Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Vuelta a España stage 7.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are on their way to kilometre zero.
#LaVuelta20The peloton is on the move for stage 7 🚴♂️ pic.twitter.com/DhKlBBTEUYOctober 27, 2020
As the racing returns after the first rest day, there is the good news that no one in the race bubble tested positive for COVID-19.
Click below to read the full story.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) will spend his first day as the overall leader of La Vuelta after he took the jersey after in Aramon Formigal on Sunday.
The Ecuadorian is 18 seconds ahead of Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling), while Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) is third at 20 seconds.
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is fourth at 30 seconds.
Mijines... a disfrutar !! 🔴🤪👍🏽 #04 pic.twitter.com/fscc5zeuHVOctober 27, 2020
With the overall classification so tight, we expect to see another fight for seconds and attacks from the GC riders on the Orduña climb.
The riders face it twice: after 59km and then after 132km. The summit is just a fast 19km away and so any attacks could see riders gain and even extend time gaps on their rivals.
First tackled in 1956, Orduña appeared regularly in the Vuelta through to the late 1970s, when the Vuelta began a lengthy avoidance of the Basque Country due to increasingly frequent attacks on the race by hardline separatist groups.
“Historically Orduña was considered the toughest climb in the Basque Country,” Jesus Gomez Peña, longstanding cycling correspondent of the biggest daily newspaper in the area, El Correo, and who has ridden up the ascent himself several times, tells Cyclingnews.
“It was only when climbs like Monte Oiz” – tackled in 2018 by the Vuelta – “in some of the wildest areas of Euskadi began to be tarmacked that it lost that unofficial status.”
“But for years, when it was one of the main roads south before the motorway was built, it was famous for being so steep and with so many hairpins that lorry and busdrivers called it ‘the gear-wrecker’.
7.8 kms long and tackled twice on stage seven this year, ‘the gear-wrecker’ is “relentlessly tough, with no resting places, or false flats” Gomez Peña says.
“It’s also very exposed at the top of the climb, which ends in the middle of some moorland, so the wind can make a big difference.”
Read Alasdair Fotheringham's excellent preview of the Orduña stage to understand what racing it inspired in the past and the secrets of its steep gradient.
After leading the Vuelta a from stage 1, problems with a rain cape and then some attacks from his rivals means Primoz Roglic is wearing the green points jersey. Combined with his yellow and black Jumbo colours have lead to some suggesting he looks like a Ninja turtle.
We'll let you decided on that.
Vuelve la batalla / Ready for the 2nd round 😉@rogla 🤜🤛@RichardCarapazM 📸: @charlylopezph #LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/IdZodqPNRlOctober 27, 2020
We counted them at the finish on Sunday and the same 163 riders are back racing today. There are no non starters on stage 7.
The flag has dropped outside Vitoria-Gasteiz and so the 159.7km stage is underway.
There are immediate attacks but nobody can getaway for now.
Chris Froome is in the pack and has a new bike.
Click this link to find out more and perhaps go on to bid for it in a charity auction.
Now this is a @Pinarello_com that will stand out in the peloton at #LaVuelta20Designed by artist @brittopopart - it will be auctioned off later this year in support of @bestbuddies. Look after it @chrisfroome! pic.twitter.com/OqVpUMbygYOctober 27, 2020
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) has attacked alone but only has a 15 second gap.
The opening 50km are on rolling roads, before a descent and then the steep Orduña climb.
Rémi Cavagna was perhaps hoping other riders would go with him but he pushes on alone.
The chase is on as other riders try to close down Cavagna and launch a different attack.
The TGV of Clermont-Ferrand is using his TT skills to test the peloton.
"You get so alone at times that it just makes sense"#LaVuelta20Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/9vLU26vQL6October 27, 2020
Cavagna is powering away up front but now Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie) and Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) are trying to join him.
They are 10 seconds behind him.
125km to go
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is caught by a group of attackers but they in turn are also swept up by the peloton.
Another attack but another chase after a fast opening 40km.
Riders are trying to get in the break of the day before the climb of Alto de Orduña.
The steep climb will probably spark the first big selection and reveal if a break can get away or if the GC riders want to fight for the stage victory.
This is more like it. A group of big riders have got away and the peloton seems happy to let them go.
In there are: Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck Quick Step), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Storer (Sunweb) Alex Aranburu (Astana Pro Team), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ), Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Pro Cycling), Dorian Godon (AG2R La Mondiale), Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal), Victor Lafay, Pierre Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Stefan De Bod (NTT), José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
They have quickly opened a 1:20 gap.
The 16 riders have pushed out their lead to almost 2:00. The break is on with 106Km left to race.
100km to go
The break have descended into Orduña now. The town is surrounded by hills and cliffs on all sides, which is why the stage profile has that odd look – a descent from the plateau followed by a climb.
