Hola and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.
As the CN blimp takes height, the riders have left the start area and are on the road west.
They face 230km of riding into a headwind. Fill your pockets, it's going to be a long but fascinating day in the saddle.
🚴♂️🚴♂️¡Etapa 15 en marcha!And... we are gone! 230km ahead 👏#LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/ANa9TyYj2ANovember 5, 2020
Today's stage includes lots of climbing and so is ideal for a breakaway attempt. The GC riders have little to gain by trying to control the attacks and so a group of adventurers is likely to get away and fight for the stage victory.
2⃣3⃣1⃣ km - the longest stage of La Vuelta 20205⃣ categorised climbs6⃣+ estimated hours of riding4⃣1⃣0⃣0⃣m of vertical gainCheck out today's route.#lavuelta20 | @lavuelta pic.twitter.com/OT6up5frkGNovember 5, 2020
As soon as the flag drops to start the racing at Km 0, there is an attack.
Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal) opens a gap and Victor Lafay (Cofidis) joins him.
Surely others will try to go across to them soon.
Some interesting data from our friends at Fuoriclasse:
- Today's stage is the longest one in distance among all stage races in 2020 (.1 and beyond)
-It's the 11th longest distance this season if we include 1-day races. The longest distance in 2020 was Milan-San Remo at 305km.
Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott), Micahel Valgren (NTT) and Pim Ligthart (Total Direct Energie) joined Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal) and Victor Lafay (Cofidis) but the peloton hs chased them down.
Movistar and Caja Rural missed that move and so closed the gap.
A few more fast kilometres and more attacks.
Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie) and Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) are off the front and Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) joins them.
Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) and Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) are chasing the trio. but we expect more riders to try to join them.
Our man in Spain Alasdair Fotheringham has reminded us of some key details of today's stage.
The first, for any riders and teams thinking of going in the break is that the 230km stage includes 4,000 metres of vertical climbing, that's about the same as Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The finish in Puebla de Sanabria is the same as in 2016, where Contador fell off and threw his bidon on the ground in anger.
We are likely to see other riders fatigued and angry at the finish after a long ride into a headwind.
Alasdair also has a warning for the GC rider: Be ready for the finish.
There's a nasty left hand corner and uphill finish in the last kilometre. Nowhere near as a tough as Wednesday's but tricky all the same.
Edmondson has joined Oliveira, Sicard and Bol but Lopez missed it and has been caught.
Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros) also tried and failed to go across and so the Caja Rural team is chasing again.
This is their kind of day and will want to be in the break.
The peloton is chasing hard and so Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) has attacked alone.
After 39km of fast and furious racing we have gruppo compatto.
Well, racing fast is one way of shortening the agony of the long 230km stage.
Uff... The peloton covered 42.4km in the first hour of racing. That was on rolling roads.
Now the real climbs, the classified climbs begin. That could to more attacks, from better climbers.
On the 3rd category San Amaro climb, 25 riders attacked but have been pulled back as KOM leader Guillaume Martin chases more points.
His attack could form the real break of the day over the top.
Guillaume Martin is joined by around 20 other riders but the peloton closes them down.
The Alto de San Amaro climb is the first of five third-category climbs today.
The lumpiness continues with the Alto de Carcedo and the Alto de Furriolo, the hardest of this trio with 5km at 7 per cent.
There’s a lull beyond the Furriolo, from which the road only drops a short way before levelling out on a plateau that extends for the next 30 kilometres. This ends at the halfway point, where the rolling hills become significantly bigger than they were earlier in the stage.
The first of them is the Alto de Fumaces, which is close to 11km long. The course steps up even further, reaching the intermediate sprint at A Gudiña and then an uncategorised climb past O Pereiro. The final test is the Alto de Padornelo, from which 18 mainly downhill kilometres remain into the finish at Puebla de Sanabria, where Jonas van Genechten was the winner on the only previous visit in 2016.
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) is first to summit and so scores 3 more points.
We expect him to press on becasue the Alto de Carcedo and the Alto do Furriolo follow in the next 40km.
We have a bigger attack and from the CN blimp we can see the peloton has finally eased up.
Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Rob Power, Mark Donovan (Team Sunweb), Alex Aranburu, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Nick Schultz, Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) got away after the Alto de San Amaro.
Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural) is chasing and has been caught by Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Julien Simon (Total Direct Energie).
But they appear to have missed the move. They're 1:15 down, with the peloton at 2:50.
Michelton-Scott seem happy to have their 2 key riders in the attack.
#LaVuelta20 The first climb has been dealt with and another move has gone away! 👊We have @nick_schultz5 and @stannardrj in there with 8 other riders and a host of attackers trying to bridge across. pic.twitter.com/q1HHBAwCA8November 5, 2020
Martin and the chasers are 1:10 down as the Alto de Carcedo kicks in.
It will be vital for Martin to go across to the group here.
Meanwhile the peloton is lead by Jumbo-Visma but is riding steady at 4:00.
The Cofidis leader joins the break and takes the KOM of Alto de Carcedo and so another 3 points.
There are now 13 riders up front, with the peloton at 4:20.
In the attack are: Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Julien Simon (Total Direct Energie) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Rob Power, Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Alex Aranburu, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Nick Schultz, Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).
One of these riders will surely emerge to win the stage. But they face a further 155km out front.
145km to go
The break has dived down the descent and will soon begin the Alto do Furriolo climb.
It is a hard, rolling stage today, with no respite.
Yep, Tim Wellens is in the break.
Can he win a third stage? He has a great chance.
Guess who is part of the #LaVuelta20 break of the day? 🙈 pic.twitter.com/nZ50LW3j4vNovember 5, 2020
Wellens claimed his second win of this year’s Vuelta a Espana after taking victory on stage 14 of the race from Lugo to Ourense.
The Belgian won the sprint from a small group and held off a late charge from Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
For Wellens, the victory served as another reminder of his talent at winning from small breakaways. He was part of the early move that skipped free from the peloton after another frantic start and was one of the dominant forces as the race wore on. The Lotto Soudal rider looked to be in trouble when Stybar and Marc Soler (Movistar) attacked from the break as they raced over the final climb of the day but the winner of stage 5 bridged up to the leaders just as the descent flattened out.
When Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Woods and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) regained contact with Wellens, Soler and Stybar with 1.3km to go, the stage looked wide open and it was Woods who hit the front on the final ramps before the line.
Click this link to read our full stage report on Wellens win and check out our full photo gallery and full results.
Three months after a bad training crash put paid to his chances of riding the Tour de France, Belgium’s Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) continued to set his season straight in Spain with a second transition stage win in the Vuelta a España.
Wellens crashed badly the week before the Tour de France when on a training ride, injuring a shoulder, elbow and knee. Although he returned to racing in the Tour of Luxembourg, placing a promising fourth overall, his Ardennes Classics campaign did not go to plan either.
But having headed to the Vuelta a España start immediately after riding the Tour of Flanders and with just 48 hours between the two events, south of the Pyrenees Wellens has twice hit the jackpot.
To understand how Wellens won his second stage, click on link below to read what he said post stage.
Stage 14 was a day for the breakaway specialists, with Wellens triumphing ahead of EF Pro Cycling's Michael Woods on the undulating 204.7km route from Lugo to Ourense.
Israel Start-Up Nation's Dan Martin led home what was the main group of contenders some 3:44 later, and with all the GC favourites present and correct in the 20-strong group, there were no major changes to the overall classification.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) holds on to his 39-second lead over Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), with Woods' EF Pro Cycling teammate Hugh Carthy still only a further eight seconds back in third and Martin a little more distant in fourth, 1:42 down on Roglič.
To check out the top ten on the stage and the GC, click this link below.
Martin strikes again on the Alto do Furriolo climb, taking three points.
He's scored 9 points today and extends his total to 85 points.
120km to go
As the stage passes the halfway point, the break has pushed its lead out to over 5:00.
