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La Vuelta ciclista a España 2022 General Classification

1 EVENEPOEL RemcoQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team80:26:59
2 MAS EnricMovistar Team2:02
3 AYUSO JuanUAE Team Emirates4:57
4 LÓPEZ Miguel ÁngelAstana Qazaqstan Team5:56
5 ALMEIDA JoãoUAE Team Emirates7:24
6 ARENSMAN ThymenTeam DSM7:45
7 RODRÍGUEZ CarlosINEOS Grenadiers7:57
8 O’CONNOR BenAG2R Citroën Team10:30
9 URÁN RigobertoEF Education-EasyPost11:04
10 HINDLEY JaiBORA – hansgrohe12:01
11 MEINTJES LouisIntermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux15:41
12 POLANC JanUAE Team Emirates21:39
13 VALVERDE AlejandroMovistar Team25:39
14 CARAPAZ RichardINEOS Grenadiers29:19
15 LANDA MikelBahrain – Victorious44:13
16 SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónBahrain – Victorious45:49
17 PINOT ThibautGroupama – FDJ46:20
18 KELDERMAN WilcoBORA – hansgrohe48:37
19 GEOGHEGAN HART TaoINEOS Grenadiers49:11
20 MÄDER GinoBahrain – Victorious52:25

Startlist with dropouts at the beginning of final stage 21 here

Stage 1 – Fri 19 Aug – Utrecht > Utrecht – 23,3 km; Team Time-Trial. Elevation gain 31m

Dream came true! Gesink in roja as Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team takes 1st stage

Credit Image: @lavuelta; Words by Simone Gambino

Dutchman Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) is the first roja jersey of the 77th edition of the Vuelta Espana after his team’s victory in the opening stage, a 23-kilometre team time trial held along the streets of Utrecht. In an understandable strategic choice, the team decided to favour the home rider in assigning the first symbol of the lead in the Spanish race, which will remain in the Netherlands for the next two days. In second place, 13 seconds behind, was Ineos Grenadiers, who failed to give the maglia roja to Richard Carapaz on the very day the Ecuadorian Olympic champion announced his move to EF Education next year. The third coin, just one second behind the British squadron, went to Remco Evenepoel’s Quick Step Alpha Vinyl. This was the verdict of the first act of the Spanish race, which sanctioned the already widely predicted superiority of Jumbo, strong with two superlative trains such as the Australian Rohan Dennis and the Italian Edoardo Affini, in addition to a Primoz Roglic who appears to be decidedly on the road to full recovery. Full results here

It starts with a team time trial – which is quite usual for the Spanish race – in Utrecht, which is rather short and also relatively tortuous. It requires a great deal of mental effort to keep the team together given the possible frequent relaunches and at the same time the need to keep a high pace proportional to the brevity of the test. For the men in the standings it will be an important passage straight away: the gaps should not be very large, but there is so little room to catch up that it is good not to give anything away.

Stage 2 – Sat 20 Aug – ‘s-Hertogenbosch > Utrecht – 175,1 km; Flat. Elevation gain 518m

Sam Bennett wins sprint to take Vuelta second stage

Sam Bennett batte Mads Pedersen nella seconda tappa della Vuelta 2022
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora Hansgrohe) sprinted to victory on the second stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana along the 179 flat kilometres from s’Hertogenbosch to Utrecht. The 32-year-old sprinter from the green island took his fourth victory in the Spanish race, his ninth in the grand tours, sprinting ahead of Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) and Belgian champion Tim Merlier (Alpecin Deceuninck). Team Jumbo-Visma has maintained the lead with Robert Gesink, transferred the red jersey to Mike Teunissen. Teunissen took over at the top by virtue of his fourth place on the stage, and each of the other team members had a change in overall position due to their position crossing the finish line. Teunissen is ahead of five team-mates, followed by seven men of Ineos Grenadiers, 13″ behind, who are one second ahead of four members of Quick Step Alpha Vynil, who came third in the team time trial that opened the Vuelta 2022. Full results here

Flat stage, just a little bumpy inland, but no doubt dedicated to fast wheels. We’re not close to the sea, but it’s still the Dutch plain, so a bit of wind might have to be reckoned with. Bookmakers Favourites: T Merlier 4, P Ackermann 5, S Bennett 6, M Pedersen 8, K Groves 10, G Thijssen 12, B Coquard 12,  E Hayter  16, M Teunissen 16.

Stage 3 – Sun 21 Aug – Breda > Breda – 193,5 km; Flat. Elevation gain 255m

Sam Bennett second successive winning sprint

Sam Bennett vince a Breda in maglia verde, battuti Pedersen e McLay © Getty Images
Credit Image: © Getty Images; Words by Simone Gambino

Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora Hansgrohe) won the third stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana at the end of 192 kilometres with start and finish in Breda. The giant sprinter repeated his sprint success of the previous day, again ahead of 2019 world champion Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), with surprise Briton Daniel McLay (Arkea Samsic) in third. The final stage on Dutch soil gave Italy the unexpected surprise of seeing an Italian back in the red jersey after seven years. Thanks to the counting of the cumulative placings, the symbol of command, while remaining in the Jumbo Visma house, passed from the shoulders of Mike Teunissen to those of Edoardo Affini. It will be the rider from Mantova who will wear it when the race resumes on Tuesday, after the rest day, when cycling resumes in the Basque country. Behind six rider from Jumbo Visma, 13 seconds apart, are the men of Ineos Grenadiers with the Quick Step Alpha Vinyl riders a further second behind. Full results here

The third and final stage on Dutch soil is completely flat and there is another day for the sprinters. It begins in Breda before an anti-clockwise loop leads the riders though the Noord-Brabant province with over wide, flat roads and the possibility of unpleasant windy conditions. The stage finishes in Breda and a large peloton is expected to contest the victory. Bookmakers Favourites: T Merlier 3, S Bennett 3, M Pedersen 5, P Ackermann 7, K Groves 15, , M Teunissen 17, G Thijssen 21, B Coquard 31,  E Hayter 31, D Van Poppel 31.

Rest Day – Mon 22 Aug

Stage 4 – Tue 23 Aug – Vitoria-Gasteiz > Laguardia – 152,5 km; Medium Mountains. Elevation gain 2319m

Primoz takes it all

Primoz Roglic sul velluto: sua la quarta frazione della Vuelta © Jumbo Visma
Credit Image: © Jumbo Visma; Words by Simone Gambino

Defending champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) won the fourth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana at the end of the 152-kilometre stage from Vitoria Gasteiz to La Guardia. The champion from Trbovlje sprinted ahead of Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), in his third consecutive second placing, and Spaniard Enric Mas (Team Movistar) on the final ramp. Thanks to today’s success, the Slovenian took the maglia roja from his team-mate Edoardo Affini from Mantova. Roglic thus became the fourth rider in four days at Jumbo Visma to wear the leader’s jersey. In the general classification Primoz now leads his trusted US domestique Sepp Kuss by 13″ with Britain’s Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) third at 26″. Today’s stage was characterised by a long breakaway of a sextet, which started immediately after the start: Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Premiertech), Alexei Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Joan Bou (Euskatel Euskadi), James Shaw (EF Education Easy Post), Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal) and Ander Okamika (Burgos BH). The attackers, whose maximum lead was close to three minutes, were caught after 110 kilometres, just before the Puerto de Herrera, the main climb of the day, located 20 kilometres from the finish. The ascent to this asperity was tackled by the group, reduced to 50 riders. The power shown by Roglic in passing first under the GPM, outsprinting world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), provided clear indications ahead of the final sprint. Approaching the finish, the winner of the last three editions of the Spanish race took off with 400 metres to go. Only Pedersen tried, in vain, to counter him. However, with less than 100 metres to go to the finish line, the Harrogate 2019 world champion was also forced to raise the white flag. Full Results here

Tomorrow the fifth stage will be staged. It will be pedalled through the heart of the Basque Country from Irun to Bilbao along 187 hilly but not particularly hard kilometres. It would appear to be the classic breakaway stage, provided that space is left for the day’s attackers.

