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Vuelta a Espana stage 17 live - Rigoberto Uran wins from break at Monasterio de Tentudia

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Stage 17 of the Vuelta a España brings the peloton to the testing category 2 finale at Monasterio de Tentudía, but the tenor of the race is rather different following the news that Primoz Roglic has abandoned due to the injuries he sustained in his crash in the final metres of yesterday's stage.

Roglic was second overall, 1:26 (and closing) off Evenepoel's red jersey. His absence extends Evenepoel's buffer beyond two minutes and redraws the race for overall victory and for the podium. The revised standings look as follows:

1                                  Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team     61:26:26

2                                  Enric Mas        Movistar Team           00: 02:01

3                                  Juan Ayuso     UAE Team Emirates  00:04:49

4                                  Carlos Rodriguez        INEOS Grenadiers 00:05:16

5                                  Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team   00:05:24

6                                  João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates            00:07:00

7                                  Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM            00:07:05

8                                  Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team            00:08:57

9                                  Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-hansgrohe     00:11:36

10                               Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux       00:11:41

Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Addy Engels has spoken to reporters, including our own Alasdair Fotheringham, at the start in Aracena. "Primoz had a bad night and he had a lot of pain, which is also the reason he is not able to start today," said Engels, who confirmed that Engels had no sustained a concussion in the crash. "No. When he came to the bus, it was very hard for him, more like mentally broken. But there was no sign of concussion.

"There was scans made this morning which showed no fractures, but a lot of wounds. And that combined with the pain he had, it was certainly not possible to race in a bike race. That was already the decision this morning."

Slovenian Primoz Roglic of JumboVisma lies injured at the finish line of stage 16 of the 2022 edition of the Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain cycling race from Sanlucar de Barrameda to Tomares 1894 km Spain Tuesday 06 September 2022 BELGA PHOTO FILIP LANSZWEERT Photo by FILIP LANSZWEERT BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by FILIP LANSZWEERTBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

More Engels: "It’s incredibly hard of course. He was not done yet in this race, which he showed yesterday. Of course it’s a big blow when you crash out of the Tour last year, you crash out of the Tour this year, and then you also crash out of the Vuelta at this moment of the race, still fighting for victory. It’s mentally incredibly hard, of course, to get over."

Engels added that he is still at a loss to explain how Roglic crashed. Like the rest of us, he has been poring over cycling's answer to the Zapruder film since yesterday evening. "It’s really a good question and a difficult one to answer," Engels said. "Every time you see the image from a different angle, at the moment the crash is happening, the camera is moving. I did not see any strange move in the group, so in the end, to me, it looks like me it’s really an unlucky race incident without anyone to blame – just bad luck with big consequences."

Today's stage gets underway at 13.05 local time, with the peloton hitting kilometre zero around 13.21. The lone classified climb is the category 2 ascent to the finish at Monasterio de Tentudia (10.3km at 5%), but route designer Fernando Escartin noted that there is scarcely a metre of flat all day, labelling this a "leg-breaker day, with constant ups and downs." The weather can often be sweltering at this time of year in Extremadura, but this afternoon, the peloton will avoid the worst excesses, with a maximum temperature of around 29 degrees Celsius forecast.

Alasdair Fotheringham is on the Vuelta for us, and he surveyed the scene in Tomares yesterday during the most frenetic moments of the race thus far. Roglic's attack was followed by Evenepoel's puncture and then the Slovenian's own, costly crash in the closing metres. In the immediate aftermath of the stage, it was a scramble to make sense of it, but Alasdair wrote this eyewitness piece on Roglic's latest high-profile heartbreak

Slovenian Primoz Roglic of JumboVisma crosses the finish line of pictured at the start of stage 16 of the 2022 edition of the Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain cycling race from Sanlucar de Barrameda to Tomares 1894 km Spain Tuesday 06 September 2022 BELGA PHOTO DAVID PINTENS Photo by DAVID PINTENS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID PINTENSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

And Alasdair was also on hand in the mixed zone as red jersey Remco Evenepoel talked reporters though his own miniature ordeal in the finale in Tomares. The Belgian pressed back against the Adam Blythe-propagated conspiracy theory that he had faked his puncture in the final 3km. "Nobody can say anything. I'm not a guy who is going to fake such things," said Evenepoel. Read the full story here.

