The 2019 Vuelta a Espana has been a topsy-turvy race. It had more unexpected happenings than an entire series of Stranger Things. So it wouldn’t have been a shocker if today’s traditionally processional stage became an all-out war that turned the GC on its head. In the end, sanity prevailed and Deceuninck Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen took the sprint win in the Madrid finale. As expected, Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic won the Vuelta overall.
Stage 20 of Vuelta 2019 – the final mountain stage and traditionally the last stage for GC podium action. However, let’s face it, with this Vuelta, anything could happen tomorrow in Madrid! But back to today. It was the last-chance saloon for Astana and Movistar to try either to unseat Primoz Roglic or challenge or solidify the other podium places. But it was the youngster Tadej Pogacar who had the boldness to take the race by the scruff of the neck. Taking his chance from 40km out, he quickly got the better of the red jersey group, keeping them at a safe distance the whole way. During his 40km solo ride, he took the white jersey off of Miguel Angel Lopez, picked up bonus seconds for winning the intermediate sprint (with himself), pushed Nairo Quintana off the third step of the podium and even briefly threatened Alejandro Valverde‘s second step before taking his third stage in his very first grand tour. What do we say to that? Hell YEAH!
Kick-starting the final weekend of racing, stage 19 of La Vuelta looked on paper to be a rare opportunity for sprinters to have a chance for success. With just one categorised climb and a profile that was largely flat — by Vuelta standards, at least — one could have reasonably expected that viewers would see another remarkable battle between the likes of Bora-hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep. Whilst the stage results show a battle between these two, the stage was not the cookie-cutter style that I had planned for. Welcome to La Vuelta!