After the rest day in Vitoria, the race starts again in the Basque Country with a series of moving stages which will begin to move the classification. After 60km the Puerto de Opakua (5km at 6.9%) will introduce to a continuous lumpy parcours to the finish line, although the only other climb marked by GPMs will be the the Puerto de Herrera (7.3km at 4.8%). The second of the two climbs comes with just under 14.5 km to the finish and features a section in the first part of about 3km at 8% average with many passages in double figures, making it a good springboard for any attackers. A steep and fast descent, not particularly technical, followed by a few kilometres on a gentle climbing, leads to just over 4km from the finish. The final 800 metres of the stage, leading into the historic centre of Laguardia, have an average gradient of close to 10%, so today will suit the puncheurs. It should be emphasised that from this stage onwards, bonus seconds will almost always be awarded on the last GPM, an element that may slightly alter the tactics of the race. Bookmakers Favourites: P Roglic 4, J Alaphilippe 5, R Evenepoel 5, E Hayter 7, S Higuita 12, J Almeida 22, A Valverde 22, S Buitrago 25, Q Pacher 25, J Ayuso 28, R Carapaz 28

Stage 5 – Wed 24 Aug – Irun > Bilbao – 187,2 km; Medium Mountains. Elevation gain 2978m

Soler ends his fasting, Molard takes the Roja

L'arrivo solitario ed esultante di Marc Soler a Bilbao © Vuelta - SprintCycling
Credit Image: © Vuelta – SprintCycling; Words by Simone Gambino

Spaniard Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) won the fifth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, along the 187 kilometres, all on Basque land, from Irun to Bilbao. The Emirati rider’s returns to victory after 668 days and 121 stages in the Grand Tours. Four seconds behind the winner was South African Daryl Impey (Israel Premiertech), who finished ahead of Briton Alfred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). Frenchman Rudy Molard (Groupama FDJ) took the red jersey, thus finding his fifth owner in as many stages. The transalpine, who had already led the Spanish race for four days in 2018, leads the general classification by a two-second margin over Wright with German Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) third at 1’09”. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), who arrived with the peloton 5’09” behind, dropped to fifth place at 4’09” from Molard. Today’s stage lived on a mega breakaway of 18 riders who, especially in the second half of the stage, took off thanks to Jumbo Visma’s decision to loose the leadership jersey. Full results here

Tomorrow the race gets into full swing with stage six featuring the first uphill finish of this edition of the Vuelta. From Bilbao, 181 kilometres will lead to the summit of the Ascension al Pico de Jano. It will be interesting to see the attitude of Roglic and his potential rivals for the final success.

Already here we can begin to outline something with a stage that presents a very intense finale. After an essentially flat first part, the final 90 kilometres are filled with punchy climbs. The first of which is the Puerto de Gontzagarigana (6.5km at 4.5%), then the Balcón de Bizkaia (4.2km at 5.6%) and Alto de Morga (8.6km at 3.5%). After that comes the demanding Alto del Vivero, 4.6 km at an average gradient of 8%, with numerous sections in double figures, a climb that is already quite serious and will be repeated twice. After a long descent, we arrive directly 2 km from the finish line where we can expect to see a reduced bunch sprint. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 8, P Roglic 9, E Hayter 9, A Lutsenko 12, R Evenepoel 15, J Alaphilippe 16, S Higuita 18, T Pinot 20, Q Pacher 25, S Buitrago 28

Stage 6 – Thu 25 Aug – Bilbao > Ascensión al Pico Jano. San Miguel de Aguayo – 181,2 km; Mountains. Elevation gain 4120m

Solo victory for Jay on first summit finish of the Vuelta a España 2022, Evenepoel (second) is the new red jersey

Jay Vine felice all'arrivo di Pico Jano © Vuelta a España - SprintCycling
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Australian Jay Vine (Alpecin Deceuninck) won the sixth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, the highly anticipated first mountain stage from Bilbao to the 181-kilometre Ascension de Pico de Jana. The rider from Townsville, world champion in Zwift (virtual cycling), emerged alone from the fog to take the first victory of his professional career. Behind the winner, 16 seconds behind, was a convincing Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), who was one second ahead of the resurgent Enric Mas (Team Movistar). Also worthy of mention was the performance of 19-year-old Spaniard Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), who finished fourth at 55″. Evenepoel thus took the red jersey, which changed hands for the sixth consecutive day. The Flemish millennial now has a 21″ lead over former leader Rudy Molard (Groupama FDJ) with Mas third at 28″. Primoz Roglic, on a bad day, limited the damage. The Slovenian is now fourth in the classification at 1’01” from the leader, followed by Ayuso, fifth at 1’12”. The Vuelta 2022 has definitely got into its stride. Today’s stage followed the traditional line of the day’s unsuccessful breakaway. Among the attackers, where Fausto Masnada (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) and the young Ukrainian Mark Padun (EF Education Easy Post), who was the last to give way, caught and overtaken with 5 kilometres to go by Vine. The rider from Queensland had the merit of anticipating the big boys by starting at minus 10 from the finish on the first ramps of the final climb. Within a couple of kilometres the relentless work of the Wolfpack, in which world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) had distinguished himself, was paying off. Evenepoel took the lead of the peloton with seven kilometres to go. In an irresistible progression, Remco took all his rivals off the wheel except Mas. Vine, however, held out in front, deservedly taking the victory of the day. Full results here

Tomorrow will see the seventh stage from Camargo to Cisterna along 190 kilometres characterised by a very long, but not too demanding, climb at the halfway point. This is the Puerto de San Glorio, whose 22 kilometres will have an average gradient of 5.5%. Let it finally be the time for a winning breakaway.

From the Basque Country we head towards Asturias, which will then take centre stage on the second weekend. It is undeniably one of the best-designed stages of the entire Vuelta, being of fair length, with a demanding but not excessive uphill finish and preceded by another steeper climb, for a total elevation gain of around 4000 metres. The route is lively right from the start and encounters its first real climb after about 70 km, the Puerto de Alisas (8.7 km at 5.8%), a regular climb that is useful for hardening up the stage. Before the second official GPM, the unclassified, just after Puente Viesgo, Alto de Hijas, of around 4 km at 7%. In a little over 10 km you arrive at the foot of the steepest climb, the 6.8 km at 8.2% of the Collado de Brenes, with numerous sections in double figures.

This is followed by a rather technical descent, 4 very fast km and 7 km of uphill valley floor. Even before the official climb, the road goes up for more than 2 km to Quevedo, and then a 1 km descent to the foot of the final ascent of 12.6 km at 6.6%, broken into two sections: after a few hundred metres, the first (most demanding) section of more than 5 km begins, at around 8.5% average; the road becomes easy for a couple of kilometres, passing the Alsa dam, then a right turn and the second section of 4 km at 6.8% begins. Nothing impossible, but given the concatenation with the previous climb, it can be an interesting stage, undoubtedly one of the most demanding of this Vuelta. Bookmakers Favourites: P Roglic 4, A Lutsenko 12, J Vine 12, R Evenepoel 16, E Mas 21, J Hindley 26, MA Lopez 26, S Yates 26, T Pinot 26, S Buitrago 28, R Taaramae 28, J Almeida 31, R Carapaz 36.

