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Vuelta a Espana stage 19 live - Mads Pedersen seals hat-trick of wins

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Stage 19 of the Vuelta a España begins and ends in Talavera de la Reina, with the peloton facing two laps over the category 2 Puerto del Piélago. If yesterday’s breathless stage is any guide, this could be a short but sharp afternoon of relentless attacking. Saturday’s mountainous test over the Navacerrada may be a more obvious obstacle for Remco Evenepoel, but this is not a day to be taken lightly.

General classification after stage 18

1          Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team            69:59:12

2          Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar Team        00:02:07

3          Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates         00: 05:14

4          Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team 00:05:56

5          Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers      00:06:49

6          Joao Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates      00:07:14

7          Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM           00:08:09

8          Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team    00:09:34

9          Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-EasyPost          00:09:56

10        Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe    00:12:03

Today's stage gets underway at 13.55 local time, with the peloton due to hit kilometre zero at 14.03. The road start climbing quickly and the race hits the summit of the category 2 Puerto del Pielago (9.3km at 5.6%) for the first time after 30km.  After dropping to Talavera de la Reina, they circle round and tackle the climb again, with the summit coming 42km from the finish.

The peloton has gathered on the start line in Talavera for what promises to be a short but intense afternoon of racing. 

The big news from the start concerned Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos), a faller on yesterday's stage. Shortly before the off, Ineos confirmed that the Spanish champion, who dropped to 5th overall yesterday, will remain in the race. "A medical examination following stage 18 confirmed suffered multiple abrasions to his left hand side. Concussion assessment was undertaken during the stage to ensure he was fit to continue. After further evaluations this morning Carlos is clear to continue," read a statement from Ineos on social media.

-138km

The peloton has navigated the neutralised zone and stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana is formally underway.

This year's Giro d'Italia had two short, circuit-based stages in Naples and Turin, and they turned out to be the best enterainment of the entire race (with an honourable mention to those last 3.6km or so of the Passo Fedaia). This stage comes late in the Vuelta, where fatigue will be a factor, but there was no shortage of willing attackers yesterday - we may yet see fireworks this afternoon.

-130km

The pace is high and the acclerations have been forceful, but the peloton remains intact for the time being in this opening phase. 

-128km

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) have attacked and opened a small lead over the peloton.

UAE flung riders up the road yesterday as part of Joao Almeida's long-range offensive. It's not clear if Juan Ayuso's squad have something similar in mind today, but there's certainly no harm in having a strongman like McNulty up the road. The American was affected by illness early in the race but has shown signs of coming around in the last week. 

-122km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Peloton at 1:20

McNulty, Caicedo and Okamika have been granted a degree of early leeway by the bunch. This trio will certainly lead the race onto the first ascent of the Puerto del Piélago, but there may well be some movement behind once the road climbs in earnest.

-118km

Caceideo, McNulty and Okamika are still adding to their buffer for the time being, and the gap has stretched out to 2:40 over the peloton. A lone chaser, Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) is ploughing a lone furrow at 2:02.

-116km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Chaser at 1:38:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Peloton at 3:15

McNulty, Caicedo, and Okamika begin the first ascent of the Puerto del Piélago clear at the head of the race. Craddock is giving lone chase and now Mikel Bizkarra and Ibai Azurmendi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have attacked from the bunch on the lower slopes.

-114km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Chaser at 1:18:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Chasers at 4:15:

Mikel Bizkarra and Ibai Azurmendi (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

Peloton at 4:23

-109km

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) are combining smoothly on the climb of Puerto del Piélago, four minutes clear of the peloton, while Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) continues his lone pursuit after 50 seconds down.

-108km

McNulty leads Caicedo and Okamika over the summit of the Puerto del Piélago with 38 seconds in hand on Craddock and 4:03 on the peloton.

Trek-Segafredo are setting the pace in the peloton with an eye to teeing up Mads Pedersen for his third stage victory of the race. Their efforts have shaved 15 seconds or so off the break's lead on the upper part of the climb.

-100km

Trek-Segafredo's pace-making in the bunch is restricting the gaps today. McNulty's solo wins on rugged terrain at Paris-Nice, the Faun-Ardèche and Challenge Mallorca will have alerted the whole peloton to his possibilities on a day like this, so they're keeping him on a tight leash.  McNulty et al have 40 seconds on Craddock and 3:27 on the bunch.

