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Vuelta a España stage 9 - Live coverage


Hola and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana.

As the minutes countdown to the roll out from Puerto Lumbreras, the riders are preparing for a long, hard day in the mountains.

Today is perhaps the most mountainous stage of the Vuelta a España so far. 

The 188 kilometres between Puerto Lumbreras and the summit of the Vuelta’s first special-category climb, the Alto de Velefique, features around 4,500 metres of vertical gain, with the majority of the climbing packed into its final third.

It will also be hot out there.

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Deceuninck-QuickStep are naturally happy after Fabio Jakobsen took his second victory, sprinting from the front to take victory on stage 8 in La Manga del Mar Menor.

The Dutchman beat Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) to the finish to follow up his stage 4 win in Molina de Aragón. He took a clear victory after sprinting from eighth wheel in the peloton, jumping from behind green jersey Philipsen to hit clear air at just inside 200 metres to go.

Click below to read our full stage report and to see our photo gallery.

Vuelta a España: Fabio Jakobsen wins stage 8 sprint at La Manga del Mar Menor

LA MANGA SPAIN AUGUST 21 Fabio Jakobsen of Netherlands and Team Deceuninck QuickStep celebrates winning ahead of Alberto Dainese of Italy and Team DSM during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 8 a 1737 km stage from Santa Pola to La Manga del Mar Menor lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 21 2021 in La Manga Spain Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The riders are about to roll out but face a 5.7km neutralised sector before the stage officially starts.

The riders have rolled out of Puerto Lumbreras. 

It's almost time to race.

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The 175 riders who finished yesterday's stage are racing today and now on their way to km 0.

Today's is Gianluca Brambilla's 34th birthday. Auguri! 

The only rider not to finish yesterday was Italy's Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) who was suffering with a knee injury. 

The flag has dropped. The stage is underway!


Soon after the start, the race departs Murcia for Andalucia, running south-west through Huércal-Overa and on towards Líjar, where the first classified climb begins, the second-category Alto de Cuatro Vientos, which is little more than a couple of dozen kilometres from the top of the Velefique as the crow flies, but is still 110km away by the roundabout route the riders will be taking.

From the Cuatro Vientos, which lies to the east of the finish, the riders will loop right over to the Velefique’s western side, tracking northwards at the beginning, to Olula del Río and then Tijola, location of the intermediate sprint. Leaving this town, the stage’s most testing section begins, the riders climb first to the first-category Alto Collado Venta Luisa, which averages a benign 4.4 per cent but stretches for a whopping 29km, topping out at just under 2,000 metres.

The descent from the Venta Luisa is considerably shorter, but a good deal steeper and leads directly into the third-category climb of the Alto de Castro de Filabres. This is another long one, but rolls throughout its 20km, gaining only 500 metres in height over that time. This summit is a bonus point, the first three riders gaining eight, five and two seconds.

Once again, the descent is much steeper, dropping quickly to Velefique and the start of the final ascent. It first featured on the Vuelta route in 2004 and last appeared in 2017, when Romain Bardet led over the summit as the race headed for the nearby Calar Alto observatory. Extending to 13.2km, the Velefique averages 6.4 per cent, but its opening 4km are closer to 10 per cent, the gradient easing back thereafter to around six as the road climbs through a series of sweeping hairpins to the summit.

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Robert Stannard (Team BikeExchange) is the first to attack but the peloton quickly closes him down.

We are expecting a real fight to get into the break today, riders and teams know that Rogic and Jumbo-Visma may let a break go and so give up on the leader's red jersey.

However they will only let riders who are not a GC threat go in the break. 

We could see two hours of attacks and fast racing as riders fight to get into the break of the day because the the second-category Alto de Cuatro Viento comes after 75km. 

An early section of the stage goes on the main highway, making for fast and flat racing. 

Antonio Jesus Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Nick Schultz (Team BikeExchange) have as small gap but the high speed makes it difficult to get away.

The attack is chased down and now riders from Burgos-BH, Groupama-FDJ and Team DSM are on the move. 

The riders leave the highway but the speed is still high. We're struggling to keep up in the Cyclingnews blimp. 

A short climb out of Huercal-Overa could help a break go clear. 

Soto goes clear alone but the peloton is about catch him.

160km to go

Gruppo compatto. 

This was the earlier attack

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Sepp Kuss suffers a mechanical problem as the speed remains high.

The riders have covered 30km in just 33 minutes!  

Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal) made a solo attack but was quickly swept up.

It looks like our prediction is right, a break might not go until the first real climb of the day. But all this early high-speed racing will hurt  everyone.

150km to go

We have a new attack by eight riders. This could have more of a chance.

UAE Team Emirates drag the peloton up to the break.  

Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) also suffered a mechanical earlier and chased with Kuss for 12km before they managed to return to the peloton. That indicates the speed and aggression of the race.  

The attacks are still coming, with 25km to to the start of the Alto de Cuatro Vientos climb.

The road to Alto de Cuatro Vientos includes some gradual climbing as the terrain changes. It could be a turn point in the race. 

Stage 9 features the two highest mountains of the entire Vuelta. 

There’s the Alto de Collado Venta Luisa at 1,970 metres above sea level, two thirds of the way through the 188 kilometre stage, and then the Velefique summit finish, a fraction lower at 1,800 metres and the first hors categorie finish of the 2021 Vuelta.

Both climbs are located deep in the Almeria desert, in the remote Sierra de Filabres, which apart from making for spectacularly arid, stony backdrops of the day’s racing, adds a whole extra layer of  difficulty to Sunday’s stage.

Less than half an hour’s drive away from the Vuelta a España’s summit finish of Velefique, fans of Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western movies can visit the original film sets, complete with stagecoaches, wigwams and bullet-riddled saloons. 

The chances of a two-wheeled GC shoot-out in the Vuelta a España are also extremely high.

Click below to read Alasdair Fotheringham's full stage preview to understand who could be the quickest on the draw.

Heat, dust and altitude at Vuelta a España hits the heights in Andalusia - Preview

MOLINA DE ARAGON, SPAIN - AUGUST 17: The peloton passing through a landscape during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021, Stage 4 a 163,9km stage from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón 1134m / @lavuelta / #LaVuelta21 / on August 17, 2021 in Molina de Aragón, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)


The peloton have covered 50.1km in the first hour.

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In other news, Filippo Ganna has spoken about his end of season goals and how he is still hungry despite winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Filippo Ganna: I’m still hungry for success

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadeirs)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Ganna is action in the Tour of Norway which ends today. He helped Ethan Hayter win the opening two stages. 

On Saturday Mads Pedersen won the stage. Click below for our stage report.

Tour of Norway: Mads Pedersen wins stage 3

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) wins stage 3 at Tour of Norway

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

We will have a final Tour of Norway report on Cyclingnews later today.

We will also report on the final stage of the Tour de l'Avenir, as the best young stage racers fight for glory and proof they are the next great thing.   

As the road rises Danni Navarro (Burgos-BH) goes solo. 

Will anyone join him as the Alto de Cuatro Vientos nears? 

As the Alto de Cuatro Vientos finally begins in earnest, we have a new attack. 

As we expected, the 10.7km climb, though not steep, could be the real launch pad for the break as the other teams ease to protect their GC riders.  

The stage profile shows how the Alto de Cuatro Vientos marks the start of the climbing. 

The profile of stage 9 of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana

(Image credit: Unipublic)

Wout Poels (Bahrain) is one of the riders on the attack.  

Poel's attack and other riders going after him has exploded the peloton. 

There are only 40 or so riders left in the red jersey group.  

Poels is near the top of the Alto de Cuatro Vientos. 

It is followed by a short descent and then a long valley ride to the Alto Collado Venta Luisa.

106km to go

Rafal Majka (UAE), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R) and Nick Schultz (BikeExchange) are currently on the move after the last group of attackers were brought back.

The riders are coming to the bottom of the descent off the climb now.

Johan Jacobs (Movistar) has abandoned the race after crashing.

Majka, Bouchard and Schultz are caught and more riders head out on the attack.

Groupama-FDJ duo Oliver Le Gac and Rudy Molard are on the attack along with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious).

Robert Stannard (Team BikeExchange), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) have joined them up front.

Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën), Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM) have also moved out front to make it 11 in the lead.

95km to go

The group has 45 seconds on the peloton currently.

Jumbo-Visma lead the peloton.

1:40 between leaders and peloton as they start the uphill drag to the base of the next climb.

The leaders are: Oliver Le Gac, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Robert Stannard (Team BikeExchange), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën), Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM) 

87km to go

That's our breakaway. They have 2:30 on the peloton now.

Molard is the best-placed rider in the move. He's 20th overall at 5:09.

After the intermediate sprint it Tijola, the road heads upwards even more.

Jumbo-Visma seem happy to set a steady pace and so let the break extend its lead.

The presence of Molard does not help the break but Jumbo-Visma may be happy to let the French rider take the lead by a few seconds.

Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) wins the intermediate sprint as the break pushes their gap up to 3:00. 

Sadly Movistar rider has abandoned after a crash. 

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The first-category Alto Collado Venta Luisa climb averages a benign 4.4 per cent but stretches for a whopping 29km, topping out at just under 2,000 metres.

The gradient easy early on but much steeper in the middle.

The profile of the Alto Collado Venta Luisa