It’s our last Tweets of the Week until, well, whenever cycling starts again or something interesting and funny happens in the off season. We’re seeing red as the final podium of the 2020 Vuelta took the stage in Madrid on Sunday. We look back and forward (all at the same time) and we have a gruppetto going over cobbles. Before you start, though, thanks for making this compressed season so fun – and thanks for always giving me great material for Tweets of the Week. #StaySafe
The last mountain stage, the last stage (barring crashes or DNFs) that the final podium could change, the penultimate race day of the 2020 Vuelta and the men’s pro cycling season. We expected fireworks and in a way we got them, although it felt like a slow nervous breakdown watching the final 3km of the GC race. But up ahead, FDJ’s David Gaudu took another Vuelta stage, with NTT’s Gino Mader and Ion Izagirre (Astana) second and third in the stage. Ineos’s Richard Carapaz had one more roll of the dice, which resulted in the most nail-biting three kilometres since … the Giro! With Primoz Roglic alone, under pressure and not looking his effervescent self, the fear was that he was going to lose another Grand Tour (in the same season!) on the penultimate stage. But he dug deep, rode on fumes and mental strength, and limited his losses to save the red jersey for Madrid.
Stage 16 of Vuelta 2020 was 162km to get finished before the big final mountain stage tomorrow, that wasn’t supposed to have any surprises so the breakaway thought they had a real chance. They almost did, until Ineos decided to shred the peloton, in an effort to drop Primoz Roglic and get some precious time for Richard Carapaz. Remy Cavagna (Quickstep) fought valiantly to stay out front but he was caught with a heartbreaking two kilometres to go. Then, it was a knockdown drag-out fight of a sprint between UAE’s Rui Costa and Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde … that almost produced a winner, but Magnus Cort decided to rain on their parade, taking EF’s third Vuelta stage. So Valverde and Costa were second and third. Nope, a surprise second went to a stealth Roglic and third went to Mitchelton-Scott’s Dion Smith.