-95km

Craddock is still committed to his lone pursuit of the break on this long, three-part descent off the climb, but McNulty, Caicedo and Okamika certainly aren't knocking off the pace to let him add firepower to their move. Trek-Segafredo's pressing behind means McNulty and co. have no option but to keep pushing. 

-94km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Chaser at 0:41:

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

Peloton at 3:13

-90km

Enric Mas lost another 6 seconds to Remco Evenepoel yesterday on the Alto del Piornal, but afterwards the Spaniard was bullish about overhauling his now 2:07 overall deficit on the red jersey. "It’s one of those stages which can create differences,” Mas said of today's stage. “And in general, we’ll keep on trying to our last breath.” Our man in Spain Alasdair Fotheringham has the full story here.

Enric Mas Remco Evenepoel

(Image credit: Getty)

-85km

Lawson Craddock is off the descent and on the (rather false) flat between the day's twin climbs. He is slowly clawing back his deficit on McNulty, Caicedo and Okamika, but he is still 34 seconds down on the three leaders. The Trek-paced peloton is at 2:42.

-80km

Craddock's solitary pursuit looks to be flickering. His deficit on the break has stretched out to 1:08. Behind, the Trek-led peloton has closed to within 2:23. This isn't looking like a day for the break, but it will be fascinating to see if there are GC frissons the second time up the climb. The distance from the finish - and the ease with which the peloton went up the first time around  - would suggest not, but this Vuelta has thrown up its share of surprises already.

Before the start yesterday, Remco Evenepoel correctly predicted that stage 18 would blow open from as early as 90km out, but the Nostradamus of Schepdaal was less sure of what faced him today. "It can go anywhere, we can expect every situation today - sprint with small group, large group, breakaway, GC guys. I really cannot predect today's stage," Evenepoel said before the start. He can probably predict that he will wear the red jersey in Madrid on Sunday but he was too polite to say. "Anything can still happen," he insisted.

Team Quick Steps Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel L rides and crosses the finish line during the 18th stage of the 2022 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain a 192 km race from Trujillo to Alto del Piornal on September 8 2022 Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO AFP Photo by OSCAR DEL POZOAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

-75km

Lawson Craddock's solo adventure is at an end. The American, resigned to his fate, sits up and awaits the peloton, which has closed to within 2:09 of the three escapees. 

-73km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Peloton at 2:02

-66km

Alex Kirsch, Juan Pedro Lopez and Dario Cataldo sit at the head of the peloton with green jersey Mads Pedersen tucked on their wheel. The Dane is the obvious favourite for today's stage and his team are certainly not shirking their responsibilities. 

-63km

Break:

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH)

Peloton at 1:35

-60km

Caicedo, McNulty and Okamika are on the shallow climb leading towards the intermediate sprint at Hinojosa de San Vicente with a lead of 1:28 over the peloton, where it is, inevitably, Trek-Segafredo setting the pace. Juan Pedro Lopez is the man leading the way at the moment.

-56km

Trek-Segafredo lead the bunch through the intermediate sprint, 1:30 behind the escapees.

Okamika led the break through that sprint, for the record. Pedersen retains his 200-point advantage over Fred Wright in the points classification.

-54km

McNulty, Caceido and Okamika are approaching the base of the category 2 Puerto del Piélago for the second time. The road climbs for 9.3km to an altitude of 1227m at an average gradient of 5.6%.

-52km

Trek-Segafredo remain at the head of the bunch on the preamble to the climb, and they have cut the deficit to a minute.

Meanwhile, Jumbo-Visma have issued a rather remarkable statement about Primoz Roglic's Vuelta abandon, pinning the blame squarely on Fred Wright for their collision in the sprint - which seems a rather subjective view, to put it mildly. "My conclusion is that the way this crash happened is unacceptable. Not everyone saw it correctly," Roglic said in an article posted to the Jumbo-Visma website this afternoon (opens in new tab). "The crash was not caused by a bad road or a lack of safety but by a rider's behaviour. I don't have eyes on my back. Otherwise, I would have run wide. Wright came from behind and rode the handlebars out of my hands before I knew it."

