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Vuelta a España stage 12 - Live coverage

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Hello and welcome to our live  race coverage from stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana. 

We're just a few minutes away from the official start of the race with riders heading to the line now before beginning the neutralized section.

Here's how the situation stands in the race after Primoz Roglic came out on top at the end of stage 11.

General classification after stage 11
1 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 41:48:57
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:58
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:56
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:31
5 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 00:03:28
6 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:03:55
7 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:46
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:57
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma 00:05:03
10 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:05:38

Today is a day that really suits the break with two decent sized climbs in the second half of the day before the run-in into Córdoba. 

As the ever-excellent Peter Cossins wrote in his stage preview for CN:

This is a nicely balanced stage, one that’s sure to tempt some strong riders into the breakaway but could end up with victory going to one of the more versatile sprinters at the Vuelta. It commences in Jaén, travelling west via Porcuna and El Carpio to reach the beautiful city of Córdoba. The riders will pass through the finish line three times, completing two different loops before the finale.

Just a few hundred metres after the first passage through the line, they’ll reach the intermediate sprint. Once through it, they’ll keep tracking westwards to climb the third-category Puerto de San Jerónimo, 13km long but not a severe test, averaging a mere 3.3 per cent. The descent away from the pass is considerably steeper, and will soon have the riders back into Córdoba.

Following the second passage through the finish area, the riders will head north, soon reaching the foot of the ominously named Puerto de Catorce Por Ciento – the 14 per cent pass! There is indeed a brief section at that percentage in the final kilometre, which averages a touch more than 11 per cent. Yet the preceding half-dozen kilometres average around five.

The designation of the 14 per cent pass as a bonus point will add a little more spice to the contest to conquer it. When it featured in 2014, Winner Anacona, then with Lampre, won that battle, but the Colombian was reeled in before the finish. That could well be the fate of the first riders over it on this occasion, as there are still 18km remaining to the line, giving the sprinters the chance to get back in contention and perhaps emulate John Degenkolb, who led the bunch home at the end of that 2014 stage.

Vuelta a Espana 2021 stage 12

(Image credit: ASO)

We are now rolling on stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana. 

There are a couple of short and uncategorized climbs right after the start of the stage, and these could provide the perfect launchpad for an attack or break to form. 

I think BikeExchange will want to set something up for Matthews on a stage like this but a lot will depend on  how strong the break is, and Matthews might even find himself following wheels and going clear anyway. 

The pure sprinters still left in the race might find those last two climbs too taxing, and there's a lot of road to control before we even get to the finish.

Into the first kilometer and no significant gaps just yet but we're about to start climbing.

The MTB World Championships started this week and we have a stack of content from the event already:

MTB Worlds: France takes record seventh Team Relay title

Pro Bike: Jolanda Neff's golden Trek Supercaliber

10 riders to watch at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Jolanda Neff Trek Supercaliber

(Image credit: Trek Factory Racing )

One rider who has struggled somewhat is Egan Bernal, who hasn't been able to find his Giro d'Italia form. He's currently 7th at 4:46.

"The truth is, since the first day, I knew that I wasn't at my best level," Bernal revealed. "If you're not at your best level, it's difficult to win the race. But the objective is to continue to give the best I can. Whatever the result, I'm going to try everything."

"It's very complicated," he said. "It's very complicated to say that, on one day or another, your best level will arrive. 

"That comes with months of preparation, but I just have to stay calm."

You can read the full story on Bernal, right here.

RINCON DE LA VICTORIA SPAIN AUGUST 24 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers White Best Young Rider Jersey crosses the finishing line during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 10 a 189km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Rincn de la Victoria lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 24 2021 in Rincon De La Victoria Spain Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Damien Touzé (AG2R-Citroën Team) kicks things off with an attack, but he's marked by gaggle of chasers before the peloton drag themselves back to the front of the race. All back together.

