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.
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.
After the high drama of the Angliru and yesterday’s time trial, the Vuelta’s stage 14 turned the excitement dial down a notch. The main break of the day stayed away to content the win with Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal pipping Michael Woods (EF) to the line and getting his second win of this Vuelta. QuickStep’s Zdenek Stybar rounded out the podium in Ourense. All the main GC contenders rolled in together nearly four minutes behind, meaning Primoz Roglic (Jumbo) easily holds on to the race lead.