The fast racing has forced Harry Tanfield (AG2R La Mondiale) and Pim Ligthart (Total Direct Energie) to abandon the Vuetla.
Earlier young Belgian sprinter Gerben Thijssen of Lotto Soudal also abandoned earlier in the stage.
The riders are currently on the Limia river plateau.
The roads are flat and exposed and so the riders are battling into a headwind.
Today's stage follows the northern border with Portugal for almost all of the 230km, heading west from the Atlantic coast and Vigo to Puebla de Sanabria.
This is the second stage into Puebla de Sanabria and the Vuelta has visited the very close by Lago (Lake) de Sanabria, in 2013, with a win for Michael Matthews.
Today's stage has a very similar run-in too, they went over that last third cat and then through the village before heading onto the lake.
Several teams are riding for the futures at the Vuelta a Espana. These include NTT.
However team manager Doug Ryder said he was upbeat about the future of the team.
Click here to read more: Hope for NTT Pro Cycling as Ryder 'very close' to securing new sponsor
Other teams have faced sponsorship problems and have pushed riders and staff to make salary sacrifices to keep teams afloat.
This and other financial problems have caused tension in some teams and lead to riders in some team pushing the UCI to activate the bank guarantees to secure sone of their salaries.
The latest clash within a team concerns the French Nippo Delko team. Click below to read more.
Interestingly Bora-Hansgrohe have started to lead the peloton and so the gap to the break has reduced to 4:30.
Bora doesn't have any riders in the break and so may want to try to get back into the action.
Felix Grossschartner revealed Bora's hopes at the start on the Vuelta race site.
"Today we want a sprint. We want to control it and other teams have the same ideas. But it’s gonna be really long and with headwind all day, it’s gonna be hard to pull. [Pascal Ackermann] is feeling good. He did a good sprint the other day. Normally he can arrive pretty good in the finish and then the last 400m, it’s about who has the legs.”
Bora has reduced the break's lead to just 3:00 on the valley roads but the climbs will soon return, making it harder for them to ride together.
They can only ride and climb at the limits of Pascal Ackermann, while the attackers like G. Martin can try to increase their lead.
The gap is down to 3:00 but the Alto de Fumaces climb is about to start. It is 108% long and climbs gradually at 4.5%.
The climb marks the start of a far hillier part of the stage. It is time to suffer.
As we predicted, the gap is back up as the Alto de Fumaces hurts. It is 3:30 now.
The weather is cold and very autumnal today at the Vuelta.
This is a shot of the 13 riders in the break.
The riders are back on wider valley roads and battling into the headwind. There are also some drops on rain in the air.
The 13 riders are going through and off smoothly as they fight to stay away.
But the peloton keeps chasing and the gap is down to 3:00 again.
Trek-Segafredo ands Movistar are also helping with the chase, perhaps convinced they also have a chance in the uphill sprint.
Trek have placed four riders on the head of the peloton to lead the chase.v
We can also see a NTT rider, while Bora riders are also upfront.
The chase is on.
The speed of the chase has lined out the peloton.
The autumnal colours offer a stunning background to the peloton. But the peloton and especially the leader jersey and their teams colours stand out.
56km to go
The GC teams are riding in formation behind the riders leading the chase.
Now Deceuninck have moved up and are sat behind a NTT rider and three from Trek-Segafredo.
The wind is blowing strong on this exposed section, with the speed up, some riders are being spat out of the back.
There are also risks of echelons.
Martin drives it forward at the head of the breakaway.
Wellens is off the back of the breakaway.
. @GuilmMartin has collected 12 KOM points so far today which means he is very likely to be wearing the polka-dot jersey all the way to Madrid. 🔵Have a look at the profile of this star climber.#lavuelta20 | @lavuelta pic.twitter.com/V6P11CymWWNovember 5, 2020
50km to go
With 50km to run, the gap to the break is now 1:45. The peloton is lined-out at high speed in the winds.
No change in the peloton or the break as they ride through the winds.
41km to go
The pace is still high at the front of the peloton, and the break's advantage is coming down. It's 1:10 now as the riders head up an unclassified climb.