15km covered already, and at rapid speed, but still no break from the peloton as a few more riders fly off the front.

154km to go

Three more riders, including Bol have clipped off the front and established a lead of 15 seconds. 

A larger group of around a dozen riders or so has gone off that trio which included Bol. They're about to make contact but so are the peloton.

30km in and three more riders have kicked clear with Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën Team), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Team Qhubeka NextHash) establishing a 25 second gap on the bunch but a couple of teams aren't happy to have missed out and lead the chase. 

139km to go and the leading trio are holding their advantage at around 25 seconds, so it doesn't look like this is a done deal just yet. The peloton continue to chase.

Euskaltel-Euskadi have been on the front most of the stage so far and we're almost 50km into the day. The last break has been caught so we're back together once again. This could take a while and there's no sign of the current pattern settling down. It's been an electric start so far.

126km

126km to go and another group has just edged clear of the bunch and this time we've got about 10-12 riders involved. 

No dice and that move has been snuffed out too.

See more

120km to go

We've covered well over 50km so far but still no break. The most we've seen was when three riders had 25 seconds on the peloton but every single attack has been chased down so far.

We're just under 50km from the intermediate sprint at Córdoba. Primer paso por línea de meta. After that we have the first climb of the day, the Alto de San Jerónimo.

Florian Sénéchal is the next rider to go clear with 112km to go but he's all alone and in desperate need of help if he's to make this move stick. 

Florian Sénéchal looks back, sees the peloton is on his case and eases up just before the catch is made. This has been relentless racing so far but still no break.

Just over 100km to go on the stage, and still no defined break from the peloton as yet another wave of attacks go clear.

Into the final 100km, with 97km to go and three more riders have gone clear with Sander Armee among them. They have just a few seconds though.

97km to go

Iturria Segurola, Berwick and Armee are the three leaders. They have 18 seconds on the peloton at the moment.

These three are all well over 90 minutes down on GC, so aren't a threat and it looks like the bunch are starting to ease up with 94km to go.

We're in a feedzone but a few more riders have gone clear but are then marked. Then DSM have a go, along with Ineos.

Bol and one more rider have gone clear as they try and chase down the three leaders.

Vermeersch and Amezqueta have attack too as the peloton reach an uncategorized climb. Two more counter attacks then come from the peloton with AG2R and DSM involved. 

85km to go

The five chasers are Jetse Bol (Burgos-bH), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën Team), Maxim van Gils (Lotto Soudal) and Chad Haga (Team DSM). They are 30 seconds behind the leading trio with 85km to go.

The catch is about to be made, so we'll have a strong eight rider group shortly. The question now is whether they have enough ground put several minutes into the main field or not.

Eight riders lead the race by 22 seconds with 84km to go.

Crash  and three riders are down at the back of the bunch. Most of them look 'okay' and get to their feet but there's one rider still on the deck with 82km to go.

The rider on the deck is from Alpecin but we can't see anything else to identify him. Once we have more details we will share them. It does look as though he is conscious, at least.

The medical team are starting to sit the rider up, as the peloton ease up. 

79km to go

The eight leaders now have 1:06 on the peloton. They are:

 Sebastian Berwick (Israel Start-Up Nation), Sander Armee (Qhubeka NextHash), Mikel Iturria Segurola (Euskaltel), Jetse Bol (Burgos-bH), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën Team), Maxim van Gils (Lotto Soudal) and Chad Haga (Team DSM).

UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo Visma are leading the chase with the gap at 1:13 as we close in on the intermediate sprint.

UAE have the bunch lined out so this break could be caught on the first of two major climbs that we still have to face. 

Intermarche are also near the front as they look to protect the race leader but it's still UAE who have one rider on the front with the gap at 1'10 with 74km to go.

Just over a minute for the break so their chances are pretty much doomed. They're about to head through the finish for the second time for the intermediate sprint. 