Stage 7 – Fri 26 Aug – Camargo > Cistierna – 190 km; Medium Mountains. Elevation gain 3359m

The joy of Jesús. Herrada wins in Cistierna beating his fellow escapees

La gioia di Jesús Herrada per la vittoria di tappa © Vuelta a España - SprintCycling
Credit Image: © Vuelta – SprintCycling; Words by Simone Gambino

Spaniard Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) won the seventh stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, from Camargo in Cantabria to Cistierna in the province of Leon, a distance of 190 kilometres. The two-time champion of Spain sprinted ahead of Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) from Treviso and Britain’s Alfred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) at the end of a long breakaway. For the first time since the start of the Vuelta, the general classification remained unchanged with Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) in the jersey roja. The Flemish millennial boasts a margin of 21″ over the previous leader, Frenchman Rudy Molard (Groupama FDJ), with Iberian Enric Mas (Team Movistar) third at 28″. Today finally saw the day’s breakaway go away. Six riders took off at the start: Herrada, Battistella, Wright, Dutchman Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin Deceuninck), Australian Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) and Israel Premiertech’s Omer Goldstein. Having built up a lead of four minutes on an initially listless peloton, the escapees overcame the day’s only rough climb, the long but not gritty Puerto de San Glorio, losing the rider from Israel Premiertech along the way. In the last part of the race there was a late reaction from the peloton, which eventually closed to within 25 seconds of the escapees. The sprint was the prerogative of Herrada, certainly the most experienced rider among the attackers, who was able to resist the return of Battistella. Full results here

Tomorrow the eighth stage will be staged. They will ride 153 intense kilometres from La Pola to the 1,088 metres of Collau Fancuaya. With no less than six GPMs scattered along a route that will not feature a metre of flat, it promises to be a potentially explosive day in which the contenders for overall success will be able to hide.

The race departs Cantabria and travels west over 70km of lumpy terrain into beautiful Asturias. After 100km the peloton meets the major climb of the day: the Puerto de San Glorio 64km from the finish. Nothing dreadful, but a climb of 22.4km at an average of 5.5% and several stretches at 7/8%. From here on it’s downhill for just under 7km before a long valley floor almost all in favour leading to the finish in Cistierna. Today stage offers a real opportunity for stage hunters. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 5, E Hayter 10, F Wright 11, D Impey 13, R Stannard 16, N Arndt 16, Q Pacher 26.

Stage 8 – Sat 27 Aug – La Pola Llaviana/Pola de Laviana > Colláu Fancuaya. Yernes y Tameza – 153,4 km; Mountains. Elevation gain 3741m

Jay Vine takes his second stage with Evenepoel in full control

Jay Vine esulta sul traguardo di Colláu Fancuaya © Getty Images
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Australian Jay Vine (Alpecin Deceuninck) won the eighth stage of the 77th Vuelta a España, the explosive 153-kilometre stage from Pola de Laviana to Collau de Fancuaya, repeating his previous success on the Pico de Jano. In second place, separated by 43″, was the increasingly convincing Spaniard Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), who beat Estonian Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché Wanty Gobert). Without undergoing any upheavals, the general classification was rationalised with Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) confirming his red jersey with a 28″ lead over Iberian Enric Mas (Movistar Team) with the winner of the last three editions, Slovenian Primož Roglič (Jumbo Visma), third at 1’09”. The name of this year’s winner is very unlikely to come out of this trio. As is now customary, the race again today followed the traditional script of parallel development. In front a breakaway, kept at a safe distance, and behind the classification men who waited for the final asperity to do battle. Today’s breakaway was made up of some excellent names: Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), in the hunt for points for the green jersey, Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), the Groupama FDJ trio of Thibaut Pinot, Sebastian Reichenbach and Bruno Armirail, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange Jayco) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), in addition to Soler, Taaramäe and Vine. It was the latter who brought everyone together with a peremptory sprint with eight kilometres to go that induced the former breakaway companions to surrender. Behind, mainly thanks to world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), the Wolfpack made a conspicuous but not decisive selection. Full results here

Tomorrow will be the ninth stage, which will precede the second rest day. They will ride from Villaviciosa to Les Praeres Nava along 171 kilometres including no less than five GPMs. The last one, which will take the riders to the finish line, will have heart-stopping gradients with its 3,900 metres at 13% with peaks of 24%. Good viewing for all.

An Asturian stage with six categorised climbs and a total elevation gain once again exceeding 3,500 metres. The stage opens with the Alto de la Colladona climb (6.4 km at 7%) and this climb with be relevant to the overall balance of the stage. After 20 km of descent and in rapid succession the Alto de la Mozqueta (6.8 km at 6.6%, with a section of over 4 km at 8%) and the Alto de Santo Emiliano (5.7 km at 5.3%), that may definitely see the formation of the gruppetto and cause problems to the lesser in form GC contenders. The next climbs, the Puerto de Tenebredo (5.3 km at 6.2%, with a first section of 2 km at 9%) and the Puerto de Perlavia (4 km at 7. 7%), are also tough, with short steep stretches, but will be followed by a long valley floor section before the final climb that could lead to wait and see tactics.

The race will be decided by the ascent to the Collado Fancuaya, 10.1 km at an average gradient of 8.5%, a maximum gradient of 19% halfway up and two peaks at 17% in the last 2 km with the final 700 metres go up to almost 11%. Bookmakers Favourites: J Vine 7, R Evenepoel 8, P Roglic 9, S Buitrago 11, M Padun 11, E Mas 14, T Pinot 16, A Lutsenko 16.

Stage 9 – Sun 28 Aug – Villaviciosa > Les Praeres. Nava – 171,4 km; Mountains. Elevation gain 3675m

Meintjes wins, Evenepoel dominates

Credit Image: @gettyimages; Words by Simone Gambino

The South African Louis Meintjes (Intermarché Wanty Gobert) won the ninth stage of the 77th Vuelta a España, which took the riders from Villaviciosa to Les Praeres Nava along 153 kilometres of continuous ups and downs with a final climb of 3,900 metres with an average gradient of 12% and peaks of up to 24%. Behind the winner came two Italians. The Trevisan Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), 1’01” behind, repeated Friday’s place of honour, preceding 21-year-old Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious), third at 1’14 from Meintjes. Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), fourth at 1’34” from the winner, consolidated his lead in the general classification. The Roja jersey now boasts 1’12 on Enric Mas (Team Movistar) with Primož Roglič (Jumbo Visma) 1’53” behind. On the eve of the second rest day, the Flemish millennial seems to have made hay on the road to a final victory which, should it come, would break a 44-year-long Belgian fast in grand tours, the last success being that of Johan De Muynck at the 1978 Giro d’Italia. The stage unfolded with the breakaway of nine attackers who reached a maximum advantage over the peloton of 5’24” at the halfway point. Behind, the Wolfpack controlled without tearing itself apart, making sure that the escapees’ margin did not become too large. On the final climb, Remco, always in progression without ever snapping, made selection, detaching without too much difficulty all the rivals for the final success, who appeared powerless in the face of such superiority. Only the top three of the day’s escapees managed to stay ahead of Evenepoel.

On Tuesday, after a rest with a transfer to the Costa Blanca, the tenth stage, the only individual time trial in this edition of the Spanish race, will be staged. It will be 31 kilometres all flat from Elche to Alicante. It would be no surprise if the man in the roja jersey were to prevail.

A stage similar to the previous one but longer and with another summit finish, the brutal Les Praeres climb. The stage is nonetheless demanding already after the slightly undulating first 50 km and once again totalling more than 3,000 metres of altitude gain. Alto del Torno (7.6 km at 6%, with 3 km at 9%) is the first categorised climb and it is followed, at km 84, by the Mirador del Fito (9 km at 6%, with stretches at 8/9%), the Alto de la Llama (7.1 km at 5.1%) and La Campa (9.3 km at 4.1%).

The grand finale is on the ramps of Las Praeres (3.9 km, avg 12.9%, max 24%) which kicks up to 16% in the first 2.2 km and with several demanding stretches above 20%. Bookmakers Favourites: R Evenepoel 3, P Roglic 4, J Vine 7, S Buitrago 12, M Padun 12, E Mas 14, S Yates 16.

