Stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana has been rather overshadowed by far more significant events, especially here in the UK, but today in Spain, the show did go on. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) won his second stage win on the final summit finish of the final Grand Tour of the year. You’d think bar accident this all but consolidates his overall victory of this year’s race. There was heartbreak for Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) who came within 500m of the line only to be pipped to the post by ruthless Remco. Enric Mas (Movistar), who attacked everywhere he could, took second place on the day, with Gesink deservedly rounding out the podium.
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.
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.