68km to go

The breakaway head through the finish line and soon after contest the sprint, where Dewulf gets the better of Amezqueta and Bol

The gap is a shade over a minute as the peloton come through, led by UAE.

Only a few kilometres now until the first of our two climbs.

Trek, Ineos, and Bora have all punched their way to the forefront as the peloton makes the flat, wide approach to the climb. 

62.2km to go

The breakaway reach the foot of the first of our two categorised climbs. It's the cat-3 Alto de San Jerónimo, it's 13km long and it has an average gradient of 3.3%. That sounds like nothing, but it has a few kilometres of flat in between the first several kilometres and the final kick up. 

The peloton is on the lower slopes and Quinn Simmons takes it up for Trek. 

Green jersey Fabio Jakobsen is already towards the back of the bunch. 

Haga is distanced from the breakaway

UAE have taken back control of the peloton, but the pace isn't too high.

It's still pretty much a full peloton, and the breakaway have moved out to 1:35.

UAE do pick up the pace now. Carapaz is among a few riders to lose contact.

Crash

Ineos, Movistar, and Jumbo riders down as they hit the flatter section

Roglic is reported as hitting the deck.

Van Baarle is down for Ineos and Yates has come off as well. 

It was a left-hand bend on flatter gradients and a rider slips out and sends others out off the right-hand side of the road.

Roglic is now chasing with four teammates.

Nelson Oliveira is the most banged up for Movistar. 

UAE carry on the effort up front. Jumbo are chasing and closing in.

Roglic and his teammates get themselves onto the back of the bunch as they head onto the final ramps in the last 1500 metres of this climb.

Jumbo aren't quite back yet, actually. UAE's pace making has split the peloton into pieces here and Roglic and his teammates are currently scrambling their way up through the groups.

We're not sure where Yates is. He took longer to get going so is presumably still chasing.

49km to go

The breakaway - minus Haga - reach the top of the Alto de San Jerónimo and Iturria sprints away to claim maximum mountains points.

Mas and Lopez are safe up front in the bunch, behind the UAE riders.

UAE take the bunch over the top of the climb, now 1:04 down on the breakaway.

Iturria presses on as the road zips downhill.

UAE continue to charge downhill.

Yates is chasing just off the back of the peloton. Roglic is safely back in the thick of it.

Iturria is still alone at the head of the race. He by 10 seconds over the rest of the break, which has stitched back together after splitting in two over the top of the climb.

40km to go

Into the final 40 and the road flattens out here for several kilometres before the sterner test of the cat-2 climb and then the drop into the finish. 

Trentin appears on the front, which is odd given he seems to be UAE's protected rider today, but he's going downhill so fast he's not having to pedal. He lets his teammates take back over on the run back into Cordoba.

38km to go

Iturria is caught by his former companions. Their gap is down to 42 seconds.

The peloton is strung out on these flat roads. The pace is high but the breakaway are riding well at the moment and holding them at 40 seconds. Things will quickly change, however, on our final climb.

The breakaway riders head onto the finish straight for the second and penultimate time.

30.7km to go

Armee leads them across the line but they're losing ground now. 

The gap is just 23 seconds as UAE lead the bunch over the line. 

Just a few kilometres now until the second of our two climbs, the strangely-named Alto del 14%, which actually has an average gradient of 5.6%.

We're on the Alto del 14% and the break or what's left of it has started to split up with 25km to go. It's Maxim Van Gils who is leading now. 

UAE were leading the bunch onto the 7.2km climb but now Bahrain and Movistar are in control with the break at 37 seconds. It could all come back together on the climb.

Maxim Van Gils still leads and he's got his jersey unzipped as he takes on some of the easier sections of the climb. He's opened up a 22 second gap on the rest of the break.

No major attack as UAE riders swarm the front of the peloton and a number of riders are spat out the back. This has been a brutal day.

Three more riders from the break have been swallowed up as Landa is dropped with 23km to go. 

