Vuelta a Espana: Alaphilippe wins stage 8

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) survived from the break to beat companions Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) to win stage 8 of the Vuelta a España.

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) continued his comeback to finish just ahead of Chris Froome (Sky), who again built up his race lead. They crossed the finish line 1:27 behind the winner.

The closing climb lived up to its billing. The Alto Xorret de Cati featured gradients up to 18 per cent, and as expected, it ripped the race apart. Much of the peloton was already exhausted by the nearly 200 kilometers in blazing heat, and fell back to let the contenders take over. Froome and Contador showed no signs of weakness, taking matters into their own hands.

Esteban Chavez (Orica Scott) and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) were the last to try to follow, as Vincenzo Nibali suffered on the climb. Still, it was the Italian who led a small group over the finish line, 17 seconds after Froome and Contador. The last few kilometers turned into a battle between Alaphilippe, Majka, and Polanc. Alaphilippe found the energy to jump with two hundred meters to go and celebrated joyously as he crossed the line, two seconds ahead of the chasing duo.

"It's incredible. I didn't expect that I would win the stage today," Alaphilippe said after the stage. "For me, it was a little bit complicated, since two or three stages ago I felt not so good. But I think for everybody it's the same. We did a good start with the team, from the beginning of the race we were always in the front, and today, I was thinking maybe tomorrow was a good final for me, but today a big group took the lead after 40 kilometres. I decided with Matteo Trentin, he put me in the front."

How it unfolded

The day started with the surprise announcement that Team Sunweb had pulled climbing star Warren Barguil from the race for ignoring team orders and riding for himself. The day’s other DNS was Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha-Alpecin), who left with a broken scapula after crashing on stage 7.

Most of the stage could be described as rolling, but like a scorpion, it had a major sting in the tail, the dreaded Alto Xorret de Cati. With that thought looming in the back of their heads, the peloton got off to a nervous start. A crash in the neutral zone was followed by one only 3 kilometres into the day. Multiple attempts were made to escape, but the high pace and jangled nerves brought everything back together.

A large group of 21 finally got away after 35 kilometres. Jesus Hernandez (Trek-Segafredo), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step), Loic Vliegen (BMC), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Rafal Majka, Emanuel Buchmann, Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Hansgrohe), Clément Chevrier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Brendan Canty (Cannondale-Drapac), Alberto Losada (Katusha-Alpecin), Daan Olivier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Sergei Chernetski, Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Guillaume Bonnafond (Cofidis) and Michel Kreder (Aqua Blue Sport) were able to move out and quickly built up a lead.

With Oliveira only 3:02 down on race leader Chris Froome in the overall rankings, Team Sky wanted to keep the gap down, and at the halfway point of the stage, the gap was over five minutes as temperatures soared to 37° C.

The first climb of the day, the third category Puerto de Bair, saw the gap go down to 4:25.

The Puerto de Onil, also a third category climb, came shortly thereafter and saw Niemiec, Canty and De Vreese jump for the points, which they took in that order.

With 20km left and the final climb rapidly approaching, Sky once again turned the speed up a notch. The gap fell to nearly four minutes, while riders were dropping off the back of the peloton.

Up front, Buchmann and Pfingsten worked hard to set things up for Majka on the climb. With 11km to go De Vreese was the first to jump, followed by former German champion Buchmann. The gap was already down to 3.40. The duo were caught as the road started tilting upwards on the Alto Xorret de Cati.

Bora led the charge up, with Buchmann pulling for Majka as the group behind them splintered. Buchmann had to drop back and Alaphilippe moved up to Majka, as the peloton was less than three minutes back. Attacks also started from the peloton, as the two leaders made their way up the steepest portion.

Soon it was Alberto Contador who attacked. He struck out with a group that contained David De La Cruz, Simon Yates, and Michael Woods, as Team Sky gave chase. The Spaniard kicked again with Froome forced to chase.

Another burst of speed saw Froome drop Chaves and the rest of his rivals with only Contador able to match the race leader. Froome charged his way up, as Contador fought his way back and they took on the dangerous descent together.