It's only 13C out there now and it's going to get colder.
🇪🇸 #LaVuelta20Hunting the break 💨 40km to go, and the gap is around 1 minute.📸: @charlylopezph pic.twitter.com/SBPoZUZhSsNovember 5, 2020
After Wellens eased up, there are 12 riders in the break. They lead by 50 seconds now.
30km to go
The rolling roads is hurting and splitting the breakaway, with Mark Donovan sparking a split.
Cattaneo is out front solo but leads the remains of the break by 25 seconds with the peloton at 1:30.
Attack of @cattamat, who drops the other escapees on a short rise and carves out a 28-second advantage with 30 kilometers to go.Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/V4QR1bXR0sNovember 5, 2020
Meanwhile Cattaneo's teammate Sam Bennett is suffering at the back of the peloton.
🏁 -38 km | Etapa 15 - Stage 15 | #LaVuelta20🇪🇸 Sam Bennett pierde contacto con el pelotón por el alto ritmo🇮🇪 @Sammmy_Be is struggling in the back of the bunch 😣👉https://t.co/zqaO4Bw62K pic.twitter.com/wGcOz0CIZLNovember 5, 2020
Cattaneo is time trailing to a 1:00 lead.
Can he go all the way?
25km to go
Cattaneo takes a late bottle as the last climb starts.
There are nine riders chasing him at 1:00.
As the rain pours down, the peloton is at 1:45.
Cattaneo is digging deep on the Alto de Padornelo climb.
His tongue is out as he suffers in the rain. He is fighting to stay away on the climb in the hope he can descend to victory in Puebla de Sanabria.
Cattaneo leads by 1:30 as the peloton stays at 2:00.
Gino Mäder of NTT is trying to go across to Cattaneo over the top of the climb.
He will have to dive down the decent in the mist.
15km to go
Cattaneo begins the descent, tucking low and trying to pedal to up his speed.
Behind the peloton finally sweep up the remains of the break and they are closing in on Mader.
We're hearing from our man in Spain Alasdair Fotheringham that a big oil slick in the last kilometres means times for the stage are going to taken with 3kms to go.
With 8km to go, Cattaneo is fighting to hold his 50-second gap.
Now Bora can smell victory with Ackermann and are leading the chase.
7km to go and Cattaneo is fighting a strong headwind.
He's trying to put the power down but NTT and EF are keen to try to win the stage too.
The gap is down to just 30 seconds.
4km to go.
The peloton can see Cattaneo on the flat roads now. Time for Plan B from Deceuninck as they seek their 100th Grand Tour stage win.
Lotto, NTT, and UAE are also at the front to prepare for the uphill finish.
2km to go.
Thee run-in includes some twists and turns.
Willie Smit of Burgos makes a dig but 30 or so riders are fighting for the victory.
Mitchelton lead it out.
Here we go!
Jasper Philipsen of UAE goes early and holds it to win.
Philipsen is hugged by team staff and teammates. He's emotional. They all are.
Philipsen made sure he was up front on the twisting climb to the finish and hit out early.
The others were unable to match his finishing speed.
Ackermann was behind Philipsen but couldn't find a way through and finished second.
This is the top ten:
1 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates 06:22:36
2 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4 Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain McLaren
5 Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
7 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling
8 Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
9 Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 00:00:04
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) remains in the race leader's red jersey.
This is the new general classification after stage 15:
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 60:19:41
2 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:39
3 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:47
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:01:42
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:23
6 Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren 00:06:15
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:07:14
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:08:39
9 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team 00:08:48
10 David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates 00:09:23
Jasper Philipsen is leaving the UAE squad to join Alpecin-Fenix at the end of the year but everyone at UAE seems happy with the win.
Philipsen is often competitive in sprints and the Classics but has so far won little for his talents.
This is his first Grand Tour stage win and his third WorldTour win after victories at the 2019 Tour Down Under and this year's BinckBank Tour.
The GC riders stayed protected in the peloton to avoid the fatigue of the 230km stage into the headwind.