More riders are trying to get away from the peloton as the break begin the Puerto de Orduña. The climb is 7.8km long at an average gradient of 7.7 per cent.
The peloton start the climb now.
A chase group featuring Tim Wellens is 40 seconds behind the break. The peloton, led by Ineos, are 1:15 back.
Just a minute for the peloton now as the break reaches the final two kilometres of the climb.
The large chase group which included Tim Wellens has bridged to the break.
George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates), Juan Pedro Lopez, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Rob Power, Thymen Arensman, Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Omar Fraile (Astana), Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Georg Zimmermann (CCC Team), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Guillaume Martin, Jose Herrada (Cofidis), Gino Mader (NTT), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) are all up there.
At the top of the climb, the peloton will pass into Castilla y Leon and the province of Burgos. They'll then re-enter the Basque Country and loop back around to take on the climb a second time before finishing in Villenueva de Valdegovia.
Sepp Kuss and Guillaume Martin jump away from the break near the top, with the American collecting 10 points over the top to retake the KOM classification lead.
Rob Power and Nans Peters are up front with the duo.
87km to go
1:40 back to the peloton now.
The attackers are back in the break.
The climb of Alto de Orduña has shook up the race even further but Kuss, Peters and Power are back in the big front group.
Behind Ineos is leading the peloton while also causing some pain to their rivals.
The race is on, also because of some cross winds, but there is still 82km to go.
This video confirms that Sepp Kuss was first to the top of the climb.
🏁Etapa 7 - Stage 7 | #LaVuelta2020 ⛰️Paso por el Puerto de Orduña (1ª categoría)1. @seppkuss (Jumbo-Visma)2. @GuilmMartin (Cofidis)3. Rob Power (Team Sunweb)4. @NansPeters (AG2R La Mondiale)5. @alejanvalverde (Movistar Team)@loterias_es 👉https://t.co/zqaO4Bw62K pic.twitter.com/yY6u3tvbMiOctober 27, 2020
The presence of some strong riders in the 36 attack and even some GC threats means Ineos is keen to keep them under control.
The peloton is at 1:45.
With so many riders up front, some are sitting in the wheels, while others are going on the attack.
The stage is finely balanced and could tip either way.
Threats up front include Alejandro Valverde (Movistar),
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), George Bennett and Sep Kuss (Jumbo.
The break hits another short, steep climb. This is going to be another painful day.
Valverde started the stage 3:00 down overall. If the break can stay away, he can pull a lot of that back today.
However Ineos refuse to ease up with Cameron Wurf doing a big turn on the front.
60km to go
A rider goes off the road into a field.
It's a Bora rider who seemed to go ff the road at speed.
Television identifies the riders as Jay McCarthy. He is moving but has some injuries.
Ineos are still leading the chase but the break is going away from them.
The gap is up to 2:45
Valverde clearly wants the red jersey or is at least trying. He's on the attack from the break with Dorian Godon (AG2R La Mondiale) and Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal).
There's life in the old dog yet...
Chris Froome is on the front now. He is not back at his best but every day he goes deep and suffers, he seems to get better and better.
Riding and finishing the Vuelta is vital to his recovery and for 2021 when he joins the Israel Start-Up nation.
The Basque countryside is stunning today, with the stage passing through deep gorges and high exposed hills.
It is grey with occasional rain but the riders have little timer to notice or enjoy the views.
The front attackers pass through the intermediate sprint point with 42km to go.
However they are keen to push on because the Alto de Orduña will begin with 28km to go.
Michael Woods is also in the attack today. He could be a threat for the stage victory.
And as soon as we speak, three riders, including Cort, Bennett and Tim Wellens.
It's a triple high-speed pursuit match out on the road.
The peloton is accelerating as they near the climb. Ineos have been nudged off the front, with several teams fighting for position.
The peloton has quickly pulled a minute back on the attackers.
Godon is pushing on up front. He faces a huge task to win the stage but he's going for it.
He won Paris-Camembert just a few weeks ago and so has form. He could be the big cheese today.
The rest of the 35-rider attack are chasing him but a cross wind is making it hard for everyone.
🇪🇸 #LaVuelta20 We're inside 30km to go and at the foot of the Puerto de Orduña for the second time today. Godon (ALM) leads solo with a 20" advantage over the Georg Zimmermann chase group. The reduced peloton is 1'38" behind Godon. pic.twitter.com/8cjkffDqxsOctober 27, 2020
Here we go. The attackers hit the start of the Alto de Orduña.
7.8 kms long and tackled twice on stage seven this year, ‘the gear-wrecker’ is “relentlessly tough, with no resting places, or false flats” local journalist Gomez Peña told Cyclingnews.
Dorian Godon is caught by the Movistar-led chasing group with 25km to go.
The peloton is at 1:10.
The strong wind is adding an extra difficulty today. And will do so much more over the top of the climb.
