Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana. We're about 20 minutes away from the official roll out for today's stage and we'll be here throughout all the action.
Starting in the Cantabrian fishing port and resort of San Vicente de la Barquera, the route principally hugs Spain's rugged Atlantic coast. Route director Fernando Escartín has described this stage as flat, and while there is only one classified climb on the road to the Asturian city of Oviedo, the roads along this stretch of coastline undulate almost incessantly so that by the finish the riders will have notched up almost 2,300 metres of vertical gain without going above a height of 350 metres at any point.
At Gijón, where Thomas de Gendt won in the 2017 race, the route turns south, crossing the third-category Alto La Madera, which averages 3.5 per cent for its 8km. From the top, 22.5 kilometres remain to the finish. It should already be clear at this point whether the breakaways will fight it out between themselves or if the peloton will reel them in, with a bunch sprint the almost inevitable consequence.
The final 13km are on one of the main highways into Oviedo and are relatively free of road furniture. The final roundabout is just outside the 2km-to-go banner. Inside the final kilometre, the route snakes a touch until the 350-metre when it straightens up towards the line, rising a little as it does so.
So this is the first time in around a week for the sprinters. There are still a number of fast-men in the race with Jakobsen, Arndt, Bennett and Gaviria all still in the mix. With a number of mountain stages to come in the final week, this a rare opportunity for the sprinters after two weeks of tough racing.
All eyes on Gaviria today? He's had his problems this year with injury and illness and he had issues at the start of the race too. He picked up a third place in one sprint in the first week and has come through the first mountain ranges of the race with his confidence on the up. He's not won a race of any note since February at the UAE Tour, so he'll be desperate to get off the mark again.
We're about two minutes from the neutralized start. Roglic is at the front of the bunch in his red jersey, while he's flanked by a couple more Jumbo Visma riders. The race leader will be hoping for a relatively quiet day in the saddle today, and without much trouble from his main rivals. He handed them a bit of a kicking yesterday on stage 13 and here's how things stand heading into today's action:
Did you know?
We finish in Oviedo today, which always reminds me of the 80s cartoon Ovide and the Gang. But Oviedo is also home to a decent football team. They've fallen on some difficult years but some impressive names have either played there or come through the youth ranks. Juan Mata, Abel Xavier, and Robert Prosinecki all stand out. Stan Collymore also played there.
15.0°C sunny at both the start and the finish. We have a slight cross-wind but it's relatively calm at the moment. We're almost done with the neutralized start and will be officially racing in a few seconds....
And we're racing.
178km from 188km remaining
We've had a number of attacks already but nothing has stuck so far. We've covered 10km though with plenty of riders attempting to get into the early break. There's certainly a high level of intent out there at the moment.
And we have a break. It contains six riders and one of them is Team Ineos' Puccio. We'll have the full list of names in just a tick.
And the full list of names are; Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Salvatore Puccio (Team Ineos), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis). They have 1'22 over the main field after 13km of racing. That could be it. That could be the break of the day. Beer me.
The bunch have indeed sat up and the six leaders extend their advantage to 1'42. No real surprise that the sprinters' team weren't interested in posting men up the road. It will be on Jumbo Visma to probably set the pace for the first phase of the race but then we'll see the likes of UAE, Trek, QuickStep and Bora take control. That's a decent break though, to be fair, and although there's no standout names involved it's still a mix that includes plenty of horsepower.
Rossetto is in there and he's a bit of a Vuelta specialist. He's raced six Grand Tours, including this one, and only one of them has been outside of Spain. Never won a stage but could this be the day?
The day has warmed up nicely, and we're in the mid 20s (celsius). A few riders have stopped for comfort breaks as the bunch continue to let the break extend their advantage.
Puccio and Rubio swap turns on the front of the break. Neither rider has won an individual race in their respective pro careers but Puccio has worn the maglia rosa, however.
Jumbo Visma have no interest, meanwhile, in controlling the pace at this early stage and that brings Bora and QuickStep into play as the gap holds at under two minutes with 164km still to go.
