It was a short stage (less than 100km); it was a tough stage (5 categorised climbs … no flat ground from start to finish); it was stormy day (torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightening greeted the riders as they came into the final 10km); yet it was a fairytale ending for the Slovenian rider, Tadej Pogacar, who took his first ever grand tour stage in his first ever grand tour. And as has been the norm for this Giro, the red jersey changed shoulders again, this time from Miguel Angel Lopez to Nairo Quintana in a tussle to the top of Cortals d’Encamp.
After a full-on, salty-startin’, race-shakin’ Stage One team time trial, the second stage of Vuelta 2019 kept it siesta-inducing until a VERY spicy finale. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the stage by 5 seconds and Nicolas Roche of Sunweb rode into red as the GC received the kind of shake up normally reserved for a monster mountain stage.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won Stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France, attacking from the day’s break but the real story happened behind him. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) cracked near the summit of the final climb but regrouped and caught back up to his GC rivals on the descent. It could end up being a race-defining moment.