As we wave farewell to professional cycling for another season on the final day of the 2020 Vuelta, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) won the close bunch sprint in Madrid ahead of Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Max Kanter (Sunweb). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) now has consecutive Vuelta titles, with Richard Carapaz (INEOS) and Hugh Carty (EF Cycling) second and third respectively.
Elisa Balsamo (Valcar Travel) won the last stage of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta on the circuit in Madrid ahead of Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) and Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana). Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit WNT) defended the leader’s red jersey to also take back-to-back titles ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo) and Wiebes.
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.