La Vuelta (st. 10)
Enric Mas, Valverde, Soler remain in La Vuelta’s overall top-ten after demanding finish in Suances; Roglic (TJV) back in the lead, puts 3″ + finish bonus on several contenders.
/ Today’s route
A journey through Cantabria on stage ten of La Vuelta, starting the second half of the race. 185km from Castro Urdiales to Suances with just one Cat-3 climb, the Alto de San Cipriano (125km), yet with a demanding finish, the last 1.5km at 6%, which could make things really hard for the sprinters or even propel the chances for a winning breakaway.
/ Weather report
It’s called autumn, yet seemed more like spring. A stunning day for October 30th in Cantabria, with a pleasant 17ºC, clear skies and almost no wind (some gusts from the northeast).
/ Keys to the race
- Today’s breakaway got the biggest gap for an escape so far in this year’s La Vuelta. Up to twelve minutes were ammassed by a four-man group including Jonathan Lastra (CJR), Brent Van Moer (LTS), Pim Ligthart (TDE) and Alex Molenaar (BBH). The main bunch, led by Deceuninck – Quick Step, Astana and Mitchelton – Scott, started pulling 50km after the bang.
- The pace was, since they started chasing the leaders down and until they caught them with 15km to go, as consistent as fast inside the main peloton. Rojas, Erviti -quite committed near the finish-, Arcas, Verona and Oliveira again completed a solid job to keep Soler, Valverde and Mas well protected at a group not registering any major setbacks.
- At the final slope, and following a late move from Cavagna (DQT) and Ivo Oliveira (UAD), second-placed overall Primoz Roglic (TJV) was the strongest and led home a first group with several splits – which put the Slovenian back in the lead, level with Carapaz (IGD). Mas and Valverde -who remain in 5th + 8th overall- finished 3″ down on the winner, while Soler, back to 10th place behind Poels (TBM), finished at 15″.
Alejandro Valverde: “We’re tackling these upcoming two days in Asturias willing to do well. Two hard stages, where the strategy could play a key factor, and where we hope to do the right moves and hopefully bring back the good results. You’ve already seen we’ve been on the attack basically the entire race – sometimes it goes right, sometimes wrong, but we’re always there. Both the Farrapona stage and the Angliru one could become decisive. Roglic’s win today? To me, he looks like the strongest man in La Vuelta at the moment.”
Enric Mas: “We were really thankful about the good weather today, the beautiful landscapes… it’s been a pleasant day in Cantabria, at least until the point Astana, Mitchelton… started pushing to bring the break back. There’s always some stress at the front, but it felt like a bit easier to get into position int the bunch, and we only had a difficult turn right just after the 2km banner. We got there in 15th to 20th place – and that’s how we finished. Long range attacks tomorrow? I don’t know how we will react, honestly. It has to be a mutual decision, between the team and us, on where we should make our moves. Thinking it through, finding the right moment and hopefully take advantage of that move. We’ll see…”
/ Upcoming goals
The weekend will bring us the two long-awaited Asturias mountain stages. Saturday’s stage 11km, 170km in length, will depart from Villaviciosa and cover five categorized ascents: La Campa (Cat-3), Colladona (Cat-1), Cobertoria (Cat-1), San Lorenzo (Cat-1) and the finish in La Farrapona (Cat-1). A well-known series of final climbs with a long (16.5km), grueling last ascent.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport