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Vuelta a España: Marc Soler solos to victory on stage 2

Which GC riders lost time on stage 2 of the Vuelta a España

Giro d'Italia stage 18 – Live coverage

(Image credit: La Vuelta)

Situation

Breakaway

Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH)

Valentin Ferron (Total Direct Energie)

Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie)

Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Peloton - at 1:20

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Hello there and welcome back for more from this barmy Vuelta. After the first two stages were big GC days, today we have... another big GC day. This one finishes at Laguna Negra at the top of a first-category climb and, if the first two days are anything to go by, we're going to get more movement. Remember when Grand Tours filled whole first weeks with sprint stages? If this is the new normal I'm on board. 

It's another grey day in Lodosa as the riders are facially recognised (the new normal for sign-on) ahead of the stage. We'll be getting underway at 13:15 local time. 

Some big news this morning in that Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has abandoned the Vuelta. The Frenchman has finished well down on both stages so far and has decided not to start today. He came into the race with his back still not 100 per cent after his Tour de France crash, and that's his season over. 

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain McLaren) is another non-starter. He has been diagnosed with a broken shoulder blade after a crash yesterday. 

Before we get going, why not catch up on yesterday's action. Movistar actually won a race...

Vuelta a España: Marc Soler solos to victory on stage 2

Groupama-FDJ confirm Pinot's back is the problem. 

"With regard to the next season, priority is given to his complete recovery. He will not take the start of the third stage and will no longer compete in 2020."

This is the top 10 after just two stages

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 08:09:41

2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:09

3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:11

4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:17

5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:17

6 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:20

7 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:26

8 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:56

9 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:59

10 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:04

Despite the fireworks so far, it's broadly those seven riders who have stayed together on both days, and the same might be expected again today. The final climb is first-category but it's not overly difficult, averaging just 5.8 per cent over 8.6km. The first 2km are gentle, the next five are steady, and the final one is steep. We should see some moves from the GC guys but probably nearer the top. 

We've got an early move of five riders but it's an active start. 

Those five have moved clear now. They are:

Mark Donovan (Sunweb)

Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal)

Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie)

Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Willie Smit (Burgos-BH)

After 10km those five escapees have opened a gap of 2:30.

The escapees add another minute as the road drags uphill from the very start practically all the way to the first of two categorised climbs, the cat-3 Alto de Oncala. They'll then descend and take on 50km of flat ahead of the final climb. 

Here's the full story on Pinot

Thibaut Pinot abandons the Vuelta a España as back pain persists

As is the trend these days, the escapees aren't being allowed much rope, even if it's a relatively small and unthreatening group. Bagües is the best placed on GC, but he's at 23 minutes down. 

While we're in the calm early phase of this Vuelta stage, things are intensifying over in Italy as stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia is about to hit the mighty Stelvio. It's the most important climb of the entire race and I wouldn't be in the least bit offended if you wanted to join Daniel Benson for live coverage of that one

Here's a first shot of our breakaway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

That's Tosh Van der Sande on the front for Lotto. He was one of a number of riders put on notice by the Belgian team, saying his contract wouldn't be renewed for 2021. However, earlier this week it was announced they had offered the 29-year-old a new deal, and he signed it gladly. Tim Wellens may have had something to do with it, as he was really pushing for his friend and teammate to stay. 

"I hope from the bottom of my heart that he can stay. We've been riding together for a long time. I think that Tosh is always an added value, on and off the races," Wellens said before Van der Sande re-signed. "Because he often rides in service, he does not always stand out, but he is a golden teammate."

Jumbo-Visma have come to the front of the bunch to keep this break under control, and they've already taken this race by the horns. Tom Dumoulin has been very disappointing - he said he felt 'empty' as he lost more time yesterday - but Roglic won the opening stage, Sepp Kuss looks like he still has his Tour form, and George Bennett has been up there on both days. 

To just mention Jumbo would do a disservice to Movistar. They had a mixed opening day, with Enric Mas finishing in the front group but Alejandro Valverde and Marc Soler losing some time, but they dominated yesterday's proceedings. In their home region of Navarre, setting off from their home city of Pamplona, the Spanish squad took the reigns in the wind over the top of the Urbasa and then set the pace on the final climb. Soler was dropped near the top but came back on the descent and ripped past - "like a motorbike", according to Mas - to solo to the line. It was a much needed display, given Movistar hadn't won a race since February. 

