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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Stage 12

Live coverage of stage 12 of the Vuelta a España - flat for the first half, hilly for the second.

 

Vuelta a España hub page

Vuelta a España start list

Stage 11 report: Lopez wins at Calar Alto

Aqua Blue Sport‏ bus target of arson attack

 

Hello there and welcome to our live coverage of stage 12 of the 2017 Vuelta. After the first big-mountain summit finish yesterday, the race rolls on today with yet more hills. It remains to be seen whether the pair of climbs in the second half of the parcours will draw out the overall contenders, but what is certain is that this is fertile ground for a successful breakaway. 

The riders are in Motril, going through the usual pre-race motions - dossards, sign-on, haircuts, etc. The roll-out is scheduled for 13.15 local time, so just over 15 minutes. 

The big news at the Vuelta this morning is that in the middle of the night the Aqua Blue Sport team bus was destroyed by arsonists. Here are the details.

 

 

 

 

It's a terrible situation for the Irish team, who are making their debut Grand Tour appearance here at the Vuelta in their first year of existence. The race organisers have given them a 52-seater passenger bus for the time being, while plenty of other teams have offered out support. The logistical headaches are numerous but the team is more defiant than ever - "We're not going anywhere."

 

Aqua Blue Sport determined to fight on at Vuelta a Espana despite arson attack

 

Así está la salida hoy en Motril. #LV2017 https://t.co/edbYh3i5ES

@lavuelta Thu, 31st Aug 2017 09:54:29

Salida preparada! We are almost ready to go! https://t.co/ExV8k7kCMf https://t.co/IlTTL8E4QI

@lavuelta Thu, 31st Aug 2017 11:12:37

 

The riders are off, ahead of them a lengthy neutralised zone before they reach kilometre-zero and the race proper is waved underway.

And I reckon we'll have a race on our hands here. In stark contrast to the Tour, this year the trend at the Vuelta has been long drawn-out struggles for breakaways to form, and there's no reason why today should be any different. Given the profile, the stage will have been marked in the roadbooks of many of the baroudeurs, and there should be no shortage of interest in getting up the road today - so we could be in for another fast start. 

 

A couple of non-starters to report. LottoNL-Jumbo's George Bennett continues to struggle with illness after his Tour de France abandon, while Dimension Data's Serge Pauwels - who might have fancied a stage such as this - is also sick. There are just four riders left now for DiData. 

 

Before we get going, how about a re-cap of yesterday's action?

 

The race went up to 2000 metres for a summit finish at Calar Alto - the first big mountain test of this year's Vuelta. Miguel Angel Lopez claimed stage honours while Chris Froome extended his overall lead, with many GC riders losing big chunks of time. Report, results, photos, video highlights - all in the following link. 

 

Vuelta a España: Lopez wins on Calar Alto

 

Here's how the GC has been left

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 45:18:01
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:19
3 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:02:33
4 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:36
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:37
6 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:38
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:57
8 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:03:01
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:55
10 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:04:11

 

After two days of heavy rain - a rarity in August in southern Spain - normal service has been resumed and we have clear skies and blazing sunshine. 

We're off!

 

The flag drops at KM0 and the race is underway, the peloton braced for the first attacks. 

No attacks sticking yet, as the peloton flies along almost in single file.

 

#LV2017 Multiple attacks from Aqua Blue Sport but we have not been able to get away. 7kms raced.

@AquaBlueSport Thu, 31st Aug 2017 11:48:04

There are a few lumps and bumps coming up, which may be helpful in the formation of a break, but it's full gas so far and, if previous stages are anything to go by, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see this situation continue all the way to the first climb of the day at KM80.

Former Spanish champion Fran Ventoso (BMC) predicted such a start to proceedings. 

 

"I think there'll be two races today," he told the race organisers this morning. "A very hard one to get into the break, because it's a tough start with rolling roads on the coast. Then a GC race - there may not be a summit finish but the climbs will make for a selection. Let's hope no one pays for the exertions of yesterday."

 

Mark Christian is the latest Aqua Blue rider to try for the break, but still nothing sticking with just under 20km on the clock. 