Remco Evenepoel in the Vuelta a Espana leader's jersey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The absence of Roglic clearly changes the nature of Evenepoel's task at this Vuelta, even if the red jersey couldn't very well admit that when he passed through the mixed zone a few minutes ago. "Everybody is still dangerous, every day is dangerous, every corner is dangerous," he insisted. "we have to be careful and focus until Saturday evening - and even until Sunday evening."

Team Quick Steps Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel celebrates on the podium wearing the overall leaders red jersey after the 15th stage of the 2022 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain a 153 km race from Martos to the Alto Hoya de la Mora of the Sierra Nevada in Monachil on September 4 2022 Photo by JORGE GUERRERO AFP Photo by JORGE GUERREROAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The peloton is currently navigating the neutralised zone in Aracena. The town is home to the Gruta de las Maravillas - 'the grotto of the marvels' - a cave replete with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, first opened to the public in 1913. 

-162km

The peloton has reached kilometre zero and stage 17 of the Vuelta is formally underway.

There's a slightly downhill start from Aracena and the pace is brisk as a result, which is making it difficult for a breakaway to take shape at this early juncture.

-152km

Ryan Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacks and opens a lead of ten seconds or so over the peloton. The Irishman will hope for some company on this rolling road. 

-138km

Mullen is brought back. Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroen) and James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) are the next to have a go, but the high speed means they don't get far.

-130km

The peloton remains intact after 32km, with the average speed so far a very brisk 51kph, though the terrain is growing a little more rugged. That should knock off the pace and, perhaps, lend an opening for a break to go clear. 

Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Addy Engels visited the mixed zone this morning to put words on Roglic's abandon, and you can read his viewpoint in full here.

-125km

Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) and Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroen) have a go at trying to break the deadlock, but they have only a few seconds in hand on the bunch for the time being as the race heads towards Higuera la Real. 

The break grows in size, but their lead is still slender for now. Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic) are 14 seconds clear of the bunch, with Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-PremierTech) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) trying to bridge across.

-116km

Yet more drama... Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), currently third overall, crashes in the peloton. The Spaniard is quickly back on his bike and back in the race. 

-112km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 0:33

The break has grown to 13 riders, including the inevitable Fred Wright and the gap to the bunch is over half a minute. It looks, for now at least, as though the race may settle into a pattern of sorts, as the men caught in no man's lead have faded back into the bunch.

Juan Ayuso, we understand, is also back in the peloton after his earlier crash.

-106km

The peloton is content to relent and let this move forge clear. Jungels, Wright, Uran et al are now 1:15 ahead.

-100km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:07

Remco Evenepoel spoke before the start about how his race changes (or doesn't) in the absence of Roglic. The Belgian's lead is back out to 2:01 and the biggest obstacle to overall victory has been removed, but he insists his approach will not alter. "This doesn't change anything in our tactics or our mentality," Evenepoel said. "It's still the same feelings, the Vuelta is over in Madrid. It's going to change the race a little bit, but not our concentration or focus: that's not going to change at all." Read more here.

Remco Evenepoel in the Vuelta a Espana leader's jersey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

-90km

The baker's dozen off the front, meanwhile, have stretched their advantage out to 3:07 over the peloton. Rigoberto Uran (11th at 14:56) is the best-placed man on GC, and he is drawing close to lifting himself ahead of Louis Meintjes and Jai Hindley in the standings now that the move has more than three minutes in hand.  

-81km

The average speed so far is a very brisk 48.6kph as the break extends it lead to 3:36 over the bunch. The combination of riders and teams in this move means it will be difficult to pull back. Evenepoel's QuickStep-AlphaVinyl squad are content to police the bunch and allow this break some leeway, but Bora-Hansgrohe and Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert might yet take up the chase to keep Uran's gains in check.

Beyond Roglic, there were two other non-starters to report today. Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) has left citing fatigue, though it will be interesting to see if he is in action before long to chase UCI points for his team. Filippo Conca (Lotto  Soudal) has also abandoned the Vuelta. 

-77km

For now, QuickStep are holding the reins alone at the head of the peloton and they are happy to allow the break's lead to drift outwards. The gap is now at 5:30.

Situation

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 5:30

The pace knocks off considerably as the bunch rolls through the feed zone in Brovales. 6:33 the gap to the break.

A crash in the peloton just after the feed zone, with Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) the unfortunate faller. He is sitting up on the road, while the race doctor checks on his left shoulder. Three BikeExchange-Jayco teammates were waiting for Groves but they have elected to ride on, which doesn't augur well for his chances of staying in the race. 

