The unforgiving roads and climbs of Andalucia’s barren mountains and nine days of intense racing combined to create significant weaknesses amongst the overall contenders at the Vuelta a España, with just one constant: Primož Roglič remained firmly in control of the race leader’s red jersey on the Alto de Velefique.
After Jumbo-Visma controlled the peloton for much of the 188km stage, Roglič again marked his rivals and then made his own moves to first close down a dangerous attack by Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and then surge ahead with Movistar's Enric Mas. Everyone was left in their wake, losing precious time.
Roglič and Mas failed to catch solo attacker Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), who won after a 70km attack, but they distanced all their GC rivals and exposed Ineos Grenadiers’ team strategy and weaknesses.
Roglič can enjoy Monday’s first rest day knowing he now leads Mas by 28 seconds. Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) started the stage just eight seconds down on the lead and fought bravely but slipped to ninth at 3:25.
Movistar seem the Slovenian’s biggest threat in the second half of the Vuelta, with Miguel Angel López moving up to third overall at 1:21. Movistar have lost Alejandro Valverde due to his stage 7 crash but may have found unity and a simple GC strategy to execute.
For Bahrain Victorious, it was a day of mixed emotions. They saved their day with Caruso’s stage win but Mikel Landa’s weakness was finally exposed on the climb to the finish atop Alto de Velefique.
He was soon distanced when the attacks started with 10km to climb and he finished four minutes down on Roglič, slipping to 16th at 5:47.
Jack Haig was far more consistent and is now Bahrain Victorious’ GC leader. He fought to limit his losses to Roglič and Mas, distanced Egan Bernal and is fourth overall at 1:42.
Ineos Grenadiers invested a lot in a mid-stage surge but their leaders were ultimately unable to finish off the job, leaving them with perhaps just a podium spot to play for in the rest of the Vuelta.
Adam Yates made the initial attack that shook out the GC group and looked strong. However, his attacks also hurt Bernal. The Colombian managed to go across to Roglič's counter-attack and make the initial selection but then slipped backwards in the final kilometres when vital seconds were being earned. He lost a significant 1:05 to Roglič and is now fifth overall, that is one place better than at the start of the stage but at an ever more distant 1:52.
Yates finished ahead of Bernal as Ineos opted to let him go but he lost 39 seconds and is now sixth overall at 2:07. Richard Carapaz finished nine minutes back and so will surely slip into a domestique and stage winning role.
Other team leaders lost time and their hopes were exposed on the switchbacks of the Alto de Velefique. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) is seventh at 2:39, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) is eighth at 2:40 and David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) is tenth overall at 3:55.
They can all enjoy Monday’s rest day in Almeria but face a long hard ride north towards the decisive final week of the Vuelta.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma||34:18:53|
|2||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:28|
|3||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team||0:01:21|
|4||Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious||0:01:42|
|5||Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||0:01:52|
|6||Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:02:07|
|7||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:02:39|
|8||Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma||0:02:40|
|9||Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:03:25|
|10||David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates||0:03:55|
|11||Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech|
|12||Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious||0:04:00|
|13||Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:04:05|
|14||Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash||0:04:36|
|15||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious||0:05:35|
|16||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:05:47|
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