The Northern hemisphere may still be wrapped up in cosy knitwear, but it’s the height of summer down under and that means the cycling season is in full swing. This weekend saw the culmination of the Australian National Road Championships and it’s two Mitchelton-Scott riders – Amanda Spratt and Cameron Meyer – who will wear the green and gold in the 2020 peloton. There was sharp smart racing, selfless teamwork and tears a-plenty on the podium.
Stage 18 at La Vuelta served up a spice laden attack fest, a gutsy solo victory and a switcheroo on GC. Stage winning honours went to Sergio Higuita of EF Education First. The young Grand Tour debutant attacked out of the breakaway on the penultimate descent with FIFTY kilometres to go. Tenaciously holding his advantage over an elite chasing foursome all the way to the line. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) outsprinted Alejandro Valverde for second on the stage to strengthen his hold on red. The rainbow clad Spaniard regained second place overall from his Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) never stopped attacking, his fourth place on the stage enough to regain fourth on GC and the Young Rider’s jersey from Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
HOLY MOLY WHAT A STAGE!!! The wind howled for 220km. The average speed was a record-beating 50.6kph. Philippe Gilbert took his second victory after Deceuninck QuickStep destroyed the peloton at the start and gave everyone a masterclass on crosswind tactics and echelon riding. Unlike the top five riders above him on GC, Nairo Quintana found himself on the right side of the split and zoomed from sixth to second, knocking Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde down to third. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is still in the red jersey, a fact he should thank Astana for.