Rest day – Mon 29 Aug

Stage 10 – Tue 30 Aug – Elche > Alicante – 30,9 km; Time Trial. Elevation gain 179m

Remco no limits

Remco Evenepoel impegnato nella cronometro alla Vuelta 2022 © Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
Credit Image: © Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl; Words by Simone Gambino

The Red jersey Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) won the 11th stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, the only individual time trial of this edition. With a sumptuous performance, the Flemish millennial covered the 30.9 kilometres from Elche to Alicante at the fantastic average of 55.658 km/h, beating Olympic time trial champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) by 48 seconds and inflicting one minute on the third-placed teammate, French specialist Remi Cavagnà (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl). Today’s victory, Evenepoel’s first in a grand tour stage, gives the 22-year-old from Schepdaal a reassuring lead in the general classification. Roglic is now 2’41” behind and Enric Mas (Team Movistar), who drifted away in the closing stages of the time trial and was almost caught by Evenepoel at the finish line, third at 3’03”. The stage, flatter than a pool table, provided some unequivocal answers as to the fate of the Vuelta Espana 2022. Although the halfway mark will only be passed tomorrow, it seems clear that little less than a sporting miracle will be needed to deny the rising star of world cycling his first success in a major stage race. It will take a combination of legs, courage and creativity to try and break the bank. It remains to be seen how Evenepoel will handle the unfamiliar territory of the third week of the race, moreover, with a team not exactly suited for stage racing.

Tomorrow will see the eleventh stage from El Pozo Alimentacion to Cabo de Gata. It will be 191 uneventful kilometres that will wink at the sprinters for the first time since the race entered Spanish territory.

This is a crucial stage in this Vuelta: some of the most altimetrically demanding stages are already behind us, and a 30km time trial could carve out much larger gaps than the remaining two weeks might allow. It is a very linear and almost completely flat route, long straights and even goes slightly downhill in the opening 16 kilometres, well suited to specialists. The final part of the stage can also be tricky especially if the wind is blowing as the riders traverse the Levante coastline for around 10km. The riders will then pass the port of Alicante, before heading to the city centre where the finish line is located after an easy and short bump at 2 km from the race end. This time trial could decide the race and will undoubtedly condition the remaining stages. Temperatures of up to 35°C (perceived up to 39°C) are expected, with the wind in Alicante blowing steadily from SSW up to a maximum of 15 km/h. Bookmaker favourites: R Evenepoel 2, E Hayter 7, R Dennis 8, P Roglic 10, T Arensman 12, R Cavagna 25, J Almeida 40, M Pedersen 40.

Stage 11 – Wed 31 Aug – ElPozo Alimentación > Cabo de Gata – 191,2 km; Flat. Elevation gain 1592m

La volata vinta da Kaden Groves a Cabo de Gata © BikeExchange-Jayco - Getty Images Sport
Credit Image: © BikeExchange-Jayco – Getty Images Sport; Words by Simone Gambino

Australian Kaden Groves (BikeExchange Jayco) won the eleventh stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana from El Pozo Alimentacion to Cabo de Gata. The sprinter prevailed in the bunch sprint ahead of Dutchman Danny Van Poppel (Bora Hansgrohe) and Belgian champion Tim Merlier (Alpecin Deceuninck). The general classification remained unchanged with Flemish Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) keeping 2’43” on Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and 3’01” on Iberian Enric Mas (Team Movistar). Even before the start the day was under a bad star with the announcement that five riders had tested positive for Covid, including Englishman Simon Yates (BikeExchange Jayco), fifth in the general classification, and Russian Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), ninth in the classification. Add to this the news of the withdrawal of world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) due to a crash 60 kilometres from the finish, and a bleak picture emerges. The stage lived on the breakaway attempt of three riders: Dutchman Jetse Bol (Burgos BH), Spaniard Joan Bou (Euskatel Euskadi) and Czech Vojtech Repa (Equipo Kern Pharma). The three attackers, who started after three kilometres, were caught with less than fifty to go, having reached a maximum advantage of three minutes. Full results here

Tomorrow the twelfth act of this edition of the Vuelta will be staged. There will be 193 kilometres to cover in Andalusian territory from Salobrena to Penas Blancas. The last 19 will feature a long climb with an average gradient of 7%, and a maximum of 15%, which should spur attacks on the red jersey.

The sprinters cannot let this opportunity slip away, not least because the remaining two theoretically flat stages of the remaining three feature uphill finishes that wink at punters or even explosive GC men, as has happened in past editions. It should be noted that the stage runs almost entirely by the sea and could be windswept. The roads to the finish in Cabo de Gata are undulating with some short climbs that shouldn’t create any trouble the sprinters. A brunch sprint is widely expected with lots of work for the best sprinters teams lead-out trains. Bookmakers favourites: T Merlier 2, M Pedersen 3, P Ackermann 5, K Groves 8, D McLay 12, D Van Poppel 12, B Coquard 20.

Stage 12 – Thu 1 Sep – Salobreña > Peñas Blancas. Estepona – 192,7 km; Flat with uphill finale. Elevation gain 3238m

The revenge of Carapaz and the control of Evenepoel

Carapaz c'è: suo l'arrivo in salita di Estepona © Ineos Grenadiers-Getty Images
Credit Image: © Ineos Grenadiers-Getty Images; Words by Simone Gambino

Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won the 12th stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, which took the riders from Salobrena to Penas Blancas along 193 kilometres, all flat except for the final 19 that led to the finish line. The Ecuadorian was nine seconds ahead of Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe) with Spaniard Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) third at 24″. The men in the general classification finished 7’30” behind with the jersey roja Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) in total control of the situation despite a crash apparently without consequences 50 kilometres from the finish. The Flemish millennial, in the context of an unchanged general classification, retains a margin of 2’41” over Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) with Iberian Enric Mas (Team Movistar) third at 3’03. Thanks to today’s breakaway, Kelderman is now partially back in the rankings, 6’28” behind the roja jersey. A full-bodied attack of 32 riders took off in the total disinterest of the peloton. It was only when the fateful ten-minute mark was reached that the Wolfpack made a slight acceleration, which served to shave off two and a half minutes on the final climb, in which no one was able to trouble Evenepoel. Full results here

Tomorrow will be the thirteenth stage. They will ride from Ronda to Montilla for 168 kilometres, which would seem to be an ideal prelude to a bunch sprint. On the other hand, with the demanding weekend in the Sierra Nevada just around the corner, logic suggests a semi-rest day tomorrow.

This is the longest stage of the 2022 Vuelta a España. A flat stage for 120km followed by the long and easy Puerto de Ojen climb (not even marked as a GPM), and then a descent to Marbella followed by another flat 25km. After 172km, from this point the tough Peñas Blancas climb. The finish is not the same as in 2013, but 300 metres higher: a very long climb of 19 km at 6.7%, with several double digit peaks (max 15%). It is an irregular climb that begin the riders from sea level to an elevation of 1,270 metres.

We can expect to see gaps in the fight for the overall general classification here, although a breakaway will certainly be difficult to control and may be able to succeed. Leopold König won on Peñas Blancas the last time the Vuelta arrived to the climb back in 2013. Bookmakers Favourites: J Vine 5, R Evenepoel 6, P Roglic 14, M Padun 15, S Buitrago 16, T Pinot 20, M Soler 21, S Higuita 21, L Meintjes 26, E Mas 26, G Mader 26, R Carapaz 26, A Lutsenko 28.

Stage 13 – Fri 2 Sep – Ronda > Montilla – 168,4 km; Flat. Elevation gain 1766m

Finally Pedersen

Mads Pedersen vince a Montilla davanti a Bryan Coquard
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) sprinted to victory on the thirteenth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, which took the riders from Ronda to Montilla over 168 kilometres with no altitude difficulties. The 2019 world champion in Harrogate (GB) finally achieved success after three second places in this edition of the Spanish race, and he is now close to win the green jersey of the points classification. Behind him on the slightly uphill finish was Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and German Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates). The general classification remained unchanged, with Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) keeping the Roja jersey with an advantage of 2’41” over Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and 3’03” over Iberian Enric Mas (Team Movistar). As was to be expected, the stage was run at a reduced pace, also in view of what awaits the riders at the weekend. Of course there was no shortage of the traditional day’s breakaway, which featured Belgian Julius van den Berg (EF Education EasyPost) and Spaniards Ander Okamika (Burgos BH) and Joan Bou (Euskalte-Euskadi). Starting after five kilometres, the trio, who had a maximum advantage of three minutes, was caught at minus nine kilometre from the finish. Full results here

Tomorrow, the awaited fourteenth stage will start from Montoro to arrive, after 160 kilometres, at the 1,820 metres of altitude of the Sierra de la Pandera, a finish that has been decisive several times in the history of the Vuelta Espana. Shortly after the halfway stage there will be a first asperity to be tackled, the Puerto de Siete Pilillas. It remains, however, difficult to imagine anyone among the classification men moving before the final climb that will lead to the finish.