 

The fast start to the day is taking it's toll as two riders have already abandoned. They are Jorge Arcas (Movistar Team) and Lennard Höfstede (Team Sunweb).

 

Still one big peloton barrelling along the coast, with more than 30km gone. 

No break but the peloton has split under this pressure. Two big groups out there.

 

The peloton is back together again. 

 

The peloton passed Km 0 at 12.35 today local time - 7 mins late, if you’re trying to calculate average speeds. 50kph so far in the stage.

@mrendell Thu, 31st Aug 2017 12:24:50

A group of 14 riders has just clipped off the front...

 

Omar Fraile, JJ Rojas, and Jan Polanc are in there, and it looks like they're getting away.

 

110km remaining from 160km

The average speed in the first hour was 47.7km/h - quicker than the fastest predicted time schedule once again. 

This group has around a minute on the peloton at the moment, and here's who's in it.

 

Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

Diego Rosa (Team Sky)

Pawel Poljanski, Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Julien Duval (AG2R-La Mondiale)

Brendan Canty (Cannondale-Drapac)

Michael Morkov (Katusha-Alpecin)

Stef Clement (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal)

Omar Fraile (Dimension Data)

Anthony Pérez (Cofidis)

David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Peter Koning (Aqua Blue Sport)

 

Two minutes now. Despite a brief rally from Manzana Postobon, who have missed out, the pace drops in the peloton, and this right here is our break of the day. 

 

The 14-rider break:

 

Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)

Pawel Poljanski, Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Julien Duval (AG2R-La Mondiale)

Brendan Canty (Cannondale-Drapac)

Michael Morkov (Katusha-Alpecin)

Stef Clement (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal)

Omar Fraile (Dimension Data)

Anthony Pérez (Cofidis)

David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Peter Koning (Aqua Blue Sport)

 

100km remaining from 160km

With 100km left to race, the advantage of the breakaway has grown out to four minutes.

News just in that Mark Cavendish will return to racing - after crashing out of the Tour de France in July - at the Tour of Britain, which starts this weekend. Here's the story.

Puncture for Canty but he's back in the mix, as the gap continues to grow - 6 minutes now. 

 

Sky have set up shop in their familiar position at the head of the peloton. Rojas is the only rider within half an hour of Froome's lead, so there's no need to ride hard at this point. 

82km remaining from 160km

With the race only just settled down into a relaxed situation and familiar pattern, the riders will soon be taking on a first-category climb. 

 

It's the Puerto del León, and it's a long one at 17.4km. The average gradient may be a modest 4.9%, but that's skewed by a couple of downhill sections. 

 

 

The climb, by the way, officially begins with 84km on the clock at 76km remaining - so in 4km' time. 

 

Seven minutes is the gap as the breakaway riders approach the climb. Much will depend on how the peloton and the GC contenders race the climbs, but there's a good chance our stage winner will come from this group. 

It's all amicable in the break as they tackle the lower slopes of this climb. It could be that the hostilities are saved for the second climb later on, or at least for further up this climb. 

 

The peloton are about to start climbing, but before that there's the small matter of the feedzone. The grabbing of musettes along with the consumption of their contents will make for a relaxed pace and the breakaway riders - who have team cars right behind at their immediate disposal - will see their lead grow further still. 

 

Third time lucky for Rojas?

 

The Spaniard has twice finished in a podium position in stages at this Vuelta. He was in the break on a similar parcours two days ago, where a late climb was followed by a descent to the finish, but was emphatically dispatched by Matteo Trentin in the two-up sprint. "I found myself with the worst possible person - the fastest sprinter at this Vuelta," Rojas said ruefully on Tuesday. No such problem today...

Just moments after Egan Bernal wrapped up the Tour de l'Avenir title - one of the most dominant victories in the race's recent history - it was announced he will be joining Team Sky next year. Today on CN, Pierre Carrey has this feature on the Colombian prodigy. 

 

Egan Bernal: I don't want to be one of those riders who disappears at 27

 

70km remaining from 160km

The breakaway riders have ticked off 6.5km of this climb, and their lead stands at 7:35. They're just riding at a steady tempo at this point. 