Rossette a attaqué cette 14ème étape full gas. Son échappée compte 1'40" après 20km 💥#CofidisMyTeam #LaVuelta19 pic.twitter.com/uLgJMPI25VSeptember 7, 2019
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Back in the race and the peloton are just holding the gap to the break at just under 2 minutes. They're really not letting the break have any leeway. Never quite understand why the break allow that to happen. Why not sit up and let the catch happen. Then attack again and again. We'll soon see the peloton let the early breaks establish worthwhile leads.
152km from 188km remaining
The six leaders: Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Salvatore Puccio (Team Ineos), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) have 2:08 over the peloton.
And a few more seconds for the break, with the gap now extending to 2:25. It's still Bora and QuickStep, with a man each, on the front of the peloton.
I'm looking down the road and there's little in the way of climbing on this stage but there's the Alto la Madera that comes just before the finish. It's a third cat but 8km in length with an average of 3.5 per cent. That could certainly make things interesting for the sprinters.
139km remaining from 188km
The peloton has upped the pace, ever so slightly, and that's enough to see the gap to the break drop to 1'36 with 139km to go. You almost feel for the break in this situation.
The front six of Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Salvatore Puccio (Team Ineos), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and continue to share the workload at the front of the race, and the collaboration is clear to see, but they still only have two minutes on the peloton. The sprinters aren't willing to risk any chance of contesting the finish today.
Near the back of the field we can see a few riders from Movistar while Jumbo have also joined in at the front with regards to the pace setting.
After Friday's summit finish, here's Alasdair Fotheringham's analysis piece on Roglic and where things stand on the GC with around a week to go in the race. While our race highlights from stage 13, are right here.
119km remaining from 188km
Back to today's stage and the gap is down to 1'36. The peloton can also see the six leaders up ahead.
The six leaders out front have never had more than two minutes on the main field and that trend has continued for most of today's stage. We still have the sprinters' teams on the front of the bunch with one or two riders each, while the GC teams fo Astana, Movistar and Visma, a just behind them. There's no real urgency at the moment but after so many grueling days that will suit most of the riders in the race.
There are a number of races on today and the Tour of Britain starts with a stage in Glasgow, Scotland. Want to know how you can follow the race? Check out our guide, right here. We'll have boots on the ground at the Tour of Britain from Tuesday onwards. Can't wait!
We also have this excellent Tour of Britain preview written by William Fotheringham. He'll be writing stage race reports for us over the next couple of days too.
Now what's this? The gap to the break has pushed back out to 1'55. 110km to go.
And the break have found yet another ten seconds. That's a whopping two minutes for the six leaders. One day people will ask 'where were you on stage 14 of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana when the break gained two minutes after around 75km of racing?' And you'll be able to reply 'on Cyclingnews' or by calling the authorities because anyone that genuinely asks you that sort of question probably needs to see some form of specialist.
Track racing and on Friday Aston Lambie set a new world record in the IP (individual pursuit) with a time of 4:06.407 at the Pan-American Championships in Bolivia. You can read the full story and the reactions, right here.
Short-lived excitement for the break. The gap is back down to 1'35.
Some contract news: Dunbar and Swift have extended their contracts for next year at Team Ineos. Word on the street is that they're also looking at bringing in a time trial specialist for next season too. Here's the news on Dunbar and Swift. They signed individual contracts, by the way. It wasn't 2four1.
How many times have we seen this? Riders go through the feedzone, there's a touch of wheels and suddenly there's a rider on the deck. This time it's the unfortunate Gorka Izagirre but he's quickly back up and on his way.
Into the final 100km of the stage, the final 98km to be precise and the gap holds at 1'24. The break are currently scoffing their food but they might use this chance to try and take some time on the main field. At the front of the bunch the sprinters' team continue to do all the work.
We have a winner on stage 4 of the Boels Ladies Tour. To find out who it is, and who is leading the race, click here. We have a new race leader, too.
Back here in the Vuelta we've some lovely scenery along the coastline. We're currently climbing on an uncategorized ascent, one of many in the final half of the stage. A couple of the sprinters, including Jakobsen, are hanging around at the back of the field while Trek and UAE set the pace. Gaviria is clearly up for this one. Remember, he's not won a race since Feb, which is an age for a sprinter.
