Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 19 of the Vuelta! It could be a day for the break or for the punchy sprinters today.
The riders are in the neutralised zone right now, heading to the start proper in Ávila.
Yesterday's stage saw a minor shakeup at the top of the general classification, with Alejandro Valverde switching podium places with Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana, while Miguel Ángel López's (Astana) aggressive display got him the white jersey and fourth overall ahead of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Roglič remains in the red jersey, with an extended 2:50 lead of Valverde after beating the Spaniard in the sprint for second. He also holds the points jersey with a 38-point lead.
Lóprz is 32 seconds up in the young rider's classification, and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) extended his KOM lead to 32 points after making yesterday's break.
Ávila hasn't been used as a start city in the Vuelta since 2009, but hosted a finish in 2015, where Alexis Gougeard took victory on stage 19.
It's perhaps best known for Frank Vandenbroucke's famous stage win at the 1999 Vuelta.
Toledo last hosted a stage finish in 2010, where Philippe Gilbert took his second victory of the race. A year earlier, David Millar won the Toledo time trial, the last time a Vuelta stage started in the town.
161km remaining from 165km
Back to today though, and the racing is underway. The flag has dropped and they're heading up the day's first (and only) climb, the third-category Alto de la Paramera (12km at 2.5 per cent).
The peloton is splitting already, as ten riders head out on the attack.
Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Shane Archbold (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), David de la Cruz (Team Ineos), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) are the riders up front.
155km remaining from 165km
The group has a 35-second lead.
The break's advantage is a minute as they reach the top of the climb. It looks like this is our break of the day.
147km remaining from 165km
Armirail took three points for leading over the summit. He was followed by Cavagna and Grmay, though the result has no impact on the KOM standings.
The gap is 1:35 now as the riders fly down the descent.
Here's what Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) had to say about today's stage, where he has a chance to take a third stage win, even if the finale looks like a tough one for pure sprinters.
"I’m worried about the start. The uphill start can be a bit tough to get going. I’m not worried about the last kilometres: it’s the rivals, the many guys that are at play, who will make it hard.
"Hopefully my teammates will be up there today with me and I’ll have the power numbers to fight for victory. About the wind, I need to be in the top positions of the bunch, never near the back, to make it into the first splits if it occurs."
The break is now 3:15 up on the peloton on the rolling roads west of Madrid.
125km remaining from 165km
Katusha-Alpecin, CCC Team and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA work at the head of the peloton. None of the teams have a man in the break today.
A correction to the composition of the break – it's Silvan Dillier up there for AG2R La Mondiale, not Pierre Latour.
117km remaining from 165km
Shane Archbold (Bora-Hansgrohe) has dropped back from the break to the peloton.
Eurosport's Brad Wiggins reports from the stage finish. He says it's 700 metres at 8 per cent. The road is cobbled too, and there's a prospect of rain. It should be too hard for the pure sprinters, then.
101km remaining from 165km
The peloton have really brought the gap down now, as light rain starts to fall. The break's advantage is down to 1:30.
It's still Katusha and CCC controlling the peloton.
These were the breakaway standings at the start of today's stage.
1. Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), 692 km
2. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), 540 km
3. Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), 501 km
4. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), 491 km
5. Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), 460 km
Arndt is out there again today, with another 65km under his belt so far. Other men in the break include Craddock (445km), Cavagna (436km), Grmay (313km) and De la Cruz (338km).
The rain is falling harder now.
This is one of the few days of rain in this year's Vuelta a Espana. Storms hit the Valencia region hard overnight and the storms are expected to move west towards Madrid where the final stages will be held.
Riders are moving carefully through the feed zone due to the rain.
84km remaining from 165km
The break leads the peloton by 1:40 but the heavy rain is making it hard for them out front.
Our man on the ground at the Vuelta a Espana Alasdair Fotheringham has just arrived at the finish in Toledo and says it is is dry there. That's good news for the riders.
Toledo is the birthplace of legendary Spanish climber Federico Bahamontes. He won the 1959 Tour de France and was the first rider to win the mountains competition in all three Grand Tours.
Alasdair Fotheringham wrote a book about Bahamontes, called: The Eagle of Toledo. It's an excellent read.
There are some strong riders in the break but the peloton seems keen on keeping them under control today.
67km remaining from 165km
The gap to the break is down to 1:10 now.
Several riders went went on a wet downhill corners. Roglic was involved, as were several of his Jumbo teammates.
Max Richeze of Deceuninck went down hard, his shorts are ripped. The peloton is spread out on the road.
Tony Martin is sat in the road.
The pace is high in the peloton, some riders do not seem to want to ease up and wait for those who crashed.
Movistar are on the front driving the pace. This could cause some interesting discussions post-stage about fair play and respect amongst the riders.
Roglic has changed bikes and is 1:05 down on the peloton driven by Movistar.
A strong cross wind across open fields is also sparking echelons and making it hard for Roglic to chase. There are several groups spread down the road.
Movistar is half-roading the peloton and trying to spit out riders sitting on their wheels. Behind Roglic, without any teammates, haas caught the first chase group. They are still a minute down on the Movistar peloton.
Miguel Angel Lopez is also in the Roglic chase group. That means there will be at least two teams angry with Movistar for them going on the attack.
53km remaining from 165km
Movistar is still riding on the front.