We have a story on Movistar's big day out, with input from Soler and Mas.

Soler shines as Movistar get their confidence back at Vuelta a España

Here are the jersey wearers at the start a little earlier. We have overall leader Roglic in red, and he also technically has the green points jersey but that's worn on loan by Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) Nation. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) is in the spotted mountains jersey - his second in two Grand Tours after the Tour - while Mas is in white as best young rider in his last Grand Tour where he's eligible for that competition. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

116km to go

The gap is holding at 3:25 as we grind steadily uphill.

Roglic and Dumoulin in good spirits as Jumbo lead the peloton. They seem to get on well but Dumoulin has done a lot of domestique-ing this year and you wonder how they'll divide things up next year. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The breakaway find some more ground now as we inch closer to our first climb. 4:20 is the latest gap after 60km. 

We're soon to start our first climb, the Puerto de Oncala. It's listed as 17km long, with an average gradient of 2.6%. That's because the 'top' is actually positioned well beyond what appears to be the summit, after a short descent and a final kick up. 

The five escapees hit the foot of the climb with a lead of 4:30. 

Jumbo lead the peloton onto the climb. Movistar are a bit further back, with Israel Start-Up Nation very prominent. Dan Martin is looking really good so far - third on both stages. 

We get a glimpse of Hugh Carthy in the bunch now. The British climber has also had a really good start, and is now the EF leader after Michael Woods and Dani Martínez crashed on the opening day. You can read his thoughts in the piece below. 

Hugh Carthy in a prime position in Vuelta a España standings

100km to go

Into the final 100km we go, and we're 13km from the top of this first climb. It's all calm out there, with the five-man break 4:25 ahead of the peloton. 

EF are taking their responsibility now, posting Julius van den Berg to the front ot the bunch. The gap falls to 3:55, and we're 10km from the summit of the first climb. 

It's a solid pace in the bunch on this climb. The break have lost a minute here so far. 

The rain starts to fall now, for a third day in a row at this Vuelta. This is late October, but it's not all that unusual in the north, especially in the Basque Country, which we'll revisit in the second week. 

It's another windy day as well, as evidenced by a flag-bearing flag near the top of the first peak on this climb. 

91km to go

They're handing out jackets and gilets in the bunch, looking to shield themselves from these conditions. They too are now at the top of the first peak and are about to dip downhill. The gap to the break has fallen again to 3:05. 

EF have now taken it up en masse at the head of the peloton. They're not forcing the pace too much but they're up there taking control. 

Is their a problem with the Sunweb jackets? 

Thymen Arensman has to stop to put his on, as a teammate's flaps in the wind. Over at the Giro just now, Jai Hindley spent a good kilometre getting his on at the top of the Stelvio, nearly crashing in the process. Neither he nor his teammate Wilco Kelderman could get their zipped up, so they're currently dropping through single-digit temperatures at 70km/h. 

If you want to follow the dramatic finale to that Giro stage, by the way, here's the link you need

The breakaway continue to concede time as the road kicks up again towards the true summit. 

Van der Sande and Smit catch sight of the KOM banner and set off for the points. The other three aren't bothered.

86km to go

Van der Sande gets there ahead of Smit, taking three points in the mountains classification. 

The peloton crest the climb 2:50 in arrears. Jumbo are on the front once more. 

Van der Sande and Smit press on as they tear down and fast and open descent. Terpstra, Donovan, and Bagues are coming back now, though. 

The break finish that quick descent and they'll now settle in for 50 or so kilometres of rolling roads. 

75km to go

75km to go here and the gap between the five breakaway riders and the peloton stands at 2:30. These roads are exposed and the wind is still blowing so everyone will have to be alert. For now, though, the riders in the bunch are just sorting out their clothing and grabbing some food. If you're still following along, thank you, but why aren't you following the Giro?!

Mark Donovan (I can't not think of the Inbetweeners when I see his name) is struggling with his jacket now. He decides to get rid, with a little help from his team car. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumoulin is wrapped up in the middle of the bunch. He's had a miserable Vuelta so far, and you can read his thoughts after yesterday's stage. 

