zilcho drama, to essentially the drama of seven seasons (may be exaggerating, may also not be) happening within the final 3km of today’s parcours. In a nutshell, all you need to know is that a sprinter, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), did win the stage and there was no change to the overall standings… but that is only the tip of a very large iceberg. Let’s start at the very beginning 3km to go.

3000 metres to go… 

A day that had all the makings of being a typical Grand Tour sprint stage (no disrespect to sprint stage fans – if you exist) with absolutely nothing happening until the very final kilometres. Well, in fairness, today’s stage did live up to that reputation, just not in the way anybody expected…

I mean, at 64km to go I suggested writing about Winnie the Pooh characters just to have something to say…. #content

But no, all the plans, all the blueprints, all the scripts that had been written went flying out of the window because of one man. Primoz Roglic.

An innocent attack from the Slovenian cyclist at 2.5km sent the entire race and the entirety of cycling-Twitter into chaos. Primoz, some of us were supposed to try and concentrate on work today!

However, it didn’t end there, because one dig from the man trying to gain time on Remco Evenepoel caused a ripple effect, a whole chain reaction.

No sooner had Roglic attacked, and created a gap on the maillot rojo, but the man in the maillot rojo suffered a puncture (or did he… we’ll discuss conspiracy theories later)!

All eyes moved to the rule book – what is the rule for a rider who punctures but is within 3km of the finish, but wasn’t with the front group gaining time when said puncture happened?!

Would the Belgian be given the same time as Roglic, even though Roglic had gained time before Remco punctured? Or would the time be given the same as the peloton who were at this point finishing behind Roglic? Does the rule apply to punctures and mechanicals or is it only crashes? So many questions!


It is well known that Remco Evenepoel is not the most loved (outside of the Belgian media circles) pro cyclist, but the speed at which many, including Detective Adam Blythe on the GCN Breakaway, turned to suggest this was a tactical move from Remco was frightening…

While with retrospect it’s easy to now see that there was definitely a flat tire, the conspiracy theories certainly made me feel uncomfortable while reading them.

Man down 100 metres to go…

Oh, you thought the drama ended with Roglic gaining time and Remco puncturing? You thought wrong, my friends…

A moment of elation for Primoz fans can sadly never last long, because, well, he’s Primoz Roglic and bad luck follows the man like a bad smell.

That’s right, with only *100 metres* to go, the three-time Vuelta Champion managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, for want of a better phrase. While he wasn’t necessarily going to win the stage with Mads Pedersen, Fred Wright, Pascal Ackermann, and Danny van Poppel having joined him at the front, Roglic was certainly going to have opened a decent gap on the peloton… which by this point we’ve determined is where Evenepoel’s finishing time would be taken from (are you keeping up? I’m not sure I am…) and therefore he’d be decently closing in on that red jersey…

And so, all those questions we thought we’d answered about the 3k rule all reared their heads again, but doubly more complicated.

No Risk, No Glory

It really is what it says on the tin, but man sometimes it feels like the risk isn’t worth the glory. We salute you, Primoz, for risking so much which keeps us on the edge of our seats and thoroughly entertained, if not equally defeated when it doesn’t come off. We’ll all bask in the glory with you, when it comes.

So, where does the Vuelta GC stand?

I would not have wanted to be a commisaire today having to determine today’s results, no pressure…

The jury, understandably, took their time to consider the results and what times would be awarded come the end.

Just to add to the spice of the day, for a short period of time it looked as though Roglic would be about to start a second stint as leader of the Spanish Grand Tour…

The official results were soon updated and it was confirmed that the QuickStep rider would remain in red, albeit with Primoz now 8 seconds closer on the GC…

For me, 8 seconds feels about right, Evenepoel had rotten luck getting a puncture when he did, so while Primoz, without his own dose of rotten luck, might have gained more time than that, it feels like a fair way to end the day for both riders. Let’s just hope Roglic isn’t too banged up heading into some tougher days and the final week.


Two great competitors

So much love has been given to Primoz Roglic for the way he rides, positive, attacking racing is what fans adore to watch to keep us entertained, but for me there has to be a mention of how Remco went straight to see Roglic immediately after the stage – despite all that gets said, that’s a mark of great respect. 

Stage winner

Apologies to Midge-fave, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), who only now gets a mention in this write up for winning the stage – if he hadn’t already, he’s surely rubber stamping that green jersey victory?!

What a day!


Stage 16 Top 5

1 Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) 4:45:29

2 Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) s/t

3 Danny Van Poppel (Bora Hansgrohe) s/t

4 Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) s/t

5 Quentin Pascher (Groupama FDJ) +0:08

GC Top 10

1 Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl ) 61:26:26

2 Primož Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:26

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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