As anticipated here is one of the sprinters’ stages that ends on an uphill short climb. The stage as a whole is already pretty rough, even though it has no GPMs and closes with a final stretch of over 6km almost all uphill: first uphill for 4km at 3% to Montilla, then a short descent and then a slightly uphill again in the last kilometre. An abnormal final, where the purest sprinters, is stage 13 a reward for the sprinters who have made it to this point in the race? Bookmakers favourites: M Pedersen 3, D Van Poppel 5, T Merlier 11, B Coquard 11, K Groves 12, P Roglic 16, M Teunissen 17, P Ackermann 20.

Stage 14 – Sat 3 Sep – Montoro > Sierra de La Pandera – 160,3 km; Mountain. Elevation gain 3312m

Second success of Richard Carapaz and Primoz Roglic reopens the race

Secondo successo di tappa per Richard Carapaz alla Vuelta 2022
Credit Image: @EPA/Javier Lizon; Words by Simone Gambino

The Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won the fourteenth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana after a long breakaway, which took the riders from Montoro to the 1,820 metres of altitude of the Sierra de la Pandera, after 160 kilometres full of roughness. The Ecuadorian thus repeated his success of 48 hours ago at the finish in Penas Blancas, in front of Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan Team) and a resurgent Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) by eight seconds. The red jersey Remco Evenepoel, struggling on the final climb, crossed the finish line in eighth position, 56 seconds behind the winner. The general classification shortened accordingly, with the Flemish millenial seeing his lead over the Slovenian, winner of the last three editions of the Spanish race, shrink to 1’49”. Iberian Enric Mas (Team Movisar) retained third position in the general classification, with a delay of 2’43” from Evenepoel. The breakaway, formed after 50 kilometres, was almost caught by the best on the final climb, except for El Diablito who managed to keep a minimum advantage with which to secure his fourth victory of the season. The breakaway group of the day consisted of 10 riders: France’s Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroën Team), Kazakhstan’s Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), Franchman’s Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ), Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Italian Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal), Frenchman Kenny Elissonde and Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), German Marco Brenner (Team DSM) and Iberian Raul Garcia Pierna (Equipo Kern Pharma). The attackers reached a maximum advantage of 4’20” as they passed the Puerto de Siete Pilillas GPM with 50 kilometres to go. At this point, the gradual comeback of the peloton began. It was only at minus 20 km from the finish, with the gap still 3’30”, that the music changed with Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) decisively upping the pace. Five kilometres from the finish, with the top group having reduced the margin to one minute, two decisive episodes occurred almost simultaneously. Roglic sprinted away, not pursued by Evenepoel, who gradually got into trouble and was also overtaken by all the other classification men. At the same time, Carapaz, realising that he would not be able to win the stage without further acceleration, broke away at the front. Behind, Mas and Lopez were catching up with the Slovenian, with the Iberian, however, giving way abruptly in the last kilometre. Evenepoel initially lost almost a minute, but then found, with two kilometres to go, a last ration of energy that allowed him to limit the damage. The final kilometre downhill saved Carapaz from a comeback by Lopez and Roglic. Full results here

Tomorrow there will be no time to lick one’s wounds. The 15th stage will take the riders from Martos to the highest point of this edition of the Vuelta: the 2,512 metres above sea level of the Alto Hoya de la Mora in the Sierra Nevada. There will only be 153 kilometres to go with another GPM, the Alto del Purche, at minus 40 from the finish. The final showdown, however, will take place on the final 20,000 metres with an average gradient of 8% that will repeatedly reach double figures. In 24 hours we should have a clearer idea of the final fate of the red jersey 2022.

This stage offers one of the most demanding uphill finish of this Vuelta edition. The first 85km are undulating but without any ascents. Once the race reaches the town of Jaén itself that the route will begin to go up, although the 10 km at 3.3% in Puerto de Siete Pilillas are unlikely to cause any problem to the bunch.  After a descent the road will offer a couple more uncategorised bumps, before the most demanding part of the stage will begin. Two climbs, separated by only 3.7km of flat, which added together total a hefty 18.8km of ascent up to the day’s summit finish. The climb to the Pandera is approached by one of the most demanding roads, crossing Puerto de Los Villares from the north (10.4 km at 5.5%, with a central stretch of 3 km at 7.1%).


Finally, the final climb, undoubtedly one of the most fascinating in Spain, not least because of the rather high altitude, formally 8.4km at 7.8% but distorted by the downhill section in the last kilometre: it comes to a halt after 7.3km at an average of 9% and several sections at 15%. Then a short, steep descent before the last few hundred metres still uphill, with the final 500m marked by a steep ramp of 15% followed by a final section at 6.7%. Bookmakers Favourites: R Carapaz 7, R Evenepoel 8, M Padun 11, J Vine 13, P Roglic 14, M Soler 18, T Pinot 18.

Stage 15 – Sun 4 Sep – Martos > Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora. Monachil – 153 km; Mountain. Elevation gain 4018m

Thymen Arensman wins at Sierra Nevada as Primoz Roglic gains more time on Remco Evenepoel.

Thymen Arensman incredulo sul traguardo: la Sierra Nevada è sua © Team DSM Twitter
Credit Image: © Team DSM Twitter; Words by Simone Gambino

Dutchman Thymen Aresman (Team DSM) soloed to victory on the 15th stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, which took the riders from Martos to the 2,512-metre Alto Hoya de la Mora in the Sierra Nevada. Here, in addition to the finish line of the day, was the Cima Alberto Fernandez, the highest point of the Iberian race equivalent to our Cima Coppi, dedicated to the great Spanish climber of the 1980s, who tragically died in a car accident. The 22-year-old from Tulip was 1’23” ahead of an unusually spirited Enric Mas (Team Movisar) with Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan Team) third at 1’25”. With a sprint with 1,500 metres to go, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), who finished fifth at 1’44”, gained 15 seconds on the maglia roja Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), who in turn finished tenth at 1’59” from the winner. All this led to a partial recompaction of the classification with the Flemish millennial still in the lead with 1’34” over the Olympic time trial champion and 2’01” over Mas.

The stage, only 153 kilometres long, lived on the wait for the final climb. Evenepoel wisely placed two of his domestiques in the day’s 30-strong breakaway: Fausto Masnada from Bergamo and compatriot Louis Vervaeke (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl Team). It was precisely the latter, picked up on the road at minus 15 from the finish in the middle of the final climb, who played a decisive role, setting the pace for several kilometres. Roglic, for his part, found himself without support from his team. The Slovenian gives the impression in his attacks that he currently has a limited range, perhaps no more than two kilometres. The one who tried to do something more today was certainly Mas who, making use of the temporary alliance with Lopez, recovered 42 seconds from Evenepoel. The fact is that, faced with attacks from both of his antagonists, the young Flemish rider kept his cool and limited the chronometric damage to acceptable terms. Similar to the previous day’s result, all the attackers from afar were caught today, except for one: the young Dutchman, whose performance today explained why Ineos Grenadiers hired him for next season.

Tomorrow will be the third and final rest day. After that there will be six fractions left on the road to Madrid: two, starting with stage 16 on Tuesday, from Sanlucar to Tomares along 189 flat kilometres, will be for sprinters while the other four, three of which have a climbing finish, should not be too tough, although they should present some altitude difficulties. Ten years ago, in a similar situation, Alberto Contador, at the time decidedly less fit than his rivals for the final success, Joaquin Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde, wrote the most beautiful page of his career. With a seemingly crazy and ill-advised attack with more than 100 kilometres to go in the Santander – Fuente De, he surprised his two rivals by winning the second of his three vuelte. Roglic and Mas may need a pinch of the Madrid supremo’s creativity to turn the situation around in the coming days.