Tom Dumoulin 'just empty with no energy' as he loses eight minutes at Vuelta a España

The pace is ramped up again in the peloton and the break's advantage keeps falling. Less than a minute now.

The riders head towards the town of Soria and there's another surge in tempo. 

60km to go

60 to go and the break are going to be caught here. They have just 15 seconds in hand now. 

They leave town and it's touching distance. 

We turn west now as we come out of Soria, having come in from the south. The change in direction means a change in the wind, and they all know there's a threat of echelons. 

56km to go

All together!

That's it. The surge in pace in the peloton sees the breakaway caught with 56km remaining.

It's a pretty stiff southerly wind, so it'll be blowing right across the route for the next 25km. We'll soon be out on open roads that are more exposed to the wind. 

(Image credit: La Vuelta)

Movistar have the front at the moment. They almost split things yesterday. 

A big surge as Lotto and Bora hit the front. 

That comes to nothing and things calm down slightly. 

And that calm leads to new breakaway attempts. Burgos have thrown two men up the road, and they're joined by a Total rider. 

Caja Rural want in, obviously, and they fire someone across. Total throw another one over for good measure.

So we have a new five-man break: 

Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH)

Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH)

Valentin Ferron (Total Direct Energie)

Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie)

Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

44km to go

Calm has definitively spread across the bunch now and that break eases out to 1:20. We've still got more than 30km to the foot of the final climb.  

Ezquerra is dropped from the break. Not quite sure what happened there. 

40km to go

EF end the calm and hit the front of the bunch en masse, pinning the break at 1:30. They're up for it today. 

That Giro stage has finished and it was a belter. All the info in the link below. 

Giro d'Italia: Hindley wins queen stage at Laghi di Cancano

Here's our new break, with a nice pain face from Madrazo. His teammate Ezquerra, back there in purple, has since been dropped. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

And here's the view of the peloton since that break went. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

31km to go

We reach Abejar, where we have another big right-hand turn, and that means a tailwind for the run-in to the foot of the final climb. 

EF's pace-setting has brought the gap back to 55 seconds

45 seconds now as Jumbo move up to the front again. Israel are also prominent once more. 

Let's have a look at the final climb. As I said what seems like a long time ago, it's an easy start, followed by a more steady middle section, and a steep final kilometre. 

(Image credit: La Vuelta)

24km to go

Ferron, Ourselin, Madrazo, and Saez are really digging in but they're losing ground here. 30 seconds is their lead now. 

A big shake of the head from Ourselin just then as they went under the 25km to go banner and almost hit a parked motorbike, who really shouldn't have been there.

A reminder of the GC ahead of this summit finish

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 08:09:41

2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:09

3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:11

4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:17

5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:17

6 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:20

7 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:26

8 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:56

9 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:59

10 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:04

20km to go

The pace intensified again as we head under the 20km to go banner. The peloton is stretched to one long line as Ineos hit the front now.

We have an intermediate sprint now and Saez hits the front to take it. 

Just 10 seconds now for the break with 17km to go and 8km to the foot of the climb. 

Ineos still have the front of the peloton with numbers. They dominated the final climb on the first day, but then Jumbo lit it up and put three in the select group, while Ineos only had Carapaz there. 

15km to go

The breakaway are still 10 seconds out front with 15km to go. We head into the trees now and we're only 5km from the foot of the official climb, although the road is already dragging uphill. 

Ineos are still on the front on the left, with Israel, Movistar, and Astana also setting up trains alongside them

12.5km to go

It's a narrow road and position is effectively locked in now. The pace is knocked off for now and the break move back out to 25 seconds. 

30 seconds now as Ourselin does a big turn for Ferron. 

11km to go

It's still controlled here, as the breakaway hang out 32 seconds in front. Astana and Movistar are at the front as Ineos slip back a little. 

The road is really grinding uphill now and this isn't actually much different from the opening two kilometres of the climb proper. 

Puncture for Imanol Erviti, who, for some reason, is on Marc Soler's bike. 

The breakaway find a few more seconds now as they near the foot of the climb. 37 seconds now. 