Primoz Roglic remains in the red jersey.
"It was - oof - a hard day. I'm really happy that now it is behind us," he said.
"I dont' know how much it was enjoyable, it was a hard pace, it was fast all day long and the cold and rain - a big and tough day behind us."
He knew that times were taken with 3km to go and finished with several Jumbo teammates.
"There was some oil or something we shouldn't take any more risks than needed so it was very welcome," he said.
Philipsen was happy to win his first Grand Tour stage.
"It's amazing. I can't describe how happy I am with this victory. It means a lot to me. I've been waiting all the Vuelta for the right moment and today this moment was unexpected,' he said.
"There was a really strong breakaway but with the headwind all day it made it really hard for the front group," he added.
"In the end I started believing more and more but at the beginning of the day I never expected it would be a bunch sprint.
"I like a little bit uphill finishes. This was not too hard so it normally suits me. They won't take this victory away from me, I'll just try to enjoy this moment, try to finish my first Grand Tour now. I'm super proud of this."
Philipsen enjoys his moment on the Vuelta podium.
To enjoy our growing photo gallery, full results and our full stage report, click below.
Today is a day for team and transfer news.
In the men's WorldTour, with the CCC Team folding at the end of 2020, and the team's parent company Continuum Sports and its licence being taken over by the Circus-Wanty Gobert organisation Want You Cycling, riders are scrambling to find teams in an ever-tightening job market.
Click below to read the full story.
This is a great photo.
HELL YES, @JasperPhilipsen! 💪💪😊¡Bien hecho, @TeamUAEAbuDhabi!📸: @PhotoGomezSport #LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/Hpy1eZun18November 5, 2020
This morning, just days after team manager Bjarne Riis said it was "unrealistic" that the NTT Pro Cycling team can be saved, team principal Doug Ryder has revealed they are "very close to being on the road next year".
The South African team, formerly known as MTN-Qhubeka and Dimension Data, was plunged into crisis in September when the Japanese tech company NTT decided to end its backing.
The NTT team is not listed by the UCI as having applied for 2021 registration but Ryder said he is working to be on the road in 2021, without explaining at what level.
"We have people from America to Australia and everything in between loving this team and wanting to get involved, trying to make a difference, and trying to connect with us. It is tough in the world today economically, and some businesses are really struggling, and some aren’t. But we are very close to being on the road next year," he said.
Click here to read the full story.
These are the four jersey wearers.
🏆 Líderes tras la etapa 15 | Leaders after stage 15❤️🇸🇮 @rogla 💚🇸🇮 @rogla🔵🇫🇷 @GuilmMartin ⚪🇪🇸 @EnricMasNicolau #LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/HtjfGqMLvkNovember 5, 2020
in other news, Ian Stannard announced his retirement today.
The 33-year-old British Classics rider, twice a winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was diagnosed with the condition, which causes inflammation in the joints, last year. He has struggled with pain in his wrists, knees, and ankles, and has only raced once since the season resumed in August, abandoning the Tour de Pologne on stage 4.
"It’s disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family," Stannard said.
"We have explored all of the options this year to deal with my condition, and the team has been there with me every step of the way. I started to hope that I could manage the problem during lockdown, but as soon as I returned to racing I knew that my body wouldn’t be able to perform at any level anymore."
Click here to read the full story on 'Yogi' and his retirement.
The Vuelta continues on Friday with stage 16 from Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo and is now set to finish in Madrid on Sunday.
The late-season revised Women's WorldTour has also made it to the end, with the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta being held from November 6-8. The three-day race, where stages were confirmed just days ago, marks the final round of the top-tier series currently led by Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo).
This special feature previews the Madrid Challenge.
We'll be back on Friday for full live coverage of stage 16. Please join us as the final GC battle begins.
The 2020 WorldTour racing season will end on Sunday. We're going to miss the emotions of this video.
This is what it means a victory in La vuelta for us 😍 https://t.co/pPE8PnLyW9November 5, 2020
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