CYCLING: Crazy week at La Vuelta ends with Quintana now on top and Roglic close

Nairo Quintana (COL) now in the lead of La Vuelta a Espana (Photo: La Vuelta)

The 74th edition of the Vuelta a Espana is turning out to be one of the wildest, with almost daily changes in the leader board, but at the end of the first week, two of the biggest favorites – Nairo Quintana (COL) and Primoz Roglic (SLO) are at the top.

Saturday’s stage was a showcase for German sprinter Niklas Arndt, who powered away in the final meters to take the stage in a rainy mass finish that left the race leaders far back. In fact, after the first 18 riders crossed within a minute, there was a 1:34 gap to 19th, then three more minutes for two riders to finish and then the race leaders showed up almost four minutes later!

That’s spread from the leader – 9:24 in all – gave the race lead to France’s Nicolas Edet, by 2:21 over Belgium’s Dylan Teuns. That was not going to last long.

Sunday’s stage was a short 94.4 km, but include five climbs and finished uphill for the fourth time in five stages, this time at the Cortals d’Encamp. The stage was hit by rain and then by hail late in the ride, but the race continued.

The last 22 km were almost one long climb, with two short intervals in the middle and three riders had broken away from the peloton on the way up. The main contenders, including Roglic, Miguel Angel Lopez (COL), Quintana (COL) and Alejandro Valverde (ESP) were moving back and forth as well, just behind the breakaway.

With 5 km left, Valverde and Quintana pushed ahead of Roglic, who had been slightly hit by a race motorcycle in the poor visibility, and joined Lopez and Marc Soler (ESP). Lopez then crashed and Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar then attacked and moved up, and past the leaders.

He flew into the lead and continued right to the finish for his first career Grand Tour victory. Solar dropped off the lead, Quintana pushed toward Pogacar and Roglic moved up to finish third with Valverde, with Solar fifth.

After all that and heading into a rest day on Monday, Quintana was in the lead with a modest, six-second edge over Roglic, 17 seconds over Lopez and 20 seconds up on Valverde.

Look for Roglic to try for the lead on Tuesday, a 36.2 km individual time trial from Jurancon to Pau. Can the second week be any wilder?

In the one-day races in Plouay (FRA), Dutch star Anna van der Breggen took the lead for good in the Grand Prix de Plouay with a surge on the on the final lap, passing France’s Laura Asencio over the top of the Cote du Moulin. Van der Breggen broke away from the field and managed to keep her lead over the final two climbs over 9 km on the way to an 11-second win. The peloton closed in, creating a mass sprint in the final 1,000 m, won by American Coryn Rivera for her second straight medal in this race (bronze last year), ahead of Dutch star Amy Pieters.

Dutch riders have captured 13 of the 20 races on the women’s tour this season; this was the third win for van der Breggen.

On Sunday, the lengthy (248.1 km) Grande Bretagne-Ouest France race was won by Belgian Sep Vanmarcke who attacked with Tiesj Benoot (BEL) and Jack Haig (AUS) with 21 km to go and then pounced with a sprint to the finish with just more than a kilometer to go.

Summaries:

UCI World Tour/La Vuelta a Espana
Spain ~ 24 August-15 September 2019
(Full results here)

Stage 1 (13.4 km Team Time Trial): 1. Astana (KAZ), 14:51; 2. Deceuninck-Quick Step (BEL), 14.53; 3. Team Sunweb (GER), 14:56; 4. EF Education First (USA), 14:58; 5. Bora-hansgrohe (GER), 15:04.

Stage 2 (199.6 km): 1. Nairo Quintana (COL), 5:11:17; 2. Nicholas Roche (IRL), 5:11:22; 3. Primoz Roglic (SLO), 5:11:22; 4. Rigoberto Uran (COL), 5:11:22; 5. Fabio Aru (ITA), 5:11:22.

Stage 3 (188.0 km): 1. Sam Bennett (IRL), 4:25:02; 2. Edward Theuns (BEL), 4:25:02; 3. Luka Mezgec (SLO), 4:25:02; 4. Jon Aberasturi (ESP), 4:25:02; 5. Phil Bauhaus (GER), 4:25:02.