A crucial day, undoubtedly the most likely to shake up the cards, both because there are two demanding climbs and because it is the only one to exceed 2,000 metres in altitude. The combination takes place on fairly traditional Vuelta roads: first up the Alto del Puche from Monachil, then to Sierra Nevada from Guejar Sierra; all of which is preceded by a hundred or so relatively easy kilometres, moved especially in the first few kilometres where the first formal climb of the day, the Puerto del Castillo, is taken. The first of the two climbs immediately presents steep gradients, being formally 9.1 km at 7.6%, but with a section of around 6.5 km averaging just under 10%, before descending briefly and covering the last 700 metres again in double figures. A very fast descent leads to the foot of the unmarked climb to Guejar Serra, which is about 6 km at 5%, but uneven; then we pass the village with a couple of kilometres of false-flat and descend steeply towards Rio Genil for a good kilometre. After the bridge the final climb of Sierra Nevada begins, 22.3 km at 6.9% average; the climb is clearly divided into two parts: the 7.2 km at 10% average of the Alto de Haza Llanas and the following more or less pedalable section (with the exception of a few short ramps through the ski resort) of 15 km at 5.8%. Bookmakers Favourites: MA Lopez 3, P Roglic 4, Carapaz 9, E Mas 18, M Padun 20, R Evenepoel 21, M Landa 21, T Pinot 22, J Vine 25, J Almeida 25, J Ayuso 25, H Carthy 25.

Rest Day – Mon 5 Sep

Stage 16 – Tue 6 Sep – Sanlúcar de Barrameda > Tomares – 189,4 km; Flat. Elevation gain 1076m

Stage to Mads Pedersen ahead of Danny van Poppel, Pascal Ackermann and Fred Wright. Incredible crash by Roglic in the finale

Mads Pedersen vince a Tomares, sullo sfondo Primoz Roglic finito per terra © Trek-Segafredo - SprintCycling
Credit Image:  © Trek-Segafredo – SprintCycling; Words by Simone Gambino

Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) sprinted to victory on the sixteenth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, which took the riders from Sanlucar to Tomares over 189 flat kilometres. The green jersey with this victory secured his success in Madrid in the points classification. Behind him came, in order, the German Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) and the Dutchman Danny Van Poppel (Bora Hansgrohe). Up to 2,700 metres from the finish line banner, the race was boring with little to tell. The usual breakaway of the day of two riders from the Spanish teams invited by the organisers, Ander Okamika (Burgos BH) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel Euskadi), fulfilled the function of the supporting characters waiting for the only spendable event of the day: the final sprint. Then, in the space of half a minute, came the double twist. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) made a surprise attack, taking advantage of a bit of an uphill bump. Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) in the red jersey, did not go after him. Following the champion from Trbovlje was Ackermann, imitated by Pedersen, Van Poppel and the Englishman Alfred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). Behind, meanwhile, Evenepoel had a puncture and was left stranded for a long time due to the late arrival of his mechanics. With the race being in the final three kilometres, where the neutralisation regime is in force, the incident should have no chronometric consequences for the race leader. Roglic, at the front, continued to pull ahead, unaware of his Flemish rival’s puncture. When he reached the 200-metre mark, the Slovenian sprinted past the three sprinters who were competing for the day’s victory and then tried to catch up with Wright, who was also out of the running for the win. It is unclear whether the Olympic time trial champion and the Londoner actually touched at this juncture. Roglic, however, ended up on the ground at the sign indicating 75 metres to go. He promptly got back up, pushing his bike on foot to the finish, which he crossed 48 seconds behind the winner. Evenepoel, for his part, arrived smiling at 3’23”. The jury credited Roglic with an eight-second gain in the classification over Evenepoel, with the Slovenian being assigned the winner’s time, while the maglia roja would be credited with that of the first chasing group. If that were the case, the general classification would see the Flemish millennial retain a 1’26” lead over the Slovenian with Spaniard Enric Mas (Team Movisar) still third at 2’01”. That said, the condition of Primoz, who was lying on the ground for a long time after the finish with a bleeding knee, will have to be ascertained. Full Results here

Tomorrow’s stage, the 17th of the Vuelta Espana 2022, will travel over 162 kilometres from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentudia. Where the ups and downs will be continuous, only the last ten kilometres may give rise to a battle between the GC men, although the gradient of the final climb, never exceeding 7%, will make drastic selection difficult.

After the rest day it is time for another stage without a GPM, that will theoretically end with a bunch sprint. However, the stage gets a little complicated in the very last kilometres. With 11 km to go, a first uphill section of almost 3 km, with a central 1 km section at 8%, leading to Valencina de la Concepcion. With 3.5 km to go it is back uphill again in the town of Tomares, for about 1 km at 6.5% and with a short section in double figures; after 1 km slightly uphill on a false flat and slight descent we arrive at the last 1500 metres again slightly uphill (average 2.5%). The finale is therefore decidedly demanding, and although the finishing straight is not so steep as to be able to cut out the fast wheels, the approach section is decidedly hostile for the purest sprinters. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 3, B Coquard 9, D Van Poppel 9, P Ackermann 9, F Wright 12, P Roglic 16, K Groves 18, T Merlier 22, Q Pacher 28.

Stage 17 – Wed 7 Sep – Aracena > Monasterio de Tentudía – 162,3 km; Flat with uphill finish. Elevation gain 2755m

Rigoberto completes the trio

Rigoberto Urán batte Quentin Pacher e Jesús Herrada al Monasterio de Tentudía
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Colombian Rigoberto Uran (EF Education Easy Post) won the 17th stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, held over 162 kilometres in Extremadura from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentudia, prevailing over a small group at the end of the final climb. The London 2012 Olympic silver medallist was ahead of Frenchman Quentin Pacher (Groupama FDJ) with Spaniard Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) taking third, two seconds back. Uran with this success joins the small group of riders capable of winning at least one stage in each of the three grand tours. There were no changes in a general classification which had been altered in the morning by the withdrawal of the second placed rider, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma). Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) remains solid in the red jersey with an advantage of 2’01” over Spaniard Enric Mas (Team Movisar) while Iberian baby Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) strengthens his third position at 4’51 from the Fleming. The news that everyone was waiting for came shortly before ten o’clock in the morning. Although Roglic had not suffered any serious injuries in the crash just before the finish line in Tomares, he was unable to take the start in Aracena. The Slovenian’s withdrawal turned the fight for overall victory in this Vuelta into a duel between Evenepoel and Mas. The stage then developed according to the well-established pattern of the day’s breakaway, which today consisted of the following thirteen riders Luxembourger Bob Jungels and transalpine Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën Team), the other Frenchmen Quentin Pacher (Groupama FDJ), Elie Gesbert (Arkéa Samsic) and Simon Guglielmi (Arkéa-Samsic), Spaniards Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Colombian Rigoberto Uran (EF Education Easy Post), Italian Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Premier Tech), American Lawson Craddock (Team BikeExchange), Swiss Gino Mader and Briton Alfred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). The attack, which materialised after fifty kilometres of racing, gradually took shape thanks to the total disinterest of the peloton, reaching a maximum advantage of 7’30” with 50 kilometres to go. At minus 20, on a downhill stretch preceding the final climb, Craddock set off and gained 15 seconds on the rest of the attackers. The American, pedalling at a good pace, caused the breakaway group of attackers to disintegrate, from which Uran, Pacher, Herrada and Soler emerged in pursuit. It was above all the Colombian who kept up the pace, perfecting the rejoining just under the banner of the last kilometre. It was then Herrada’s turn to try his luck, but the winner of the Cistierna stage ran out of petrol with three hundred metres to go. Rigoberto, at this point, set off, winning after controlling Pacher’s potentially dangerous comeback attempt. Behind, the great work of Movistar, coordinated by the eternal Valverde, did not bear fruit. Mas sprinted a couple of times, finding, however, Evenepoel always ready to answer him. Objectively, something more will be needed from the Balearic rider if he is to take the maglia roja from the Belgian millennial. Full results here

Tomorrow the eighteenth stage will take the riders over 192 kilometres from Trujillo to the 1,166 metres of the Alto de Piornal, an unprecedented finish in the history of the Spanish race that will be tackled twice. Considering that the ascent, with its 13 kilometres that never exceed 7% gradient, does not appear to be suitable terrain for generating large gaps, it would perhaps be appropriate for Movistar, also in view of the objective numerical advantage it has over Quick Step, to animate the race from the first transit, planned for 50 kilometres from the finish.