Groves gets gingerly back on his bike and starts riding again. He doesn't look especially comfortable - understandably - but he doesn't appear to have a broken collarbone and he is chasing back on through the team cars. A television replay suggests the unfortunate Groves got tangled up in his musette. 

-68km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 6:46

At Valverde de Burguillos, the break's lead has nudged out beyond seven minutes. Uran has provisionally moved ahead of Ben O'Connor and is now 8th overall in the virtual standings. For now, there is no reaction in the peloton, where QuickStep continue to tap out a steady tempo for Evenepoel.

The frissons among the GC men, if they come today at all, will arrive on the final climb, the 10.3km ascent to Monasterio de Tentudia. It's a two-part ascent, with a gentle opening kilometre followed by some double-digit gradients before the road flattens out and even descends around the midpoint. The road kicks up again with a little over 4km to go, with long stretches where the gradients oscillates between 7 and 8% before it eases slightly in the last 400 metres or so.

-55km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 7:26

A puncture in the break for Elie Gesbert, who gets a replacement bike and looks like he will quickly rejoin his fellow escapees at the front.

-49km

Into the final 50km for the escapees, who are still holding a lead of 7:09 over the peloton, which is still being paced by Evenepoel's QuickStep squad.

-44km

QuickStep's pace-setting has stabilised the break's gap at 7:18, and there is as yet still no reaction from the teams under threat from Uran. AG2R, of course, have Jungels and Champoussin in this move, hence they obviously won't chase, but Bora-Hansgrohe, Intermarche, DSM and Astana seem prepared to roll the dice.

-39km

The break's lead has dropped back inside 7 minutes for the first time, but by this point, it seems clear that the stage winner will come from the thirteen riders at the head of the race.

Speaking on TVE, Matxin Joxean Fernandez says that the knee injury sustained by Juan Ayuso in his earlier crash is of no great concern for UAE Team Emirates. Out in front, his teammate Marc Soler is arguably the man to watch from this break of thirteen.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran and Lawson Craddock lead the break on the road to Monasterio de Tentudia. (Image credit: Getty)

-33km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 7:06

-33km

Shades of Sunday's stage to Sierra Nevada as Lawson Craddock powers clear of the break ahead of the final climb. The Texan has a slight gap over his erstwhile companions, and the move might cause the group to break up.

Craddock's teammate Groves, incidentally, is back in the bunch after his earlier crash.

The presence of two riders apiece from Arkea-Samsic, Bahrain Victorious and AG2R-Citroen means that this break is maintaining its cohesion for now, and they quickly bring back Craddock.

Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) has abandoned the Vuelta due to illness. The Estonian was 20th overall after yesterday's stage.

-29km

Out in front, the break trundles through the intermediate sprint at Segura de León, still holding a lead of 6:54 over the bunch. QuickStep are still leading the way there on behalf of the red jersey Evenepoel.

Remco Evenepoel

(Image credit: Getty)

Fred Wright led the break through the sprint, picking up another 20 points in the green jersey standings. He is second in the points classification, albeit still some 200 points off the unassailable Mads Pedersen.

-24km

Break:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 6:55

Our man in Spain Alasdair Fotheringham is at the finish and he tells us that the final climb to Monasterio de Tentudía is not the most imposing. The lower portion is quite straightforward, and the meat of the climb comes in the final 4km, after the section of descent midway up. There are no particularly steep sections in the finale, although the road is narrow.

-18.5km

Lawson Craddock attacks once again on a long false flat and opens a small gap over the break. Quentin Pacher tries to bridge across and Bob Jungels is also giving chase...

Craddock is joined at the front of the race by Pacher and Jungels, though the rest of the break is not far behind on this unclassified portion of climbing.

-17km

Jungels, Pacher and Craddock haven't relented, but it looks as though Soler is going to lead the rest of the break up to them as they pass through the village of Cabeza de Vaca. Fred Wright appeared in difficulty on that climb, mind, and he has been shaken loose.

With Wright dropped, there are twelve riders at the head of the race, and this break now risks beginning to splinter in this phase of attack and counter-attack. They still have 6:49 in hand on the bunch.

-15.5km

Lawson Craddock attacks again and opens a small gap. Guglielmi tries to bridge across but he can't make it. The American is alone at the head of the race.

Craddock extends his lead on a sweeping downhill section, hoping to take advantage of any lack of collaboration among the chasers behind him.

-14km

Break:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Chasers at 0:10:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 6:51

-12.5km

This is a smart move from Craddock, who has built a lead of ten seconds or so over a disjointed chasing group. 