 

Team Sky, with a full team in front of Froome, lead the way in the peloton up this climb. It's Diego Rosa on the front, but if Christian Knees and Ian Stannard are sitting comfortably in behind then you know the pace is fairly sedate. 

 

7:25 is the gap as the situation stays stable on this long climb. The breakaway riders are still all together and it's still a large Sky-led peloton behind. 

 

61km remaining from 160km

The 14 breakaway riders are riding in two rotating lines, swapping turns nicely. 2.5km to the top. 

The break reach speeds of almost 80km/h as they hit one of those downhill sections I was talking about. It's soon over, and they have a kilometre or so left to climb before they can tuck into a proper descent. 

 

Here comes the battle for the KOM points. A maximum of 10 on offer atop this first-category climb. 

 

58km remaining from 160km

There's not much of a fight, in the end, but Brendan Canty is over the top first 

 

The road now heads downhill for more than 30km. Just as that climb was punctuated by a couple of downhill sections, so this descent is punctuated by a couple of inclines. It'll be ticked off quickly, but the action in this stage is going to come down to that final category-2 climb. 

 

Romain Bardet appears at the head of the peloton as they come to the top of the climb, but the Frenchman's not about to embark on another daring solo descent. Sky still lead the way and will take them down here. 

 

This isn't really a descent that suits a solo act of aggression, with plenty of places where the road levels out and even tips up, and plenty of pedalling to be done. 

49km remaining from 160km

The gap, by the way, is 8 minutes. 

Crash!

 

Duval crashes in the break as the aggression is upped, with Morkov attempting to forge his way clear. 

 

Morkov has a decent gap on his former companions. Koning is chasing but only just ahead of the rest of the group, with Duval chasing back on behind them.

 

Duval is back with the break but he's currently off the back holding onto the medical car, receiving some running repairs to what looks like a grazed left arm. 

 

38km remaining from 160km

Morkov is making this work. He has 22 seconds now. 

 

Koning is still off the nose of the breakaway group. 

 

There's no panic in the breakaway group and they're certainly not in full chase mode. They know this is a highly ambitious attempt from Morkov. 

 

Koning has made it over to Morkov, but that's mainly because the Dane has slowed up. The rest of the breakaway riders aren't far behind now. 

 

33km remaining from 160km

The 14 breakaway riders are all back together as the road kicks up.

 

It's warm at the finish but without breaching 30C. The finishing straight is slightly uphill, which will need to be taken into account in the event of a reduced group sprint. 

 

28km remaining from 160km

28km to go and the breakaway riders are steadily working together. They know this one's going all the way to the finish, so it's just a case of waiting for the key moves to be made on the upcoming climb. 

 

Rojas may well be the favourite here. He handled late climbs followed by descents to finish third on stage 7 and second on stage 12. The others will certainly fear his finishing kick and will be hoping to drop him before it comes down to the final kilometre. 

 

Here we go then. The break hits the final climb. 

 

Puerto del Torcal

Category 2

7.6km

7%
 

 

24km remaining from 160km

No attacks just yet as they enjoy a 9-minute buffer

 

Clement accelerates and that's putting a lot of them in difficulty. Duval is straight out the back

 

Morkov, Schillinger, Theuns, Koning all in trouble.

 

Canty, Clement, Fraile, Poljanski, Rojas, Marczynski, and Arroyo are the riders in the lead now.

 

Big acceleration from Fraile

 

Fraile might have been going for the intermediate sprint that was somewhat incongruously positioned on this climb. Canty is able to deal with the acceleration, as is Marczynski. Rojas and Poljanski are getting back in, with Arroyo and Clement further back.

 

Canty has added motivation out there. The Cannondale-Drapac team are currently fighting to stay afloat next season, and they're riding for pride at this Vuelta - and what a message a stage win would send to prospective sponsors. Not only that, but if the team does fold, then riders obviously need to secure work elsewhere for next year, so will no doubt be keen to show what they can do. 

21km remaining from 160km

Marczynski attacks. The Pole has already won a stage at this Vuelta from the break, but he wants another one, and he's opened up a really encouraging gap here. 30 seconds.