There will be 19km to go ver the top and so the wind could make it impossible for anyone distanced on the climb to close the gap.
Someone will surely be caught out and exposed. Indeed, Tom Dumoulin is at the back of the peloton.
The climb includes six sweeping hairpins. It's a fast but hard climb.
3km to climb but the final kilometre is at 14%. Perfect for attacks from the strongest in the break.
Sepp Kuss and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) try to control the moves but Woods attacks alone.
The views are stunning but there is no time to look around.
Nans Peters (AG2R) is trying to go across to Woods.
#LaVuelta20 The breakaway group are attacking each other with @NieveMikel keeping a watching eye on the moves.Woods (EF1) has now jumped away and leads solo with 2km left to climb ⛰ pic.twitter.com/3aYRhbFMlmOctober 27, 2020
Boom. Valverde attacks behind in pursuit of Woods.
Valverde goes across to Peters as Kuss and Bennett lead the reduced attack.
Everyone is going deep in pursuit of Woods.
The hairpins are very steep now as Omar Fraile (Astana) jumps across.
Guillaume Martin goes deep to get across too.
Can they combine to catch Woods and fight for the stage victory?
It's a strong headwind over the top but Woods pushes on.
14km to go.
Woods has wisely eased up and is joined by the three chasers.
Other riders are 30 seconds behind, with the peloton at 1:40.
The rider face a flat road now with one or two short rises before the finish.
There five riders up front:
Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling)
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis)
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale)
Omar Fraile (Astana Pro Team)
Ils ne sont plus que 5 à l'avant 🔥Allez @GuilmMartin 👏#CofidisMyTeam #LaVuelta20 pic.twitter.com/QScfTskKquOctober 27, 2020
10km to go
Who will win an eventual sprint?
Valverde? Fraile? Peters or Woods?
Bennett and Kuss are trying to inspire the chase behind but others are playing games even if the gap to the 5 is down to 15 seconds.
The GC peloton is also chasing hard with Amador doing big licks for Ineos. They are only 1:10 behinds now.
The five up front keep attacking each other. But that is costing them precious seconds.
This is a thriller finish.
After Martin, Valverde accelerates but Woods chases him.
Valverde gets a gap but a descent allows the others tuck low and close the gap.
4km to go
The chasers are at 25 seconds.
Fraile makes an attack. Woods gets on his wheel. This could be the move.
But Valverde closes the gap.
2km to go!
The chasers are at 20 seconds but its too late surely.
The peloton is at 1:00.
Up front Woods attack alone!!
He's got a gap and only Fraile seems to have any chase left.
He's going to win it!
Woods managed to hold off the chase from Fraile and celebrated his solo win.
Chapeau to the Canadian for attacking hard at the right time.
Woods thanks Cort for helping him in the break and then is congratulated by Hugh Carthy who finished in the GC group.
This is the top ten:
1 Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling 03:48:16
2 Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:04
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:04
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 00:00:08
5 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:08
6 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:13
7 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:13
8 Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:13
9 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:13
10 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:13
Woods finished 4 seconds ahead of Fraile and Valverde.
Woods was second on Sunday's stage to Aramón Formigal but stepped up to win today.
EF also have Hugh Carthy in second place overall, only 18 seconds down on Carapaz.
This is the new General Classification:
1 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 28:23:51
2 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:18
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:20
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:30
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:07
6 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:30
7 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:42
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:02:02
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:03
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:02:39
Woods was overjoyed to win the stage.
He fractured his leg in Paris-Nice before the COVID-19 lockdown but did the work to recover and won a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico in September.
He will move to Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021 and touched his EF jersey in a sign of respect.
"It was a special day - amazing to be racing in the Basque Country," he said.
He also explained how he won the stage.
"I got away with those four guys, they were riding super strong, and I felt bad that I couldn't pull through. With Valverde in the group I just couldn't pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and I just couldn't give him any more time in the general classification. So I was able to sit in a little bit. Then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs, and I got the win.
"I pencilled in a bit, initially I was supposed to be with Hugh and not in the break, but the race just got so crazy the group got so big, I had to go across to make sure that we had numbers in it. It paid off great for me."
And is he now looking for another win?
"I'm going to savour this one and after that I'll start looking at the race book," he joked.
Here's the moment Woods won the stage.
This shot shows how Woods won alone with a late attack.
Fraile and Valverde were the bridesmaids today as Woods took the win.
To read our full stage report and see the full results and growing photo gallery from the stage, click below.
Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage.
The tapas racing continues tomorrow with a real mountain finish at Alto de Moncalvillo.
The 164km stage starts in Logroño, the capital of the Rioja wine region.
The climb to the 1490m high finish is 8.3km long at 9.2%.
Bennett jumps into GC top 10 after making break of the day
Watch Michael Woods win in Villanueva de Valdegovia
Spanish veteran in key long-distance break of day
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