We are ticking through the kilometers nicely though. 93km to go and the gap is at 1'47.
By the way, if you prefer it when we interview bikes rather than people, check out our complete Eurobike coverage, right here.
There we can see Boasson Hagen near the middle of the main field. He was fourth in El Puig in the first week of the race and has some form. The climb near the end of the stage might help him and his Dimension Data team soften up the opposition later in the race.
It's Niklas Eg on the front of the bunch at the moment. He was third in Avenir a couple of years ago and is still finding his feet in the WorldTour. Certainly a talented rider, he's here to work for the team (Trek Segafredo).
78km to go and the gap is at 1'34. The peloton has lined out but the pace is still relatively calm at this point in the race.
Still a hodgepodge of teams on the front of the peloton. Bora, Visma, UAE and Trek are all represented. Mitchelton are also involved in the chase. Mezgec is here, of course.
The Eg man is still up at the front for Trek Segafredo. He's not scrambled yet and the Trek team aren't afraid of being beaten.
These jokes are eggs-hausting.
The break have lined out too, with 73km to go. The gap is still at 1'37.
67km to go and Mitchelton are on the front. They've won a stage in every Grand Tour they've competed in going back to last year's Tour de France but they're still looking for their first stage win here.
Rossetto has had enough. He's wheeled to a stop and is taking a comfort break. Fair enough because there's nothing to be gained from being in this break at the moment. The leaders are down to five.
Puccio has called for the team car so Rossetto's actions might spell the end for the break. They're still tapping through but there's no urgency whatsoever. 62km to go. Puccio looks back, trying to find Rossetto but there's no point. He's gone mate, he's gone.
60km to go
60km to go. Rossetto is caught on a small incline as the gap to the front of the race drops to less than a minute. The pace has totally gone out of the race. This is the peloton's fault because they've not allowed the break to establish anything like a decent lead.
The bunch give the break a few more seconds and the gap is back up to 1'48 with 57km to go.
Back up to two minutes for the five remaining leaders. Quintana has been back to the teams cars but is currently being paced back to the front by a teammate. Eg still on the front of the bunch setting the pace.
Some breaking news just in. Chris Froome has had surgery after cutting his left thumb open with a kitchen knife. Tendons, presumably lots of blood, and now a permanent thumbs up while he's in a sort of thumb brace for the next few weeks. The Ineos leader hasn't had much luck in the last few weeks. Read the story, right here.
47km to go
47km to go in the stage here. Bora have moved up with another couple of riders, while QuickStep are also in the mix. We're on descent right now, heading towards that third cat climb. The break have 2'02.
We're heading to Gijon soon for an intermediate sprint. Like Oviedo they also have football/soccer team. Luis Enrique played for them. He's from there in fact. Dmitri Cheryshev also played there and was very handy on the early versions of Champ Manager.
There's a bit more urgency now from the bunch but the break have responded and the gap holds at 2'10 with 41km to go.
The race is slowly waking up and the bunch string out in full force. Rubio, Rubio was first over the line at the intermediate but there wasn't really a sprint.
32km to go
1'26 now for the five leaders as we see Quickstep right at the front for the first time in the stage. The peloton remains strung out in one line as we approach the lower slopes of the third category climb.
A reminder of the breaking news that Chris Froome has undergone another surgery after cutting his left thumb in an domestic accident. The main story is here.
So Bennett, Mezgec, Gaviria, Jakobsen, a couple of Trek riders, who else can come out on top today? Boasson Hagen is here too, actually, but this third cat climb is the only and real obstacle left on the agenda. The five-man break are almost on the lower slopes now as a number of GC related teams fight for position at the front of the peloton.
Just 26km to go now as we see some activity at the back of the bunch with Ag2r pacing a rider back. The KOM leader is chasing back too.
4.1km to go until we see the top of the climb. It looks like it was Latour who was being paced back.
Tsgabu Grmay is drilling it on the front of the peloton for Mitchelton and doing a fine job before swinging off and letting another rider take a turn. It looks like Latour is sitting up with 25km to go. We still have five leaders but their gap is down to 1'00.
