Vuelta a España: Magnus Cort scores stage 16 victory

Magnus Cort survived the hard climbs, the attacks and a hectic sprint to give EF Pro Cycling a third stage victory at the Vuelta a España in Ciudad Rodrigo. 

Cort has always climbed and sprinted well and the combination proved ideal for the hilly stage. He kicked away after Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led out the sprint and won with one arm in the air.

Behind him Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) fought for the bonus seconds and finished second, collecting six precious seconds. Crossing the line in third was Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), but he was relegated from that position to the back of the group in 32nd for a dangerous move in the sprint, permitting Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott) to grab a podium spot. Valverde would then place fourth.

Roglič extended his overall race lead to 45 seconds on Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) with only Saturday’s final mountain stage to Alto de la Covatilla left to race before Sunday’s parade stage to central Madrid. Britain’s Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) is third overall at 53 seconds and cannot be ruled out. 

“I always want to be as complete a rider as possible. I already said from the start of this Vuelta that I would try every day to do my best,” Roglič said of his sprinting for the bonus seconds. 

“There is still a big day coming tomorrow, the decisive one. We just need to maintain focus and do our best and see what it means.”

Cort had overcome COVID-19 just a few weeks before the Vuelta a Espana but was given the green light to race after medical checks. He found his form via the daily racing but admitted he had not expected it to be his day.  

“I was never confident I could win it - starting today I hadn't even dreamed about winning this stage,” he said. “I was sitting, also helping Hugh [Carthy] out, and suddenly I could see my chance to get over that first-category climb with 25 to 30 kilometres to go and when I was in that reduced group. I knew there weren't many guys faster than me.

“I think it has been difficult for everyone this year,” Cort said of the rescheduled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It means a lot that I can come back and win. I was coming into good form when we started back up again after the long break but then I caught corona myself and was out. I've only now been training for three weeks before coming to this race, so it's very nice to get a victory here.”

How it unfolded

While Saturday’s final mountain stage is expected to decide the winner of the 2020 Vuelta a España, stage 16 from Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo was always going to be a hard day in the saddle, with teams warming up on the rollers before the roll out. 

The biggest concern was the exposed open road and the risk of echelons in the first hour. The 162km stage started fast but when the teams’ reconnaissance staffs checked out the route, they realised the wind was not strong enough to spark echelons and so was not a danger to the overall classification contenders.  

It was instead, perhaps a day for a breakaway, and Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) took control of his own destiny by going on the attack almost immediately.

He was soon joined by his teammate Juan Felipe Osorio, Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), then Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) and even a third Burgos-BH rider Jesús Ezquerra after a fast opening 30 kilometres. 

Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) also tried to get in on the action, but failed to get across.

The peloton let the break go clear on the rolling roads, with Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates controlling the break's advantage to 4:30 as they approached the El Portillo climb.

Stannard lead over the climb, as Chris Froome lead the peloton behind, riding to protect Ineos Grenadier team leader Richard Carapaz. 

Froome was leading an Ineos plan and later, on the Puerto El Robledo climb, the team massed on the front and upped the pace even more. It shook out the peloton and made a selection, but Roglič seemed unperturbed. He sat on the wheels, protected yet again by Sepp Kuss and others. It was a battle of nerve and mind games, as Andrey Amador led Carapaz and the rest up the climb and then down the stunning descent. 

Up front the break suffered on the Puerto El Robledo climb and Burgos-BH’s tactical plan fell apart. First Osorio was dropped from the break on the climb, then Ezquerra lost contact, and finally Madrazo cracked too. 

Stannard and Cavagna were soon the only riders left up front but they were convinced they could go all the way. However Ineos’ surge had awoken the peloton and reminded them there was a chance of a stage victory and time bonuses up for grabs. 

The gap fell on the climb to less than 40 seconds and UAE Team Emirates and Movistar moved to the front to lead the chase.

Stannard and Cavagna drove on with determination, but the gap eventually evaporated with 17km to go. 

However Cavagna refused to give up and pushed alone on the descent of the final uncategorised climb. He opened a 30-second gap and began to time trial to the finish, but he was finally caught and brought to heel with two kilometres to go. 

Bruno Amirail (Groupama-FDJ) tried a solo in the final kilometre but only set up the finish, with Cort coming through to produce the winning sprint and give EF Pro Cycling another reason to celebrate.

