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Vuelta a Espana stage 7: live coverage

Hello and welcome to our new-look live coverage!

The riders have covered almost 100km so far on stage 7, and the breakaway has 3:45 on the peloton.

The riders out front are: Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Storer (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos), Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal).

Sergio Henao led the break over the Puerto del Marianet. He takes three points ahead of Wallays and Marczynski.

83km remaining from 183.2km

The break are on the second-category Puerto de Eslida now. It's 6km long at an average of 4.5 per cent.

A look at today's breakaway

A look at today's breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bahrain-Merida are driving the peloton for their man, race leader Dylan Teuns.

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72km remaining from 183.2km

Sergio Henao led the way over the top of the Eslida, with Barthe and Jauregui following the Colombian. That's another five KOM points for him for a total of eight today.

Now the break are climbing again. They're on the third-cat Puerto de Alcudia de Veo, which is 4.2km long at an average of 4.4 per cent.

No problems for anybody in the peloton just yet. They're losing time to the break on the climb as the gap drifts out to 4:50.

Movistar are on the front of the peloton now, likely to work on bringing down the break's advantage.

Today's final climb of the Mas de la Costa is a brutal one, with a 12 per cent average and gradients reaching up to 25 per cent in places. Here's what Cofidis rider Stephane Rossetto, who made the break today, had to say about it.

"It’s beautiful what Jesus (Herrada) did yesterday. He’s a champion, a fuoriclasse. He was targeting the stage, he wanted to go for it…. Chapeau!

"I was in the breakaway in 2016. It’s steep, you need to like this kind of climb and to be quite light. The road is not good, it’s a concrete surface… I don’t like climbs like that but some riders do. It’s really a typical La Vuelta climb."

59km remaining from 183.2km

The gap is down to 3:50 now.

Movistar Vuelta

Movistar in action at the head of the peloton (Image credit: Getty Images)

The time is melting away. 3:20 now.

Sergio Henao led the way over the last climb too. 11 points for him today.

Stage 5 winner and KOM leader Ángel Madrazo had a mechanical issue and is chasing back to the peloton.

Over at the Tour of Germany, Remco Evenepoel (Dececuninck-QuickStep) is doing his thing again. The 19-year-old attacked with 105km to race and with 35km left on stage 2 he's over two minutes up on the Ineos- and Bahrain-led peloton.

50km remaining from 183.2km

Back in Spain and the break hit the 50km to go mark. They're 3:10 up on the peloton.

Burgos-BH crashed heading around a roundabout. A few of their riders were helping Madrazo back to the peloton and two hit the deck.

Madrazo and a teammate are 30 seconds off the back.

They pass James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who had crashed and was sat at the side of the road. The Brit has abandoned the race.

Knox made his Grand Tour debut at this year's Giro, but was forced to abandon on stage 13 after suffering a knee injury in a crash earlier in the race.

The riders just passed the start town of Onda, the hometown of Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH). His brother José is a directeur sportif for the team. Their brother Victor died in 2012 after being hit by a car while out training. Victor was 22 years old and in the middle of his first pro season with Euskaltel-Euskadi. The Cabedo family also runs a bike shop in the town.

40km remaining from 183.2km

Wallays led Storer and Brambilla over the intermediate sprint in Onda.

The average speed so far has been 43kph.

The break are 17km from the next climb, the Puerto del Salto del Cabello.

Today's final climb is the big test though. Mathias Fränk won the last time the race visited the Alto Mas de la Costa in 2016, triumphing from the break as race leader Nairo Quintana came in together with podium contenders Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Esteban Chaves.

Our man Alasdair Fotheringham wrote a preview of the climb back then.

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Alto Mas de la Costa Vuelta

The Alto Mas de la Costa in 2016 (Image credit: Alsdair Fotheringham)

2:40 for the break now, as Sergio Higuita suffers a mechanical in the peloton.

Now the riders are on the Puerto del Salto del Caballo, and riders are dropping from the back of the peloton.

The break is splitting up as attacks start flying. Gilbert, Marczynski and the Henao cousins are away.

28km remaining from 183.2km

Two minutes between the peloton and the leaders. Gilbert and Sergio Henao lead.

The pair are 5km from the top of the climb.

Barthe is among the first men from the break to be caught by the peloton.

Race leader Dylan Teuns has been dropped. They're still 4km from the top of the penultimate climb.

25km remaining from 183.2km

Brambilla has made it up to Gilbert and Sergio Henao.

Teuns is struggling on but he'll lose the jersey today.

Tao Geoghegan Hart has attacked the peloton.

Now Sebastian Henao is up with the leaders, making it four up front.