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)

-50km

All over for the breakaway at the base of the final climb. McNulty has already dropped back to the bunch and Okamika and Caicedo have now been swept up by a bunch where Bahrain Victorious are holding the reins. Peloton agrupado. 

Jumbo-Visma’s article, meanwhile, also includes the ramblings of manager Richard Plugge, who obliquely refers to the crash his then-rider Dylan Groenewegen caused at the 2020 Tour de Pologne, which left Fabio Jakobsen in an induced coma. “Research shows that the riders' cycling behaviour is to blame for a crash in about half the cases,” Plugge said. “Shortly after the incident in Poland, it almost went wrong in Milano-Sanremo for the 3rd and the 4th place. Fortunately, that ended well, but the behaviour remained unpunished. We have to deal with that properly."

Plugge continued: "Ten years ago, the older riders were sounding the alarm because the younger ones showed less respect, took irresponsible risks, and pushed their way through everything. The younger ones of yesteryear are the older riders of today. But you still hear the same discussion, even though we are a generation ahead. So that has to change. I'm glad that Primoz is speaking out, looking in the mirror and naming the behaviour of riders as well."

Considering the death threats levelled at Groenewegen after the crash he caused at the Tour de Pologne, it seems ill-advised for Jumbo-Visma to be effectively encouraging a pile-on against Wright - particularly when the video footage was hardly damning of the Briton's movement in the sprint. 

-46km

Wright's Bahrain Victorious continue to set the pace at the head of the peloton here with 3.5km of the climb remaining. Mikel Landa is the man leading the way as they look to burn off the sprinters on Wright's behalf.  

-45km

The anticipated frissons in the GC battle don't look like materialising this afternoon. Ineos move up now with a view to putting Richard Carapaz in position to pick up some mountains points at the top. It appears that some fast men have been burnt off by the Bahrain pace-making.

-43km

Movistar move up to the front before the descent begins. The question is, are they working to keep Enric Mas out of trouble or for a valedictory win for Alejandro Valverde? 

-42km

Remco Evenepoel is tucked into fourth place in the bunch as they approach the crest of the Puerto del Piélago. Carapaz, as expected, shoots away near the top to scoop up maximum king of the mountains points.

Astana also moved Miguel Angel Lopez to the front as the descent began. The GC men know this isn't really a springboard for attacks but there is the ever-present risk of being caught behind a split and losing out. 

-40km

Movistar and UAE are represented at the head of the lined-out bunch on the descent, but Evenepoel is tucked in smartly towards the front.

-35km

There have been no real signs of drama on this sweeping descent, with all of the GC men seemingly represented near the head of the bunch. A sprint - and a Mads Pedersen win - looks likely, but not yet inevitable.

-33km

At the base of the descent, Trek-Segafredo return to the head of the slightly reduced peloton. Mads Pedersen, in green, is safely nestled near the front of the race. So too is Evenepoel, who checks in with his team via his radio. It's been as tranquil as the red jersey could have hoped today.

-30km

Bahrain Vicrorious, Trek-Segafredo and Movistar sit at the head of the peloton. It's a long, flat run-in to the finish in Talavera de la Rina. 

More on Jumbo-Visma's unsual decision to publish an article scapegoating Fred Wright for Roglic's crash here. For a team managed by their former press officer, they have made some notable public relations faux pas this year, from directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman's claim that French teams "don't work with the same professionalism as us" to Wout van Aert's touchy response to a legitimate question on the final weekend of the Tour. 

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)

-23km

Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain Victorious looks firmly in command of the situation on the run-in to Talavera de la Reina, with no sign of any potential attackers at this point. 

-20km

A sizeable delegation from Movistar is posted near the head of the bunch, but it's unclear if their intention is to try to engineer a Valverde win or simply keep Mas out of trouble on the run-in.

The man of the moment Pedersen has time to drop back to the team car and grab bottles for his teammates as they reach the final 20km, which is all the more remarkable considering his team is currently riding on the front to tee him up for the sprint. 

-14km

Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) continues to set the pace at the front of the bunch. There are shades of the Qatar Worlds about this finale. The sprint already looks inevitable and the flat run-in feels more than a touch too long. But perhaps this curious Vuelta might throw up a late curveball even here...