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Full results
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling04:04:35
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 2 - Cell 2
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos GrenadiersRow 4 - Cell 2
6Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 5 - Cell 2
7Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 6 - Cell 2
8Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro CyclingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team SunwebRow 8 - Cell 2
10Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLarenRow 10 - Cell 2
12Guillaume Martin (Fra) CofidisRow 11 - Cell 2
13Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) CofidisRow 12 - Cell 2
14Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 13 - Cell 2
15Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct EnergieRow 16 - Cell 2
18Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 17 - Cell 2
19Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro CyclingRow 18 - Cell 2
20Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up NationRow 21 - Cell 2
23David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team EmiratesRow 22 - Cell 2
24David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 23 - Cell 2
25William Barta (USA) CCC TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 25 - Cell 2
27Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro CyclingRow 26 - Cell 2
28Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 27 - Cell 2
29Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 28 - Cell 2
30Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 29 - Cell 2
31George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 30 - Cell 2
32Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 31 - Cell 2
33Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:00:08
34Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:08
35Rob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb00:00:10
36Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Ineos Grenadiers00:00:13
37Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:15
38Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:15
39Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers00:00:17
40José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:17
41Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:18
42Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb00:00:37
43Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:00:45
44Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:45
45Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team00:01:16
46Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team00:01:16
47Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:01:21
48Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling00:01:21
49Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain McLaren00:01:21
50Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team00:01:26
51Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma00:01:36
52Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:01:44
53Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team00:01:47
54Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott00:02:11
55Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH00:04:55
56Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH00:04:55
57Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:04:55
58Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates00:04:55
59Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:05:27
60Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis00:05:27
61Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:05:31
62Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:07:45
63Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:09:28
64Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis00:09:28
65Mark Donovan (GBr) Team Sunweb00:10:24
66Thyman Arensman (Ned) Team Sunweb00:10:24
67Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates00:10:24
68Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH00:10:24
69Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:10:24
70Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo00:10:24
71Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:10:24
72Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team00:10:24
73Max Kanter (Ger) Team Sunweb00:10:24
74Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:10:34
75Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:13:13
76Juan Felipe Osorio Arboleda (Col) Burgos-BH00:13:13
77Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:13:13
78Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal00:13:13
79Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:13:13
80Scott Davies (GBr) Bahrain McLaren00:13:13
81Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo00:13:13
82Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation00:13:13
83Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation00:13:13
84Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis00:13:13
85Valentin Ferron (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:13:13
86Ricardo Vilela (Por) Burgos-BH00:13:13
87Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma00:13:13
88Cameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers00:13:13
89Logan Owen (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:13:13
90Carlos Barbero (Spa) NTT Pro Cycling00:13:13
91Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:13:13
92Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:13:13
93Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:13:13
94Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers00:13:13
95Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates00:13:13
96Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana Pro Team00:13:13
97Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:13:13
98Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates00:13:20
99Enrico Gasparotto (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling00:15:21
100Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:15:21
101Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:15:21
102Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:15:21
103Chris Froome (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers00:15:21
104Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Pro Cycling00:15:21
105Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Start-Up Nation00:15:21
106Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo00:15:21
107Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain McLaren00:15:21
108Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe00:16:40
109Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo00:16:40
110Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie00:17:48
111Julius Van den Berg (Ned) EF Pro Cycling00:17:48
112Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH00:17:48
113Mickael Delage (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:17:48
114Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo00:17:48
115Alex Molenaar (Ned) Burgos-BH00:17:48
116Willie Smit (RSA) Burgos-BH00:17:48
117Rory Sutherland (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation00:17:48
118Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation00:17:48
119Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:17:48
120Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:17:48
121Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:17:48
122Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:17:48
123Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis00:17:48
124Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:17:48
125Aritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:17:48
126Kevin Inkelaar (Ned) Bahrain McLaren00:17:48
127Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team00:17:48
128Benjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling00:17:48
129Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team00:17:48
130Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates00:17:48
131Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:17:48
132Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:17:48
133Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:17:48
134Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:17:48
135Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:17:48
136Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:17:48
137Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:17:48
138Jhojan Orlando Garcia Sosa (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:17:48
139Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:17:48
140Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team00:17:48
141Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:17:48
142James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation00:17:48
143Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe00:17:48
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickstepRow 143 - Cell 2
DNSLuis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Serradilla Del Llano, km. 139.7
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott4
2Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep2
3Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team1
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Points
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling25
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma20
3Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott16
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team14
5Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers12
6Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe10
7Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale9
8Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling8
9Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team Sunweb7
10Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team6
11Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren5
12Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis4
13Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis3
14Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale2
15Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma1
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 2) El Portillo km. 90.8
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott5
2Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal3
3Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep1
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 1) El Robledo km. 126.7