Stage 4 (175.5 km): 1. Fabio Jakobsen (NED), 4:04:16; 2. Bennett (IRL), 4:04;16; 3. Fernando Gaviria (COL), 4:04:16; 4. Mezgec (SLO), 4:04:16; 5. Marc Sarreau (FRA), 4:04:16.

Stage 5 (170.7 km): 1. Jose Madrazo (ESP), 4:58:31; 2. Jetse Bol (NED), 4:58:41; 3. Jose Herrada (ESP), 4:58:53; 4. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL), 4:59:18; 5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 4:59:30.

Stage 6 (198.9 km): 1. Jesus Herrada (ESP), 4:43:55; 2. Dylan Teuns (BEL), 4:44:02; 3. Dorian Godon (FRA), 4:44:16; 4. Robert Gesink (NED), 4:44:16; 5. Bruno Armirail (FRA), 4:44:32.

Stage 7 (183.2 km): 1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 4:34:11; 2. Roglic (SLO), 4:34:11; 3. Lopez (COL), 4:34:17; 4. Quintana (COL), 4:34:17; 5. Rafal Majka (POL), 4:34:53. Also in the top 25: 21. Sepp Kuss (USA), 4:37:39; … 25. Peter Stetina (USA), 4:39:11.

Stage 8 (166.9 km): 1. Niklas Arndt (GER), 3:50:48; 2. Alex Aranburu (ESP), 3:50:48; 3. Tosh van der Sande (BEL), 3:50:48; 4. Ruben Guerreiro (POR), 3:50:48; 5. Jonas Koch (GER), 3:50:48. Also in the top 25: 12. Stetina (USA), 3:50:48.

Stage 9 (94.4 km): 1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO), 2:58:09; 2. Quintana (COL), 2:58:32; 3. Roglic (SLO), 2:58:57; 4. Valverde (ESP), 2:58:57; 5. Marc Soler (ESP), 2:59:06. Also in the top 25: 16. Kuss (USA), 3:00:57.

● 3 September ~ Stage 10 (36.2 km (Time Trial) – Jurancon to Pau
● 4 September ~ Stage 11 (180.0 km): Saint-Palais to Urdax-Dantxarinea
● 5 September ~ Stage 12 (171.4 km): Circuito de Navarra to Bilbao
● 6 September ~ Stage 13 (166.4 km): Bilbao to Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega
● 7 September ~ Stage 14 (188.0 km): San Vicente de la Barquer to Oviedo
● 8 September ~ Stage 15 (154.4 km): Tineo to Santuario del Acebo
● 9 September ~ Stage 16 (144.4 km): Pravia to Alto de La Cubilla. Lena
● 10 September ~ Rest day
● 11 September ~ Stage 17 (219.6 km): Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara
● 12 September ~ Stage 18 (177.5 km): Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra
● 13 September ~ Stage 19 (165.2 km): Ávila to Toledo
● 14 September ~ Stage 20 (190.4 km): Arenas de San Pedro to Plataforma de Gredos
● 15 September ~ Stage 21 (106.6 km): Fuenlabrada to Madrid

UCI Women’s World Tour/Grand Prix de Plouay
Plouay (FRA) ~ 31 August 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings (128.6 km): 1. Anna van der Breggen (NED), 3:21:54; 2. Coryn Rivera (USA), 3:22:05; 3. Amy Pieters (NED), 3:22:05; 4. Marta Cavalli (ITA), 3:22:05; 5. Demi Vollering (NED), 3:22:05; 6. Stine Borgli (NOR), 3:22:05; 7. Sofie de Vuyst (BEL), 3:22:05; 8. Flavia Oliveira (BRA), 3:22:05; 9. Ruth Winder (USA), 3:22:06; 10. Elena Cecchini, (ITA), 3:22:05.

UCI World Tour/Bretagne Classic-Ouest France
Plouay (FRA) ~ 1 September 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings (248.1 km): 1. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL), 6:12:23; 2. Tiesj Benoot (BEL), 6:12:26; 3. Jack Haig (AUS), 6:12:26; 4. Michael Valgren (DEN), 6:12:43; 5. Amund Jansen (NOR), 6:12:43; 6. Greg van Avermaet (BEL), 6:12:43; 7. Benoit Cosnefroy (FRA), 6:12:43; 8. Tim Wellens (BEL), 6:12:45; 9. Florian Senechal (FRA), 6:12:51; 10. Eduard Prades (ESP), 6:12:51.

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