Fred Wright claws his way back up to the chasing group and the Briton attacks immediately, setting off in pursuit of Craddock. Soler and Uran bring him to heel, and the now 12-man chasing group slows slightly.

-11km

Craddock has 8 seconds on the rest of the break, which is being led by Wright on behalf of GinoMader. The peloton, meanwhile, is 7:30 down.

-10km

Craddock leads into the base of the final climb with a slender lead over the rest of the break, where Wright is still setting the pace for Mader.

Situation

Break:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Chasers at 0:08:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 7:38

Movistar take up the reins at the head of the peloton on the approach to the climb, perhaps with an eye to teeing up a move from Enric Mas. He has to try to recoup that 2:01 on Evenepoel somewhere...

Luke Plapp comes to the front of the bunch for Ineos and Carlos Rodriguez. Evenepoel is tucked in alongside his QuickStep squad behind them.

-8km

Craddock is sticking gamely to his task out in front, while Wright continues to lead the chasers. Men like Uran and Soler will be reluctant to commit before the final 4km, which might allow Craddock to extend his advantage on this gentler portion of the final climb.

There is no real cohesion to the pursuit of Craddock for now, with the responsibility falling largely upon Wright on behalf of Mader. 

7 minutes back the road, the speed is ratcheting upwards in the peloton before the climb. The GC men have all been briefed about the narrowing road and they will all want to be in front.

Comienzo puerto for the main peloton, where Ineos and Movistar are setting a hyperactive pace. 

-6km

Craddock's advantage is out to 20 seconds and becoming a real worry for the chasers. Rigoberto Uran has a dig in an attempt to invigorate the pursuit, but then he drifts back along the line. 

Guglielmi has been working for Gesbert but he looks to be tiring, and Craddock's buffer is out to 26 seconds as he reaches the sector of false flat and descent in the middle of the climb...

-5km

Break:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Chasers at 0:23:

Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert, Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic)

Peloton at 6:54

Remco Evenepoel is well placed near the front of the bunch, where Vincenzo Nibali is pacing Miguel Angel Lopez into a positon to strike...

-3.8km

As the road kicks up again, Champoussin, Uran and Gesbert forge clear of the chasing group in pursuit of the lone leader Craddock. Their acceleration brings his lead down to 13 seconds...

-3km

Craddock has 11 seconds in hand on Uran, Gesbert and Quentin Pacher... Champoussin, meanwhile, is unable to keep pace with this group of chasers, but he's battling to stay in contention.

Craddock battles to maintain a lead of 11 seconds over Uran, Pacher and Gesbert. Champoussin is fifth on the road, but we have no information on the location of Wright, Mader, Soler et al for now.

-2.5km

Now we do... Marc Soler has joined the Uran group, which is 15 seconds down on the lone leader Craddock. Pacher, Herrada, Champoussin and Elissonde are also in there...

-2km

Into the final 2km for Craddock, who has 16 seconds on a chasing group where there is no real cohesion. Soler realises the predicament and he makes an acceleration of his own that only Uran and Herrada can immediately follow...

Pacher, Elissonde and Champoussin get back up to Uran, Herrada and Soler, but their deficit on Craddock is staying stable amid this stop-go tempo of the chasing group...

-1.5km

Craddock is struggling on the steepest section and Uran is now giving determined chase with Herrada glued to his rear wheel...

-1.3km

Rigoberto Uran and Jesus Herrada are almost within touching distance of Craddock but they still haven't made contact...

-1km

Craddock is caught by Uran, Herrada and Marc Soler beneath the flamme rouge... Champoussin is also closing grimly...

Champoussin catches the leaders with 900m to go and he immediately accelerates. He doesn't get far before Herrada catches and passes him...

Jesus Herrada is alone at the head of the race, but Uran is chasing alone not far behind...

Uran is just metres behind Herrada as they reach the top of the climb... Pacher and Soler form another duo just behind them...

Uran catches and passes Herrada, while Pacher closes from behind...

Herrada is putting up fierce resistance but Uran looks like has this...

Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost) wins stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana. 

Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) is second just ahead of Jesus Herrada (Cofidis).

Back in the peloton, Enric Mas has attacked and Evenepoel has responded promptly. After Evenepoel marks Mas, Joao Almeida has a go. The Portuguese rider has a small lead over an eight-strong red jersey group with 1.5km to go.