 

The Lotto Soudal rider may be from Poland but this is pretty much home turf for him. He's an Andalucian resident, living not far from Granada. 

 

Contador attacks from the peloton!

 

20km remaining from 160km

Contador, ever keen to animate this Vuelta, is on the move with Nico Roche. 

 

Sky, instead of simply grinding their way back to that duo, send a rider up to police the move. But then they change their minds and it's back to riding tempo in a line. 

 

20km remaining from 160km

Marczynski has a lead of 50 seconds over Fraile, Canty, Rojas, and Poljanski. Extraordinary. 

Contador and Roche have around 10 seconds on the peloton. No panic from Sky. 

 

Clement has ridden back up to the chasers so it's five in pursuit of Marczynski. 

 

Roche tumbled out of the top 10 yesterday after an awful ride to the summit finish at Calar Alto. He said his legs felt like concrete, and they don't seem much better today as Contador rides away from him.

 

Froome has three teammates in front of him as Sky chase down Contador. Nibali moves up alongside the race leader for a chat. 

 

It's ambitious from Contador, but once again he has thrown the cat among the pigeons. It had been calm for so long but suddenly this group isn't so much a peloton as an elite GC group of not much more than 20 riders. 

 

Roche is swallowed up. 

 

Contador has opened up 35 seconds on the GC group

 

Meanwhile Marczynski has a minute on the chasers.

 

Contador has a teammate up the road in Theuns, whom he should be able to lean on before long.

 

Crash for Canty

 

Canty crashed into the roadside barrier and flipped over it, but he's back up and running. 

11km remaining from 160km

Just under 11km to go now for Marczynski, who is looking good here. 

 

Contador's lead has been clipped to 20 seconds. 

 

8km remaining from 160km

After Canty's fall, Poljanski has also lost ground, leaving three in the chase of Marczynski: Fraile, Rojas, Clement. 

Contador crests the climb and there is Theuns waiting for him. 

 

Problem for Froome!

 

The race leader has a mechanical and drops back and comes to a halt to receive a bike change. 

 

Froome crashes!

 

Wow. Froome is trying to get back on and comes a cropper on a bend, where he was competing for space with the team cars. 

 

Sky riders are sent to drop back for Froome, and this is the first real cause for panic for him in this Vuelta. 

 

Contador has 1:07 on Froome as it stands, as he sprints to follow the wheel of Theuns on this descent. 

 

4km remaining from 160km

Into the last 4km for Marczynski, and he still holds a sufficient advantage to be confident of sealing the victory. 

In the absence of Sky, Astana are leading the GC group. They have two riders - Aru and Lopez - in the top 10, and Contador is clearly a threat. 

 

2km remaining from 160km

Marczkysnki is coming towards the finish but the real drama here is unfolding some 8 minutes down the road. 

 

We still haven't got a time check between Froome and the GC group, where Nibali is up near the front talking to the other riders. 

Contador is simply giving it 100 per cent, and stands to gain a decent chunk of time today to continue his resurgence at this Vuelta. 

 

Into the home straight for Marczynski. What a Vuelta this has been for him. He only had a few unremarkable wins on his palmares before this - including Polish RR and TT titles to be fair - but now has two Grand Tour stage wins to his name. 

 

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) wins stage 12 of the Vuelta a España

 

The Pole crosses the line, sits up and celebrates, but now the attention swings back to the GC riders. 

 

Froome is now leading his two teammates. He's still some way behind the GC group. 

Fraile takes second place, Rojas third.

 

Contador, still nestled in Theuns' slipstream, comes into town and is increasing his lead. 

 

Astana continue to push on in the GC group, and Nibali is right up there too. 

 

Theuns shakes his head. He looks like he's cooked, but he offers up another acceleration. Just over 3km to go for them.

 

And now he's done. Contador is on his own now. An individual TT of 3km. 

 

We don't have any time gaps at the moment, so we'll have to wait for the finish to properly assess the damage. 

157km remaining from 160km

There we go. Contador has 42 seconds over the Nibali/GC group. Froome is a further 18 seconds in arrears. 

The road has flattened out and boy could Contador do without these extra kilometres. This is a really sapping effort, and it may well sap his gains here. 

