Stage 5 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana had the flattest profile of all the stages – a bunch sprint was a sure thing. Cycling fans, teams, and commentators alike, feeling starved of drama and excitement and desperate for a dose of action, had spent time pre-stage hyping up the potential for crosswinds and echelons, which, sadly, came to nothing. The stage, which proved to be an extremely dull affair, marred by a horrendous crash at 11.6km, but which also saw a second impressive stage victory for Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), felt extremely bittersweet. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche Wanty Gobert), caught up in the crash and unable to get sufficiently close to the front group, ended the day losing the red jersey to Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), while DSM’s Romain Bardet‘s grand tour bad luck continued, coming down hard in the crash and finishing the stage battered, bruised and with the biggest loss from all the GC contenders.
It was another #hothot day on Stage 2 of Vuelta 2021 and one of the very few flat stages in any Vuelta ever. Yet, the final 5km to the sprint finish was messier than a messy thing from Messy Town. In the end, Alpecin-Fenix’s Jasper Philipsen, just pipping DQS’s Fabio Jakobsen and BEXer Michael Matthews. Primoz Roglic didn’t get caught in the crash at 4km out and stays intact and in red.
Stage 15 marked the longest stage of the 2020 Vuelta, fittingly during the longest week for us Americans, at a gruesome 231 kilometres. If the pure distance was not horrendous enough to send a shiver down your spine, then perhaps the weather conditions will be. Battling an aggressive headwind, dense fog, and eventual rain for the duration of the stage, Jasper Philipsen (UAE) prevailed in Puebla de Sanabria. The general classification remained unchanged after race organisers opted to neutralise the final 3 kilometres due to worsening weather conditions.