Suddenly Valverde waves his arm to slow down his teammates. The chasers are closing the gap but Movistar rode hard for 15km after Roglic and Lopez crashed.
The Roglic chasers have caught the Movistar peloton. Several riders are venting their frustration with Valverde and others.
Tony Martin of Jumbo has been forced to abandon due to his injuries. That's an indication how bad the crash was, yet Movistar went on the attack.
The break remains out front of the peloton. They lead by 1:45 now.
44km remaining from 165km
Movistar DS Arrieta just told Spanish TV that the UCI judges were allowing the riders caught behind the crash to pace back behind the team cars, so Movistar then slowed down at the front. Arrieta also claimed the team had prepared to attack in the crosswinds before the crash. They are trying to say the race was on but there was a distinct lack of fair play after the crash.
38km remaining from 165km
There are more crosswinds on exposed roads. Fortunately the roads are dry now.
The cross wind is also making it difficult for the breakaway. Their gap is down to 1:20.
Declerq is on the front and ups the pace. There are already riders spat out the back.
30km remaining from 165km
The race is back in the wheat fields and there are more open roads and more echelons. There's never a quiet day at the Vuelta a Espana, Tapas cycling every day.
The peloton is splitting. Valverde goes off the front but is pulled back.
Up front Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) has attacked alone. But it's a bit early go all in like that. There's still 23km to race and the testing cobbled climb to the finish.
The wind has eased as the peloton rides amongst some olive trees. That is helping Cavagna extend his lead.
There is a constant headwind at the moment and that is slowing the peloton. Cavagna leads by 1:50.
18km remaining from 165km
However the Bahrain and Bora riders are leading the chase. There are also the other riders from the break in the middle between Cavagna and the peloton.
12.5km remaining from 165km
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is in TT mode and taking advantage of the flat and descending roads to Toledo. However he knows he faces the nasty, cobbled climb to the finish. He will need at least 30 seconds on the peloton to hold them off there.
10km remaining from 165km
Cavanga leads the chasers by 27 seconds. The peloton is at 1:05.
Cavagna dives down towards Toledo. He's fighting all the way to the line.
Cavanga can see the ancient city centre across the river. He will soon have to climb up into the narrow streets.
5.5km remaining from 165km
Arndt and Craddock attack from the chase group. But they are pulled back.
Ardnt, Craddock and Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) are at only 30 seconds but the peloton is hunting them down.
Cavagna looks strong but that final kilometre is hard and will hurt him.
2km remaining from 165km
The peloton sweeps up all the chasers. Can Cavagna stay away? It will be very close.
Bora are chasing, hoping Bennett can win.
1km remaining from 165km
Last kilometre. The climb begins. Gilbert is there!
The race car goes past Cavagna. He's fading.
Cavagna hits the cobbles but the peloton can also see him.
Tho Cavagna is strong and fresh. He's going to make it.
Cavagna spins his way to the line and wins alone in Toledo.
Sam Bennett wins the sprint but he was 100m behind Cavagna. Stybar and Gilbert complete Deceuninck's show of strength with third and fourth.
There were some gaps in the peloton, which could mean someone loses a few seconds in the GC.
That was Deceuninck's fourth stage win of this year's Vuelta.
Valverde finished fifth and so gained 3 seconds on Roglic, who finished tenth.
This is the top 10 for the stage.
1 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 3:43:34
2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:05
3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:05
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:05
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:05
6 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:08
7 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
8 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:08
9 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:08
10 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:08
This is the new General Classification after stage 19:
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 75:00:36
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:47
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:31
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:04:17
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:49
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:46
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:09:46
8 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal 0:11:50
9 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:13:20
10 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:21:09
Sam Bennett admits on Eurosport that he thought the peloton had caught all the attackers until he saw Cavagna up the road in the finishing straight. He was the gutted to miss out on another win despite doubts about his legs.
Asked about Movistar's attack after Roglic and Lopez had crashed and been delayed, Bennett said: "That was not right, not nice, not right."
It was Cavagna's third win of his career and Deceuninck's 61st won of 2019.
Post stage there is a lot of respect for Cavagna's 24km solo attack but also lots of discussion about the attacks after the crash that included Roglic and some of his Jumbo teammates.
Dario Cataldo of Astana bites his tongue when asked about Movistar's attack, describing as "not very nice". He pointed out that Astana waited when Tony Martin crashed hard earlier in the Vuelta.
No se quejan, no ponen excusas… siempre cumpliendo con su deber en carrera, motivo de peso suficiente para levantarte y seguir. Bravo.#Lavuelta19 @lavuelta pic.twitter.com/3bHwloHqRNSeptember 13, 2019
That tweet video shows the extent of the crash and shows that several |Movistar riders saw it but raced on anyway.
Miguel Angel Lopez has been venting his anger at Movistar's attack. We'll have a full report on the controversy. But this is part of what he said.
"Movistar Is unrespectful. It's typical of them take these advantages. They always play stupid, these idiots. We know how they race. It's angry to see the team of the World Champion racing like this. What a World Champion we have!"
To read our full race report, click here.
We'll have further news and interviews from Toledo, including a full report on the controversy following the Movistar attack after the crash.
We'll have full live coverage of the final weekend of of racing at the Vuelta, starting with Saturday's final and so decisive mountain stage.
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