1km remaining from 160km

Flamme rouge for Contador

 

Froome is tucked in behind Wout Poels. A decent job in damage limitation but the race leader is going to lose a bit of time today. 

 

Here comes Contador, still with enough energy to bounce out of the saddle. He crosses the line, and so begins the countback. 

 

21 seconds is the gap to the GC group.

 

Froome crosses the line some 20 seconds down on that GC group. 

 

Top 10

 

1 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal 3:56:45
2 Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Dimension Data 0:00:52
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:42
7 Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:02:50
8 Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:50
9 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:50
10 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:03:00
11 Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport 0:05:03

 

General classification after stage 12


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 49:22:53
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:59
3 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:02:13
4 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:16
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:17
6 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:18
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:37
8 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:02:41
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:13
10 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:03:51

 

The official timings show that Contador put 22 seconds into the group of GC contenders, and 42 seconds into Froome. By my maths that means Nibali and the rest of the GC men put 20 seconds into Froome. Small, but significant. 

 

Well, it was calm for much of the day but what a frantic finale we had. There'll be plenty to digest this evening - not least Contador's aggression and Froome's wobble. It will also be interesting to hear from Nibali and those in the GC group about the collaboration there. 

 

 

 

 

Marczynski speaks


"It was an incredible stage. After my first victory I was keeping fresh to try again today. I was a bit afraid at the beginning - I spent a lot of energy and had to sprint like 100 times just to get in the breakaway.

 

"Once I was there I said 'today can be again my day'. I felt good form the beginning, I was climbing easy. I kept calm until the last climb and there I wanted to see how the others were doing, and when I saw I had good legs I tried to go alone. It's incredible, it's been my dream since I was a kid to win a Grand Tour stage solo, and today the dream becomes real."

Here's Alberto Contador

 

"It was a scenario that was better than we could have expected. I attacked, I spoke with Nicolas Roche and went with him, but he was unable to follow. I knew I had a teammate up the road and we gave it everything together. The descent was a complicated one because it was a slippery surface, so we had to give it respect while turning the pedals as hard as possible.

 

"As for Froome, he crashed but he got back up and didn't lose much time. Taking into account the finish to this stage, we practically weren't expecting anything, so we can be very happy with what we got."

Here's a video of Froome's mishaps

 

Vuelta a España: Froome loses ground after mechanical and crash - Video

 

Here's Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez, 10th overall after his stage win yesterday, who finished in the main GC group. 

 

"It was a really bad day for [Froome]. We were descending really fast. We were just behind Sky and behind him. I passed him and he was stopping for a bit to change the bike, and then I didn't see what happened behind. I think he crashed again. These things happen in cycling, in racing.

 

"Today I was there with the favourites on the last climb again. We'll see day by day how the legs go, how they're responding, because it's becoming a really demanding Vuelta. When I watched the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia on TV, I dreamed of one day wearing the best young rider's jersey. This year they at least have a prize for the best young rider in the Vuelta, which didn't have one. We'll keep going forward little by little, and hopefully keep earning it."

And now we can hear from Froome, who confirms he crashed twice. 

 

"I'm doing OK, thankfully. I'm just grateful they weren't more serious. It's never nice to crash, but in the end I had two teammates with me, they were fantastic - Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels - they helped me all the way to the finish and helped me to limit the losses to the Vincenzo Nibali group. I just slipped, I lost my front wheel in a corner. Same for the second one. Really dry, slippery corners and I just lost my front wheel.

 

"Of course I don't like to give away time, but I'm grateful it's 20 seconds and not one minute."

The first finish line shots are in

 

 

Plenty more photos, alongside a write-up and results, in our stage report. 

 

Vuelta a España: Marczynski wins stage 12 as Froome crashes

 

 

For all the snap post-stage reaction in one handy place, here's our stage 12 edition of finish line quotes.

 

Vuelta a Espana: Stage 12 finish line quotes

Alberto Contador made some solid time gains today. Hear what he has to say about the race situation:

Vuelta a Espana: Contador claws back 42 seconds on Froome on stage 12

Thanks for following the Vuelta a Espana with Cyclingnews. Tune in again on Friday for stage 13!

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