!!! Primoz Roglic out of Vuelta a Espana after yesterday stage 16 crash !!!!

This stage is lively in its entirety, albeit without any significant roughness; so much so that the only GPM is placed at the finish line, at the top of a climb that does not even have accentuated gradients: a pedalable climb with little space for spectacular initiatives. The route heads north at first, leaving Andalucia and the peloton will travel downhill for the first 25km where the battle for the breakaway of the day will start. Then the race will enter the region of Extremadura and the riders will go towards the town of Calera de León, via an intermediate sprint in Segura de León. From Calera de León the route turns south as the stage heads to its final destination, the monastery of Tentudía. The ascent up to the monastery is classified as second category. Listed as a 10.3km climb with a 5% average gradient, but the reality is more complex. With a short flat and even a downhill section in the middle of the climb, the most challenging are the last 4 km, which have an average gradient of 7.7% and a short double-digit ramp in the first few hundred metres. Bookmaker Favourites: R Carapaz 6, M Soler 10, S Higuita 10, J Vine 14, A Valverde 15, MA Lopez 16, E Mas 16.

Stage 18 – Thu 8 Sep – Trujillo > Alto de Piornal – 192 km; Mountain. Elevation gain 3680m

The seal of Remco

Vince all'Alto del Piornal, continua a dominare la Vuelta a España: Remco Evenepoel!
Credit Image:; Words by Simone Gambino

Red jersey Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) won the eighteenth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, which travelled 192 kilometres from Trujillo to the 1,166-metre Alto de Piornal, an unprecedented finish in the history of the Spanish race. The Flemish millennial was two seconds ahead of his rival in the general classification, Spaniard Enric Mas (Team Movisar), and Dutchman Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma), the last survivor of the day’s breakaway, who was caught by the duellists 300 metres from the finish line. Evenepoel thus shored up his advantage in the general classification. Mas, still second in the classification, is now 2’05” behind with the not yet 20-year-old Iberian Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) in third at 5’14”.

Today’s stage was one of tactical anarchy. A crash at the start involved Carlos Rodgriguez (Ineos Grenadiers), fourth in the classification at the start, and Australian Jay Vine (Alpecin Deceuninck), leader of the climbers’ classification. The Spanish champion was able to restart, but paid the price at the finish, while the Kangaroo was forced to retire with the polka dot jersey passing onto the shoulders of Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers). After an hour of racing, a group of 42 riders, practically a third of those remaining in the race, formed at the front. At the halfway stage they could count on an eight-minute lead over the bulk of the peloton. Shaking up the race at this point was Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). The Portuguese rider, eager to move up in the classification, staged a new version of the Trofeo Baracchi, starting first in the company of team-mate Brandon McNulty. After some thirty kilometres the Texan recovered, giving way to Ivo Oliveira, who was stopped by the flagship while in the group of outriders. Finally, it was Marc Soler, also originally among the attackers, who took it upon himself to complete the pursuit of the Lusitano. Almeida’s action generated a reaction from Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqastan), who was keen to defend his place in the rankings from the Portuguese’s attack. The Colombian deployed his team at the front of the peloton, calling out Vincenzo Nibali, who was also among the escapees at first.

All these accelerations had the result of bringing the race back together. At the start of the final climb, in fact, a sextet of Carapaz, Gesink, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), Englishman Hugh Carty (EF Education Easy Post), Colombian Sergio Higuita (Bora Hansgrohe) and another transalpine, Elie Gesbert (Arkea Samsic), were just over a minute ahead. It was the latter who broke away at the ten-minute mark, followed by Gesink, who then took off alone, seemingly on his way to victory. Behind, at minus five, there was a reunion between the best and the rest of the attackers, including Almeida. There followed a flurry of sprints and delays in which Mas tried twice, unsuccessfully, to take Evenepoel off the wheel. Under the banner of the last kilometre the twist took place. Remco sprinted. Only the Balearic rider was able to come after him. The two caught the unfortunate Gesink at the three hundred metre mark. The millennial’s further sprint was decisive: the stage was won and Madrid was much closer.

Tomorrow it will be the turn of the nineteenth, and third-to-last, stage with start and finish in Talavera de la Reina. The stage will consist of a loop of just under 70 kilometres to be repeated twice for a total of 138 kilometres. In each of the two rounds, there will be a climb up the Puerto de Pielago, a not exactly insurmountable ascent, classified as a second-category GPM.

Officially categorised as a mountain stage, here it is all in the hands of the riders’ imagination who have very little room to invent anything. The stage is long and has little flat from the outset, but it lacks bad gradients or, more generally, climbs that are really scary. However, a very demanding route can be leveraged, also from a planimetric point of view, suitable on the one hand to attack on the descent and on the other to defend itself in the altimetrically simple sections from the pursuit of the peloton. A possible watershed point could be the ascent of the Alto de la Desesperá, 3.7 km at 9.4%, the only asperity where the cards can quickly be flipped, however, located more than 80 km from the finish. As mentioned earlier, it has to be said that there are very few stretches favourable to pursuit and if, utopianly, someone decided there to crush the peloton, it could come down to the final pedalable climbs with the big boys coming face to face. First it’s up to the monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste (1km at 8%, followed by a further 2km at 6.5%), then it’s up to the Puerto del Piornal (no, that’s not a typing error; despite the misnomer used by the organisers, the two GPMs are in different places: the first at the top of the pass, the second at the entrance to the town, at a lower altitude), 13.5km at an extremely constant 5%. A rather treacherous descent of 20 km (broken in half by 1.5 km of climbing) and 6 km of valley floor lead to the foot of the final climb to the finish in Piornal, 13.4 km at 5.6%, also regular and without any noticeable ramps. Bookmakers Favourites: R Carapaz 6, J Vine 8, T Pinot 8, M Soler 15, T Geoghegan Hart 16, C Harper 21, M Landa 21, J Almeida 21, A Valverde 26, W Kelderman 26.

Stage 19 – Fri 9 Sep – Talavera de la Reina > Talavera de la Reina – 138,3 km; Medium Mountain. Elevation gain 2278m

Pedersen no limits! Another winning sprint

Mads Pedersen protagonista della Vuelta a España 2022 © Velon
Credit Image: @velon; Words by Simone Gambino

The green jersey Mads Pedersen (Trek Segagredo) sprinted to victory on the nineteenth stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana along 138 kilometres with start and finish in Talavera de la Reina, consisting of a double circuit that included the Puerto de Pielago climb. On the finish line, the 2019 world champion from Harrogate beat the eternally placed Englishman Alfred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) and Belgian Gianni Vermeesch (Alpecin Deceuninck). The general classification remained unchanged with Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) firmly in the red jersey with a 2’07” lead over the Spaniard Enric Mas (Team Movisar) and 5’14” over the other Iberian Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates). Also worth mentioning is the points classification in which Pedersen, after his third success of the day in this Vuelta, lapped the second-placed Wright, boasting 379 points for the Dane compared to the Londoner’s 174. The stage was raced with the usual hopeless breakaway involving Spaniard Ander Okamika (Burgos BH), American Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) and Ecuadorian Jonathan Klever Caicedo (EF Education Easy Post). Once this trio had been caught, there was a vain forcing by Bahrain Victorious in an attempt to create some difficulties for Pedersen on the second passage of the Puerto de Pielago where Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won, reinforcing his ledership in the climbers’ classification. On the long descent to the finish Trek Segafredo took the lead of the race, leading its captain to victory.

Tomorrow will be the 20th stage, the last before the final catwalk on Sunday in Madrid. There will be 181 kilometres from Moralzarzal to Puerto de Navacerrada. Along this route the riders will face five GPMs, three of which are first category. In order, the Puerto de Navacerrada will be climbed, followed by the Puerto de Navafria and the Puerto de Canencia. At this point it will be 50 kilometres to the finish. The Puerto de la Morcuera and, a good last one, the Puerto de Cotos remain to be tackled. From the final GPM there will still be just under 7 kilometres of false flat to the finish at Puerto de Navacerrada. There would be plenty of ground to attack. Will anyone have the courage and ambition to do so?

A strange stage to say the least, based on a double repeat of a single wide circuit split almost in half between the ascent and descent of Puerto del Piélago. Officially 9.3km at 5.6%, with an initial stretch of over 2km at 7%, the road begins to climb as early as 19km from the summit. It begins with a 4.3km stretch averaging just over 5% (including a km at 8%); then after a couple of km of gentle descent, it climbs a further 2km at 5%; another 2km of descent leads to the foot of the final climb. While the climb itself is not very tough, it is virtually impossible for it to be relevant to the classification given its location 42 km from the finish, which is also swollen by a 9 km final straight section around the centre of Talavera la Reina. Most likely it will be a breakaway stage. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 6, F Wright 8, R Dennis 12, LL Sanchez 14, D Impey 18, J Herrada 26, P Ackermann 26, A Valverde 30.

Stage 20 – Sat 10 Sep – Moralzarzal > Puerto de Navacerrada – 181 km; Mountain. Elevation gain 3977m

Carapaz scores a hat-trick, the Vuelta is for Remco

Lacrime di gioia per Remco Evenepoel che va a conquistare la Vuelta a España 2022
Credit Image: @EPA/Javier Lizon; Words by Simone Gambino

Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won the twentieth and penultimate stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, from Moralzarzal to Puerto de Navacerrada along 181 kilometres punctuated by five GPMs. The Ecuadorian thus claimed his third stage victory, in addition to the final climbers’ classification, in this edition of the Spanish race, equalling Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segagredo), who in turn triumphed in the points classification. Behind the Diablito, today came, eight seconds behind, the Dutchman Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) who, ironically, will replace him this year in Ineos Grenadiers, with the winner of the 2019 Giro d’Italia moving to EF Education Easy Post. Third at the finish, to consolidate the same place in the general classification, came the 20-year-old Iberian Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) who held off the group of GC men, who came in 13″ behind the winner. Taking for granted the didactic nature of the final catwalk in Madrid tomorrow, a kermesse of just 97 kilometres, Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) won the Vuelta Espana 2022 ahead of the two Spanish riders Enric Mas (Team Movisar), second at 2’07”, and Juan Ayuso, third at 5’10”. Scrolling down the classification, the fourth coin goes to Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan), distanced 5’56”, who precedes Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), fifth at 7’16”. Anyone who was under the illusion that today’s stage would produce something interesting will have been sorely disappointed. An attempt at the start by Australian Robert Stannard (Alpecin Deceuninck) to snatch the polka-dot jersey from the shoulders of Carapaz was the highlight of the day. The Australian would have needed an en plein on today’s five hills to achieve the feat. His move into first position on the first two climbs, however, promptly provoked the reaction of the Locomotora del Carchi, who not only caught up with his rival but went on to win the day’s overall victory. The fight for the red jersey was non-existent, with Movistar, after sending Alejandro Valverde on ahead, presumably to help Mas in the finale, unable to make a selection on the penultimate climb when the Balearic rider should have attacked the young Flemish rider, also in view of the large gap to be made up. Mas, who only attempted a pale sprint today, will tomorrow end the Vuelta in the place of honour for the third time in the last five editions, having never on any of these occasions been in contention for overall victory. Full results here

Forty-four years after Johan De Muynck’s success at the 1978 Giro d’Italia, which followed Freddy Maertens’ triumph the year before on Spanish soil, Belgium is back to win a grand tour.

Deciding this Vuelta and offering the last chance to really move the classification is the Sierra de Guadarrama, as is often the case. The name of the finish site does not deceive, because one arrives at it not by climbing one of the slopes of the Navacerrada, but by arriving from the high plateau section that joins it to the Puerto de Cotos, the last asperity of this stage. The Navacerrada is also climbed from its most demanding side (10.3 km at 6.8%, the last 5 km averaging just under 8%), but at the start of the stage. More than 30km of valley floor is needed to take in the subsequent Puerto de Navafria climb (9.8km at 5.5%, last 3km at 7%), while it takes much less (around 15km) to reach the foot of the final triptych, with climbs set in quick succession.

First up is the easy Puerto de Canencia (7.5 km at 4.9%, last 4 km averaging just under 7%), followed by the climb most likely to make a difference in terms of difficulty and location, namely the Puerto de la Morcuera: 9.4 km at 6.9%, with gradients often at 7/8% and two short sections in double figures.

Puerto de Cotos

At the summit there are just under 40 km to go, 11 of which are downhill and around 7 on the flat leading to the slopes of the final climb; after a couple of km at around 3% the 10.3 km climb at 5.7% (officially an average of 6.9% is marked by a typo) formally begins, with gradients that are always constant and rather gentle. The GPM is placed at 6.7 km from the finish, all on the flat or very slight ascent. Bookmakers Favourites: R Evenepoel 5, E Mas 6, J Almeida 8, T Pinot 11, J Hindley 12, MA Lopez 15, R Carapaz 16, J Ayuso 16, B O’Connor 18, M Landa 21, T Arensman 24.

Stage 21 – Sun 11 Sep – Las Rozas > Madrid. Paisaje de la Luz – 96,7 km; Flat. Elevation gain 773m

Colombian sprinter Juan Sebastian Molano won the final Madrid stage

Il colpo di reni non serve: Molano vince nettamente davanti a Pedersen e Ackermann © Vuelta a España-Getty Images
Credit Image: © Vuelta a España-Getty Images; Words by Simone Gambino

Colombian Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) won the final stage of the 77th Vuelta Espana, the 97-kilometre carousel in central Madrid. The South American rider sprinted ahead of the green jersey, Danish rider Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), and his teammate, German Pascal Ackerman. The Spanish race thus ended with the victory of the 22-year-old Flemish Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), who preceded the two Spanish riders: Enric Mas (Team Movistar), second at 2’07”, and the not yet 20-year-old Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), third at 5’10”. Evenepoel’s success marks the end of 44 years of fasting for Belgium in the Grand Tours. The last triumph dated back to the 1978 Giro d’Italia won by Johan De Muynck with Felice Gimondi as a luxury domestique. Marking today’s handover even more strongly were the last rides in a major stage race by two of the greatest champions of the third millennium: Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan). Full results here

The year 2022 saw the Grand Tours won by three riders who had never before won a three-week race: Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) at the Giro, Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) at the Tour and Remco Evenepoel at the Vuelta. This instance occurred for the last time in 2019. A new generation of champions has, therefore, taken over the world cycling scene, making the sport as exciting as never before in its more than 100-year history. Sadly, Italy is a mere spectator to all this, especially in road races, having to make do with the occasional, albeit prestigious, success against the clock of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers).

After the Santiago last year finish, the Vuelta returns to conclude with the traditional Madrid circuit.This is the opportunity for the sprinters who still remain in the race to leave their mark on this Vuelta edition. A typical flat stage to end a Grand Tour, offering a catwalk similar the one in Paris. The route travels around the Madrid area gradually moving towards the centre of Madrid. The peloton will cross the finish line for the first time with 52.5km to go, then nine laps of a 5.8km circuit will begin. A brunch sprint finish should be almost unavoidable. Bookmaker Favourites: M Pedersen 1, T Merlier 4, P Ackermann 5, D Van Poppel 6, K Groves 9, D McLay 16, M Teunissen 16, D Cimolai 22, F Wright 30.