8.6km to go

Here we go then - summit finish time!

It's Laguna Negra, it's 8.6km and it has an average gradient of 5.8 per cent. 

The peloton hit the gentle lower slopes and the pace has been lifted significantly. Still it's Astana and Movistar at the front.

And just like that the break’s hopes are over. Their gap has tumbled.

7.5km to go

All together

The break – our second of the day – is brought back and Ineos take it up

Soler is off the back. He’s off the back behind his team car. There must have been a mechanical issue as Erviti was on his bike. He has teammates dropping back for him

6.5km to go

Ineos have five on the front now as the first 2km of this climb are ticked off as if they weren’t there. It gets harder now

A reminder of the gradients

(Image credit: La Vuelta)

We're heading up into low lying cloud, snaking between tall pines. Froome hits the front for Ineos!

Froome lost a stack of time on the first two days but looks better here, and he may yet be able to put in some shifts for Carapaz at this race

Amador is behind Froome, then it’s Carapaz himself, followed by the last Ineos man, Ivan Sosa.

5km to go

A few riders are dropped but it’s still a big lead group, and it looks like this will come down to those steep ramps in the final kilometre

Mechanical for Chaves! 

The Colombian has to grab his teammate Tsgabu Gramy’s bike. It could be worse, but it’s still too big for him. Schultz waits to tow him back

4.3km to go

Froome is done and now Amador takes it up

Chaves is 27 seconds down because of that! Huge misfortune for the rider who'd started so brightly. 

Still a big group as Amador takes us into the last 3.6km.

Chaves is 24 seconds down, although there's less ground to the back of that group, so there's still a chance but this is panic stations. 

Schultz and Chaves pass some dropped riders. They're still at 24 seconds back. 

3km to go

Sosa takes it up! Amador’s turn is done

The has been a full Ineos mountain train again but Dan Martin has interrupted it and put himself in front of Carapaz.

Attack!

It’s Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo)

Chaves has lost Schultz now and he’s 33 seconds back, and it seems to be growing

2.2km to go

The group is really reducing now as we near the steepest section of the climb

Elissonde is caught back. Still Sosa at the front and we get a glimpse of Kuss, who’s barely breathing

1.5km to go

Chaves slips further back as Sosa turns it up. 

Mas hits the front!

The selection has been made and it’s a much smaller GC group now. Grossschartner takes it up

A dozen riders left now and an AG2R rider attacks

It's Clement Champoussin, the highly rated young French climber. He has a small gap going into the final km

A pause behind but now Grossschartner takes it up

Champoussin is caught with 650m to go

Kuss attacks!

Carapaz responds. This is really steep now. Carthy is struggling a little but the rest are together

Vlasov is there today and he hits the front with 400 to go

We’re going to get a 12-man uphill sprint for the line here

Kuss hits the front again and lifts the pace

Martin attacks 200m out!

Carapaz and Roglic go after him

Full gas to the line! It’s tight… but Martin hangs on!!

Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España

Roglic pips Carapaz for second place. There are small gaps behind.

Top 10

1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 04:27:49
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
4 Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren 00:00:04
5 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team 00:00:07
6 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:09
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:12
8 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:12
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:12
10 Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 00:00:24

General classification after stage 3


1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 12:37:24
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:05
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:13
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:32
5 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:38
6 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:44
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:17
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:29
9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:55
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:57

Let's hear from the winner, who breaks down in tears at the end of his interview

"I’ve come so close to winning this year. I just really wanted to win a stage for this team because they’ve been so good to me. The sponsors have supported us all through COVID. Sylvan Adams and Ron Baron the owners, there were no salary cuts or anything like that. The team were really motivated during lockdown because of that, to train harder. 

"Obviously with the injury at the Tour, I couldn’t win a stage but I was really determined to win a stage today. The team were amazing, and every single one of them played their part in the victory. 

"This win is partly for them and then partly for my wife because this is the first time I’ve won a race since my kids were born and it’s really special."

Here's the last kilometre

Full results are in and Chaves lost just over a minute, falling four places to eighth overall. 

Here's our report page

Vuelta a España: Dan Martin powers to stage 3 summit win

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