Skip to main content

Chaos on Vuelta stage 16 - Evenepoel retains lead while Roglic suffers finish line crash

TOMARES SPAIN SEPTEMBER 06 Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl Red Leader Jersey dropped from the peloton after a mechanical problem in the final kilometres during the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 16 a 1894km stage from Sanlcar de Barrameda to Tomares LaVuelta22 WorldTour on September 06 2022 in Tomares Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Remco Evenepoel gets going again after his late puncture on stage 16 (Image credit: Tim de WaeleGetty Images)

An action-packed finale to an otherwise quiet stage 16 at the Vuelta a España saw chaos reign as race leader Remco Evenepoel punctured inside the final 3km of the stage to Tomares while his main rival, Primož Roglič, went on the attack before crashing in the final 100 metres.

Evenepoel, who has been in the leader's red jersey since stage 6, raised his arm for team assistance with around 2.5km remaining of stage 16 as Roglič jumped away at the front of the peloton on the hilly finish.

He eventually rolled in at over three minutes down, though the Belgian would officially finish with the same time as the peloton thanks to the 3km rule, eight seconds down on the lead group and Roglič. That wasn't before the official standings had briefly been published by the race to show Roglič as the new leader - a decision that was later reversed.

"[It was] a puncture on my rear wheel," Evenepoel said later. "I wasn't in the best position because we did a recon of the final yesterday, and we felt the roads were slippery.

"I was scared in the last 5km so I lost some positions and I wanted to move up on a steep bump, but my rear wheel just went off, so I felt I had a flat tyre. I'm happy that the 3km rule exists otherwise I would've lost a lot of time today."

The 3km rule, which gives riders the same time as the group they were with at the time of their crash or mechanical problem, specifically applied to six sprint stages at the race while nine high-altitude finishes were ruled out. That left the application of the rule on the hilly finish of stage 16 up to the UCI commissaires.

Despite Evenepoel being granted the same time as the 26 men in the peloton behind Roglič and stage winner Mads Pedersen, he still shed eight seconds to his GC rival. The Slovenian, though, will have more to worry about, after hitting the deck in the sprint to the line after colliding with Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious).

Roglič suffered cuts to his elbow and looked to be heavily bleeding after the finish, though his full condition isn't yet known. An hour or so after the stage, the Vuelta's medical bulletin issued his injuries as: "Polycontusions. Superficial wounds on right elbow, right hip, right knee and right rib area." 

Jumbo-Visma have yet to issue an update on Roglič's condition and his ongoing participation in the race. The Slovenian was forced to abandon this year's Tour de France after dislocating his shoulder and fracturing two vertebrae in a crash in the opening week.

"I heard that Primož crashed so I really hope that he's OK and that he can continue the race," Evenepoel said after the finish.

"We all know that Primož is really explosive and that a final like this is made for him. That makes it even more a pity for him that he crashed. You never want somebody to crash so I hope he's OK."

Aside from the drama of the stage finale, Evenepoel said he felt better than he had at the weekend, where he lost time to Roglič as he was recovering from his own crash earlier in the race.

"I felt recovered. I really needed the rest day, I think. Because of my crash I had some soreness in my muscles, so the rest day was really welcome. I felt much better today than I did on Saturday and even on Sunday, so it looks pretty good for the rest of the week."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1