The peloton are 2:30 down.

Sergio Henao took the 5 points at the top to bring his KOM total to 17.

Teuns is over a minute down on the peloton.

16km remaining from 183.2km

The lead quartet are 1:15 up on the peloton and three minutes up on Teuns.

Geoghegan Hart's attack was short-lived, and he's back in the peloton.

Gilbert and Sergio Henao are off again. They've dropped Sebastian Henao and Brambilla.

Back in the peloton and more misery for EF Education First. Sergio Higuita has reportedly crashed on the descent. David de la Cruz, who lies second overall, has been dropped.

12km remaining from 183.2km

The peloton is one minute down on the break.

Here's a look at the final climb of the day. The leaders are 3km away from the base.

Here's a look at the final climb of the day. The leaders are 3km away from the base. (Image credit: Vuelta a Espana)

6.5km remaining from 183.2km

30 seconds for Gilbert and Henao now.

Sebastian Henao and Gianluca Brambilla are caught by the peloton. Astana and Movistar lead the way.

The leaders hit the climb. Here we go!

The peloton make the catch. Henao is the last man standing.

Jumbo-Visma take it up on the front. The peloton shattered immediately. 3.5km to go.

There are maybe ten riders in the lead group. Aru is just off the back,

Roglic, Valverde, Quintana and Lopez emerge as a lead quarter. 3km to go.

Quintana is leading the charge here.

Roglic takes it up as they reach the 2km banner. Valverde is struggling.

2km remaining from 183.2km

The lead four are back together. These slopes are brutal

No other riders are close. These four men are certainly the strongest of the Vuelta.

Roglič and Quintana look the strongest. They've been on the front constantly.

Esteban Chaves, Marc Soler, Mikel Nieve are among the chasers, but they're not close to the leaders.

Rafał Majka and Tadej Pogačar are also chasing.

Which Movistar rider will be the team leader after today's stage?

Majka is closing in on the leaders. Pogačar next on the road.

Quintana attacks! 1.2km to go.

1km remaining from 183.2km

Majka is 20 seconds down on the leading quartet.

20 per cent slopes for the leaders.

Still, the lead foursome are together, much like Quintana, Chaves, Froome and Contador back in 2016.

500m remaining from 183.2km

López moves to the front. Roglič reacts!

Now Valverde is on the front. No separation yet.

Valverde pushes on with 175 metres to go.

It's Roglič vs Valverde!

Valverde kicks with 75 metres to go. López and Quintana are dropped!

Valverde is too quick for Roglič on his favourite terrain.

The world champion wins stage 7!

López and Quintana lose around seven seconds.

Majka crosses the line in fifth place, 42 seconds down.

Six seconds deficit for López and Quintana.

López retakes the red jersey, six seconds up on Roglič. Valverde is 16 seconds down, while Quintana is 27 seconds back.

Only seven other riders were within a minute of Valverde today. What a brutal 4km climb.

Movistar's DSes said that Valverde would be targeting stage wins before the race, and there we go. Yesterday, Nairo Quintana said the veteran was the team leader, but who knows about that at this point?

It was a climb that suited Valverde to a tee, the gaps were very small and only provoked in the sprint to the line. It's hard to conclude much from today in terms of the strongest man in the race, though it is clear that Valverde, López, Quintana and Roglič are the four strongest.

Stage 7 result

1    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team    4:34:11
2    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    4:34:11
3    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    4:34:17
4    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team    4:34:17
5    Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe    4:34:53
6    Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team    4:34:59
7    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates    4:35:02
8    Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates    4:35:02
9    George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma    4:35:18
10    Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias    4:35:31

General Classification after stage 7

1    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    28:19:13
2    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    0:00:06
3    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:16
4    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team    0:00:27
5    Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe    0:01:58
6    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates    0:02:36
7    Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott    0:02:52
8    George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma    0:03:34
9    Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb    0:03:36
10    Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates    0:03:36

"I'm happy with the way things are going and I'm happy with my second place," said Roglič after the finish.

The 'big four' on the final climb.

The 'big four' on the final climb. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Valverde celebrates victory on stage 7 of the Vuelta a España.

Valverde celebrates victory on stage 7 of the Vuelta a España. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Our brief stage 7 report, results and gallery are up now. Click here to read.

Earlier reports came through that James Knox had abandoned the Vuelta after his crash, but he's still going. He finished 29th today, alongside Philippe Gilbert, and was just interviewed on British Eurosport.

Keep checking back to cyclingnews.com for news, reaction and a full race report from today's Vuelta stage.

That's all for our live coverage today. See you tomorrow for stage 8!

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