Finish line preview
A couple more Mitchelton riders come to the front as the pace increases. The finishing section is not overly flat with 1.3km to and 400m steady uphill at 2-3 per cent, which rises to 4-5 percent. The road only flattens with around 500m to go. Timing is going to be so, so crucial in the sprint for the line.
22km to go and Fuglsang is maybe setting up an attack? Not sure what he's doing there and he's marked right away. The five leaders crest the top of the climb with 22km to go. The gap is at 54 seconds.
Fuglsang rolls off the front and is marked by Bora. The climb isn't tough enough and they're brought back right away. Over the top we go with T Martin setting the pace.
Tour of Britain stage 1 has finished. Click here to find out the winner.
Jakobsen has his entire team on the front as they tackle the descent. 17km to go and the gap is down to just 34 seconds.
Trek are there, and Bora and Mitchelton. The five leaders get some assistance from a photo moto for a few seconds but their day in the sun is almost over.
A full quota of Deceuninck riders on the front with 14km to go. There's still a gap of 34 seconds but that will be closed in no time at all if Deceuninck carry on like this.
We're down to four at the front with Rubio slipping back. 11km and the gap is at 27 seconds.
Inside the final 10km and Cofidis move up but they've no chance when Deceuninck are in control and patrolling the front is such numbers.
They're still there, the four-man break, and they're holding onto a 22 second gap with 8km to go.
Quintana is at the front and keeping out of trouble as Mitchelton hit the front for Mezgec with just 7km to go. The break are about to be caught.
Now Roglic and his train move up with 5.3km to go but the peloton can see the break just ahead of them.
4.5km to go and the break have been caught as Deceuninck take it up again.
It's Gilbert who is setting the pace as a few more teams move up, including Bennett and Bora.
Bennett is third wheel with 3.6km to go.
Around the last roundabout and the bunch string out once more. Bora are doing a great job for Bennett but there's still a long way to go. 2km.
Bennett is down to one man let with 1.7km to go.
Mezgec and Jakobsen are there. Gaviria too.
Riders all over the road and only about a dozen riders made it through as the road climbs.
Attack from Lotto Soudal van der sander but Deceuninck come back.
Bennett opens up really early.
Win for Bennett. What a chaotic finish. Richeze took second on the line after Bennett went really early but most of the bunch were caught up in that huge crash that happened with less than 1km to go.
Valverde was in the crash. It looked like a EF rider hit the deck first and it just sent dozens to the deck. Doull is down too.
We'll have an update on that crash as soon as we can. Certainly Doull, Valverde and Mezgec were all involved.
1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:28:46
2 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:02
4 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:05
5 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
7 Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team
8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
9 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
10 Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
General classification after stage 14
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
Looks like Roglic didn't crash , crash but did lose balance and come down. If that makes any sense.
“The team kept me up near the front and worked hard all day,” said Bennett after taking his second win of the race.
“They put me in a good place in the final. There was slowing down on the hardest part and one guy came passed by with speed. I didn’t want to wait too long but Richeze went and I was afraid that the other guy was going too fast so I just went. I had good speed in the final. I looked with 300m to go and thought it was too far but I had enough power.”
"I was afraid to celebrate as well because I didn’t know if the breakaway stayed away. I wasn’t really at the front until about 5km to go. But I’m delighted.”
That's five Grand Tour stage wins this year for Bennett. No Tour for the Irishman but he's taken virtually every opportunity put in front of him.
Here's our top ten on GC. With the crash inside the final 3km none of the time gaps on the line will count for the likes of Valverde, Roglic and Pogacar who were in the crash.
General classification after stage 14
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 53:49:19
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:25
3 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:01
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:03:37
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:05:21
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:02
7 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:08:12
8 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal 0:09:25
9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:10:31
Roglic is on the podium right now and pulling on another red jersey. He seems perfectly fine to be honest.
We have more complete results on the stage and GC, right here.
Our story on that huge crash, is right here.
The full race report, results and photos, is just here.
That's all from us today. We'll be back tomorrow for stage 15.
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