The Evenepoel group features Mas, Ayuso, Rodriguez, Hindley, O'Connor, Lopez and Pinot. They are just behind the dogged Almeida.

Miguel Angel Lopez leads the red jersey group into the final kilometre, eager to close the gap on Almeida. 

Ayuso kicks at the head of the red jersey group. Evenepoel and Mas follow immediately, with Rodriguez the next man across...

Now Evenepoel takes command of the red jersey group as the road flattens out. Almeida will finish just ahead of them, but the Portuguese rider's small gain won't worry Evenepoel in the slightest.

Almeida comes in 5:02 down on Uran. Evenepoel leads the red jersey group in at 5:10 or so.

Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) retains the red jersey, 2:01 clear of Enric Mas (Movistar).

Result

MONASTERIO DE TENTUDA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 07 Rigoberto Uran Uran of Colombia and Team EF Education Easypost sprint at finish line to win the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 17 a 1624km stage from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentuda 1095m LaVuelta22 WorldTour on September 07 2022 in Monasterio de Tentuda Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Tim de WaeleGetty Images)

Rigoberto Uran's stage win lifts him to 9th place overall but - Roglic's abandon aside, of course - there was little change atop the standings. Evenepoel has 2:01 in hand on Mas and 4:51 on Juan Ayuso, who bounced back from his early crash to finish in the red jersey group.

We didn't see much of the action in the GC group on the final climb as the battle for stage victory reached its denouement, but Mas certainly looked to test Evenepoel.

"We go day by day, I think every day is super important. Yesterday you all saw the crash of Primoz Roglic. Every day we need to stay concentrated. We need to be very focused," Mas said afterwards, insisting that the loss of Roglic was not something he welcomed.

"No, for cycling it’s not nice when somebody crashes. He’s a super rider, a super good person. I think it’s shit that Roglic is not here anymore."

The big question, of course, is whether Mas will look to risk all to unseat Evenepoel. He has been second at the Vuelta twice before, but any all-or-nothing approach will be tempered by the prosaic reality of the UCI standings. Movistar need the points of a podium place to help retain their WorldTour place.

"I think I have a good time on third, fourth and fifth. To be honest, I don’t know what we’re going to do tomorrow, but if we have good legs and a good feeling, and the atmosphere in the team is super good, we have to do something, no?" said Mas, who smiled when asked if he had seen any weaknesses among his GC rivals. "Of course."

Spanish Enric Mas of Movistar Team crosses the finish line of stage 15 of the 2022 edition of the Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain cycling race from Martos to Sierra Nevada 153 km Spain Sunday 04 September 2022 BELGA PHOTO DAVID PINTENS Photo by David PINTENS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID PINTENSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rigoberto Uran speaks: "It’s beautiful to win in the Vuelta. I’ve been looking for this for several years because I’d already won at the Tour and the Giro. So as a three-week rider to win here is very special. It’s not just this year that I was looking for this win, I’ve been looking for it for years, so I’m very happy and I want to thank the team and my family.

"I was against some quick riders, I had to preserve some energy to ride against people like Soler. At 300m to go, I said 'I have to go now, it's now or never.'

"This win shows that we always have to believe and fight, even if sometimes the results seems far off. The important is to get up every day and ride with a good attitude, with happiness and with hope.

Remco Evenepoel on another day in red: “Pretty tough, it was not easy at all. Especially the run-in was really nervous and also a big road going quite steep. It looked easier on television than it was in real life.

“You know when it’s a summit finish, you can always expect attacks, no matter who it is. I think it was not an easy final at all, the last 5km were pretty steep, especially the beginning. The guys of Movistar started really hard, so you know the pace will then slow down a bit. That’s where Lopez took over with his teammate. And when they started to slow down, Mas attacked and I saw the two of us were ahead. I actually didn’t want to go to the front, but it was because Mas was slowing down so fast that I accidentally came to the front.

“Then I just tried to slow it down, counter his attacks, let the others come back. When Almeida came back it was perfect for me. you see there is always this fight for GC spots behind also. Lopez started to pace because he doesn’t want Almeida to go too far. That’s a bit a game I need to play in the coming days and also tomorrow."

MONASTERIO DE TENTUDA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 07 Rigoberto Uran Uran of Colombia and Team EF Education Easypost celebrates at finish line as stage winner during the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 17 a 1624km stage from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentuda 1095m LaVuelta22 WorldTour on September 07 2022 in Monasterio de Tentuda Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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