-12km

The situation remains unchanged. Elissonde leads, Movistar follow en mass, Pedersen looks relaxed. Jumbo-Visma also appear to be eyeing up a sprint for Mike Teunissen. 

-10km

Into the final 10km for the peloton, which is still being towed by Kenny Elissonde. 

-8km

There is a series of roundabouts on the run-in that might ordinarily cause frissons, but there is no real battle for positions at this point, and the bunch is sweeping through these turns without undue stress.

-6km

Another roundabout, still with Elissonde and Cataldo leading the way for Trek-Segafredo. A group from Bahrain Victorious move up to keep an eye on proceedings too. 

-5km

Still Elissonde beating a pathway into the headwind for Pedersen. Evenepoel's QuickStep-AlphaVinyl guard are also well positioned towards the head of a bunch that has compressed into something resembling a phalanx - an indication that the pace is not exactly full-on...

-3km

Into the final 3km, and there were no punctures or mechanicals to report among the GC men before this point. It ought to be a calm run-in for Evenepoel, Mas et al.

-2km

Ineos take over in the final 2km, while Rohan Dennis leads a Jumbo delegation on behalf of Teunissen.

Fred Wright is being ushered into place by his Bahrain team. He'll have a go against Pedersen but the green jersey is a prohibitive favourite for this sprint...

-1km

Rohan Dennis leads the bunch beneath the flamme rouge and into the final kilometre.

Dennis swings off and Trek-Segafredo take over. Pedersen is parked behind two teammates, and there is a scramble for the Dane's wheel.

Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) attacks to try to upset the sprinters...

Mads Pedersen opens his sprint from distance, with Fred Wright closing...

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) wins stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) takes second place.

Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) finishes in the peloton to retain the red jersey with two days remaining. 

Result

TOPSHOT Team Treks Danish rider Mads Pedersen celebrates as he crosses the finish line in first place during the 19th stage of the 2022 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain a 1383 km race from Talavera de la Reina to Talavera de la Reina on September 9 2022 Photo by Oscar DEL POZO CANAS AFP Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO CANASAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mads Pedersen on his hat-trick: “It was definitely really hard to control the bunch today but man the team did so impressive. Everybody was so dedicated and working really hard. When the three guys went with McNulty, it was not an easy break so we rode really, really hard to close them as fast as possible and then everybody on this team was so impressive. I’m really thankful to the boys, it’s definitely a win for them. Without them today, there was no chance I could have sprinted here today. So, wow…

“When Miles Scotson attacked, I still had Antonio Tiberi in front with me. He looks skinny but he’s a powerful little guy, so I was pretty sure he could keep him within a distance where I could pass Miles in a sprint. But it’s never easy in a final like this, it’s a lot of good guys in the peloton in the end. If one of them is coming with an attack on one of the roundabouts, I would be the guy to close it and then it would be hard to sprint so I was really happy with the speed the boys could keep at the end.

“Three wins is of course super, super nice. Tomorrow we have to finish the day and then in Madrid we’ll see how it goes, but I think no matter what we can be really happy with these three weeks in Spain.”

Remco Evenepoel speaks: "This was the perfect race. It was nice to have Trek controlling all day. I promised Mads to control the breakaway with him, so we did our job, then it was up to them to control the breakaway and try to go for the stage and I think what Mads is showing is something really impressive to survive what was actually quite a hard climb. Big congrats to Trek for today."

Asked what worried him in the finale, Evenepoel said: "A crash and just getting inside the 3km in case I got a flat tyre or a bike problem, so I just wanted to stay safe because tomorrow is the last day. The biggest fear was to have a crash or to be unlucky so that’s why we were trying to stay in front with the guys. In the end, the last 1.3km was a straight line, so from there I could slow it down a bit and just follow in the wheels."

Remco Evenepoel in the Vuelta a Espana leader's jersey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A full report, results and pictures from today's stage are available here.

TALAVERA DE LA REINA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 09 Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo Green Points Jersey celebrates at finish line as stage winner ahead of Fred Wright of United Kingdom and Team Bahrain Victorious and Gianni Vermeersch of Belgium and Team AlpecinDeceuninck during the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 19 a 1383km stage from Talavera de la Reina to Talavera de la Reina LaVuelta22 WorldTour on September 09 2022 in Talavera de la Reina Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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