Stage 15 of Vuelta 2021. It was a long stage (197.5km). Rafal Majka (UAE) rode 87km all by himself to take his first win in four years. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo) and Chris Hamilton (DSM) came in second and third respectively. Intermarché-Wanty rode on the front of the peloton. Odd Christian Eiking stays in red. GC top 10 changes not. Rest day tomorrow.
The first HC climb in Vuelta 2017 and it was supposed to be a battle for the stage by the GC boys. But Bora’s Rafal Majka had other plans, getting into a ten-man break early on and soloing to a career-defining stage win on top of La Pandera. Although the GC was shaken up, Chris Froome kept his lead, Vincenzo Nibali put more time into his rivals and Esteban Chaves fell off the podium.
It was always going to come down to the final climb – the Alto Xorret de Catí – in stage 8 of Vuelta 2017. The climb itself might have only been 5km long, but it had double-digit gradients, topping out at 18%. As the inclines started to bite, it was Rafal Majka and Julian Alaphilippe who escaped from a large break and played cat-and-mouse to the summit. Under the flamme rouge, Jan Polanc made it a three-man sprint which Angryphilippe won handily – his first grand tour victory. Meanwhile, back in the peloton, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome had a cat-and-mouse game of their own …