UAE still on the front and setting a decent clip with the race leader paying close attention. Maxim Van Gils leads with a 35 second gap with 23km to go.

Maxim Van Gils has 4.6km to go the climb before the long descent towards the finishline. 

Maxim Van Gils is hanging on with a gap of 25 seconds. UAE still setting a pace but Matthews is still there. 

Looks like UAE are working for Trentin here bur Caja Rural have pinged a rider off the front. It's Lastra. 

Maxim Van Gils has been caught with 21km to go and Lastra is about be to brought back too. 

Florian Sénéchal has been dropped and Lopez from Trek has attacked.

UAE still have good numbers on the front but it's actually Ciconne who has attacked from Trek. 20km to go.

Ciccone has been marked by Vine and now DSM have sent a rider up the road to chase. 

Still 1.8km to go on the climb before the descent begins.

We're down to about 30 riders in the peloton and Matthews has been dropped. Game over for now at least. Cort too.

The Ciccone, Vine, Bardet, and Henao are jus about clear but the gap isn't huge.

Vine takes a huge pull before Bardet picks things up and gets out of the saddle as he fights for every second. 

Matthews is back in the bunch. Trentin is there too. 

We've gone over the top of the climb and the four leaders have 29 seconds with 17km to go.

UAE bring Trentin back to the front of the peloton but the four leaders are working together as they hold their advantage on this fast descent. 

Just 15km to go and Majka charges down the descent on the front of the peloton. 

Problem for Henao and it looks like he dropped his chain. He's got it back on the big ring but that was a real wobble for the former Sky rider.

UAE have the entire peloton lined out on the descent with 14km to go. 

The four leaders though still have 27 seconds with 13.5km to go and the chase need the road to flatten out. 

Trentin had gone clear on the descent but he's been caught and passed by  Ion Izagirre and now BikeExchange are chasing for Matthews. The gap is at 29 seconds with 10km to go.

The four leaders have 6 miles to go and they could decide the stage but we're not on the flat roads yet as Izagirre and Trentin work together now. Not sure UAE will have wanted to see this...

Matthews has at least five riders with him as the bunch lead the chase with 8.7km to go.

And 8.4km to go and Izagirre and Trentin have sat up. The gap to the leaders is now at 37 seconds though. UAE and BikeExchange need to work together. 

33 seconds with 7.2km as the road flattens out.

Not sure the catch will be made as Vine, Bardet, Henao and Ciccone continue to share the pace.

It's coming down... it's at 27 seconds with 5.7km to go.

21 seconds with 4.4km to go. This is going to be really close.

They're starting to struggle on the long straights but we do have a few corners coming up as UAE and BikeExchange share the pace. 19 seconds now.

Bardet looks over his shoulder and the gap is now at 14 seconds with 3.2km to go.

Now 11 seconds. 

The bunch are closing now and it looks like they've timed it well. I think Cort made it back after the climb too. 

2.2km to go and the gap is at 10 seconds has Howson takes a turn and then cracks. 

9 seconds with 1.7km to go.

1.5km to go and the catch has been made. 

Vine is pressing on though. He kept the gap on a corner and he's clear with 900m to go.

Cort moves up to third wheel. 

Vine is caught. Cort is being lead out.

Matthews has to close.

Cort is going for a long one but can he hold on. Matthews is too far back.

Andrea Bagioli is closing and could take this.

Magnus Cort wins stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana. 

Great lead out from Jens Keukeleire and that cost Matthews the win because he had to sprint just to get back into contention. It looks like Trentin was fourth. 

Didn't see EF all day until the last 800m. Great effort and tactics from them. 

1 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 03:44:21
2 Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
4 Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5 Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
6 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10 Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team DSM

General classification after stage 12

1 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 45:33:18
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:58
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:56
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:31
5 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 00:03:28
6 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:03:55
7 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:46
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:57
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma 00:05:03
10 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:05:38

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