With the finish line approaching, Polanc appeared out of nowhere and shot past the two leaders. Alaphilippe jumped with several hundred meters to go to take the clear win ahead of Polanc and Majka. Froome and Contador caught up with Hernandez near the finish, and he helped his captain Contador to cross the finish line ahead of Froome.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors4:37:55
2Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:00:02
3Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 2 - Cell 2
4Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:00:26
5Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:00:28
6Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport0:00:32
7Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 6 - Cell 2
8Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:34
9Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:37
10Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:04
11Daan Olivier (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:06
12Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:17
13Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:01:27
14Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 14 - Cell 2
16Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:44
17Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 17 - Cell 2
19Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 18 - Cell 2
20Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-ScottRow 19 - Cell 2
21Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Astana Pro Team0:01:52
22Clement Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:55
23Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 22 - Cell 2
24Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-DrapacRow 23 - Cell 2
25Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team SunwebRow 24 - Cell 2
26Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 26 - Cell 2
28Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 27 - Cell 2
29Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team EmiratesRow 29 - Cell 2
31Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:02:12
33Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:35
34Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 33 - Cell 2
35Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 34 - Cell 2
36Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team Emirates0:02:39
37Jaime Roson Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:02:48
38Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 37 - Cell 2
39Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team SkyRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 39 - Cell 2
41Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:03:05
44Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data0:03:30
45Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 44 - Cell 2
46Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 45 - Cell 2
47Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Luis Angel Maté Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:42
50Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon0:03:53
51Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:04:10
52Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:04:17
53Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo0:04:41
54Fabricio Ferrari (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:04:49
55Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJRow 54 - Cell 2
56Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 55 - Cell 2
57Stefan Denifl (Aut) Aqua Blue Sport0:05:45
58Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:05:57
59Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:06:01
60Hector Sáez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:06:10
61Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:06:28
62Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 61 - Cell 2
63Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:07:02
65Juan Felipe Osorio (Col) Manzana Postobon0:07:32
66Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:07:49
67Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step FloorsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo0:08:29
69Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 68 - Cell 2
70Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:08:36
71Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:09:13
72Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data0:09:20
73Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 72 - Cell 2
74Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:09:26
75Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:10:38
76Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:10:40
77Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 76 - Cell 2
78Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 77 - Cell 2
79Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ0:10:45
80Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:11:17
81Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 80 - Cell 2
82Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 81 - Cell 2
83Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:11:20
84Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-DrapacRow 83 - Cell 2
85Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:11:52
86Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Bernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 86 - Cell 2
88Fernando Orjuela (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 87 - Cell 2
89Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Aldemar Reyes (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 89 - Cell 2
91Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 90 - Cell 2
92Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:11:56
94Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team SunwebRow 93 - Cell 2
95Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 94 - Cell 2
96Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb0:12:06
97Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ0:12:10
98Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:12:13
99Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 98 - Cell 2
100Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:12:16
101Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data0:12:31
102Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 101 - Cell 2
103Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 102 - Cell 2
104Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:12:42
105Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:12:55
106Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ0:13:10
107Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 106 - Cell 2
108Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb0:13:33
109Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky0:13:42
110Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 109 - Cell 2
111Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 110 - Cell 2
112Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 112 - Cell 2
114Juan José Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 113 - Cell 2
115Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport0:13:45
116Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale0:13:53
117Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb0:14:03
118Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 117 - Cell 2
119Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Orica-Scott0:14:09
120Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 119 - Cell 2
121Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:14:19
122Ricardo Vilela (Por) Manzana Postobon0:14:35
123Michael Mørkøv (Den) Katusha-Alpecin0:16:02
124Hernán Aguirre (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 123 - Cell 2
125Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 126 - Cell 2
128Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 127 - Cell 2
129Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:16:08
130Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:16:30
131Rafael Reis (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 130 - Cell 2
132Jeremy Maison (Fra) FDJRow 131 - Cell 2
133Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky0:16:35
134Magnus Cort (Den) Orica-Scott0:16:45
135Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:17:13
136William Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 135 - Cell 2
137Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:17:16
138Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team0:17:29
139David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:17:30
140Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:17:31
141Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-ScottRow 140 - Cell 2
142Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:17:38
143David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky0:18:10
144Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team0:18:14
145Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:18:17
146Thomas Scully (NZl) Cannondale-DrapacRow 145 - Cell 2
147George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 146 - Cell 2
148Hernando Bohórquez (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 147 - Cell 2
149Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 148 - Cell 2
150Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale-DrapacRow 149 - Cell 2
151Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ0:18:54
152Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 151 - Cell 2
153Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 152 - Cell 2
154Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:18:57
155Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:18:58
156Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-Scott0:19:03
157Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:19:04
158Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:19:15
159Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Dimension DataRow 158 - Cell 2
160Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue SportRow 159 - Cell 2
161Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:19:18
162Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:19:21
163Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:19:32
164Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:19:48
165Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:19:49
166Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ0:19:55
167Sebastián Molano (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 166 - Cell 2
168Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport0:20:27
169Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 168 - Cell 2
170Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 169 - Cell 2
171Rein Taaramäe (Est) Katusha-AlpecinRow 170 - Cell 2
172Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 171 - Cell 2
173Ian Stannard (GBr) Team SkyRow 172 - Cell 2
174Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 173 - Cell 2
175Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 174 - Cell 2
176Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:20:32
177Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 176 - Cell 2
178Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue SportRow 177 - Cell 2
179Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 178 - Cell 2
180Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:21:33
181Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:22:37
DNFCesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 181 - Cell 2
DNFJesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 182 - Cell 2
DNSSven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 183 - Cell 2
DNSWarren Barguil (Fra) Team SunwebRow 184 - Cell 2
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors25pts
2Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha-Alpecin7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Daan Olivier (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Sprint 1 - Xorret de Catí, km 199.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data4pts
2Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Puerto de Biar, km 111.1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team3pts
2Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team Emirates2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 3) Puerto de Onil, km 127.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team Emirates3pts
2Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 3 (Cat. 1) Alto Xorret de Catí, km 196.6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe