A calm, warm day with no setbacks for the Blues led Alejandro and his team-mates towards the decisive mountain showdown in northern Spain.
/ Today’s route
In a radical change from Thursday’s mountain trek, no categorized climbs were to be tackled on the 163km journey from Gumiel de Izán to Roa de Duero, even if the finish was clearly uphill.
/ Weather report
Scorching hot. Up to 36ºC in the approach to the finish, with winds not playing any real factor compared to previous days – always with a breeze from the west, yet not relevant for the final outcome.
/ Keys to the race
- The six-man early break -Diego Pablo Sevilla, Riccardo Verza, Alex Ropero (KTX); Damiano Cima (GAZ), Willie Smit (BBH) and Txomin Juaristi (EUK)- was always under control by Deceuninck-Quick Step. Its chances were further hampered by a crash for Juaristi halfway through, right after Bahrain and Groupama-FDJ had taken over from Remco Evenepoel’s team at the front of the field.
- A demanding slope starting under the ‘flamme rouge’ was the main amusement at today’s finish in Roa. However, the predictable sprint finish was completely overshadowed by a crash from Michael Morkov (DQT) and Jacopo Guarnieri (GFC) at the tight hairpin right leading the bunch into the ascent. Sam Bennett (DQT) took advantage to launch a really long sprint and win with a handful of seconds over a first pursuit group, led home by Arnaud Démare (GFC, 2nd) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT, 3rd).
- As all times were neutralized by the well-known rule for sprint stages that no incident should affect the result inside the last 3km, Alejandro Valverde had no troubles to conserve his 11th place overall, 2’09” behind the purple jersey.
/ Upcoming goals
A known finish, the Lagunas de Neila climb (Cat-1), yet through a side not used by the race in 2019, climbing the Collado (Cat-3) just before the final 5km at nearly 10% average. The day’s 158km route also includes the Alto del Cerro (Cat-3) and the Collado de Vilviestre (Cat-3).
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport