Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 8 of the Vuelta a España.
Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) took an emotional win from the breakaway yesterday, ahead of Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). To catch up before the action starts today, you can read all about here.
The riders are signing on in the town of La Pola Llaviana, small town in the Asturias. Last time it hosted a start in 2020, the peloton finished atop the Angliru but today the race heads for the Colláu Fancuaya - a 10.3km mountain with gradients as steep as 16.2% that has never been raced before.
#LaVuelta22 Hola 👋 pic.twitter.com/OwEknCjfA4August 27, 2022
To reach the Colláu Fancuaya, the race travels 153.4km today from La Pola Llaviana over the jagged mountains so typical of the Vuelta. Immediately after the start, the peloton will start climbing up the category 2 Alto de la Colladona, before making their way over another four categorised climbs to the foot of the final climb.
Three riders will not take to the start line, however, due to COVID-19 positive tests. Team DSM announced that roommates Nikias Arndt and Mark Donovan have both tested positive while Arkéa-Samsic confirmed that Anthony Delaplace had also tested positive. Seven riders have now left the race due to the virus. You can read the full story here.
Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) has also abandoned the race.
And we're off! The dignitaries have cut the ribbon and the riders are rolling out into the short neutralised zone.
Today is likely to be an important day for the GC contenders, as the general classification has begun to take its shape over the opening week.
Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) is in the red jersey and takes a 21 second lead over Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) into the stage with the gaps in the general classification behind them already opening up. An impressive opening week from Mas has kept him in third while Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) sits in fourth, a minute back.
The white jersey Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) is eleven seconds behind Roglič and a trio of Ineos-Grenadiers riders – Pavel Sivakov, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Carlos Rodriguez – are just behind the 19-year-old.
Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) are almost two minutes in arrears while Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) has lost almost three minutes.
The riders look tense as they ride through the town towards the end of the neutral zone, anticipating a difficult stage which is likely to have an explosive start on the first climb of the day.
As the race hits the salida real, the peloton lines out across the road as teams prepare to attack or to mark attacks.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qasaqstan) launches the first attack and the race kicks off behind immediately.
Lots of teams are represented at the front. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) makes a move now along with a rider from Alpecin-Deceuninck and Cofidis.
A strong group is beginning to form at the front of the race containing McNulty, Lutsenko, Mark Padun (EF Education-Easy Post), Jay Vine, Rob Stannard (both Alpecin-Deceuninck), Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic), Davide Villella (Cofidis), Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
That group has a small gap but is not quite clear yet as several riders continue attempting to bridge across.
As the race refuses to settle down, the peloton has cracked into smaller groups on the climb under the stress. There is still 3km until the summit.
The front group has swelled from ten to 17 riders. Among those who have bridged across are Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), now the best placed in the breakawy at 2:55, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and two of Pinot's teammates - Sébastien Reichenbach and Bruno Armirail.
That large group has just a nine second advantage over the peloton as QuickStep-AlphaVinyl frantically chase to pull such a dangerous move back. The peloton is a kilometre away from the top of the climb now.
Carapaz has dropped back to the peloton as the breakaway crests the climb with a small advantage and races down the descent led by Vine and Soler.
Vine took the maximum five mountain points available at the top of that second category climb and moves into the lead of the King of the Mountains classification.
Vine and Soler are flying down the descent and have a small gap over the rest of the breakaway.
After the descent there is a flat section before the road kicks up again for the second category Alto de la Mozqueta.
It is just that leading duo out front as the rest of the breakaway has been swallowed up by the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl led peloton on the descent.
Vine and Soler have a 21 second gap over the peloton.
Behind Vine and Soler, another breakaway group is forming that contains Lutsenko, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Armirail, Taaramae, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).
The leading duo have almost a minute on the peloton and the group in between are 50 seconds behind them.
The chasing group have caught Vine and Soler to form an eight-man group. QuickStep-AlphaVinyl seem content with this situation and have allowed the gap to reach a minute. Pinot and Groupama-FDJ, however, are not and continue to attack in the hope of bridging across.
Armirail has sat up from the breakaway to help Pinot bridge across. Along with Reichenbach, they are 50 seconds behind the front of the race and 40 seconds ahead of the peloton.
The gap between the breakaway and the peloton has ballooned to two minutes with the Pinot group 30 seconds behind the front of the race.
QuickStep have taken control of the race with all their riders lined out on the fronr of the peloton behind Rémi Cavagna.
Pinot and Groupama-FDJ are still marooned in between the two groups. Though they had closed the gap to about 30 seconds, it has now increased to 45 seconds.
The Groupama-FDJ trio have bridged across to the breakaway after a long chase to make it ten riders out front.
As the riders approach the foot of the day's second climb, the gap between the peloton and breakaway is 2:45. After a frantic start, the race seems to have found more of a settled rhythm now.
Landa and Pinot lead the breakaway up the climb and the gap ticks over 3 minutes. It is a 6.8km long climb with an average gradient of 6.6%, better suited to the climbers in the breakaway than the more powerful Cavagna behind.
The gap has increased on the climb to 3:41 as Cavagna continues to set the pace in the peloton.
Vine took maximum points once again at the summit and increases his lead in that competition. The previous holder of the mountains jersey Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH) crashed on the descent and has had to abandon the race.
Once the riders have completed this descent, they almost immediately begin the next climb - the 5.3km Alto de Santo Emiliano at 5.3%.
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl are still on the front of the peloton and have brought the gap to just under four minutes.
Back in the clouds today for the finish! #LaVuelta22 pic.twitter.com/lgEug4kTgFAugust 27, 2022
Vine once again takes the maximum three points available on the summit of this third category climb. The gap back to the peloton, meanwhile, has crept above four minutes on the climb again to reach 4:19.
The race is now on the longest section of flat road today, though on this up-and-down stage even this section is less than 20km long. Groupama-FDJ are setting the pace in the breakaway.
Sepp Kuss suffers a puncture just after the feed zone but his bike has been fixed and he is chasing back to the peloton.
Itamar Einhorn (Israel Premier Tech) has also abandoned the race.
The gap has stabilised now and the race settled into a calmer rhythm. Cavagna, remarkably, is still riding on the front and keeping the breakaway 4:12 ahead of the peloton.
The breakaway are almost at the foot of the Puerto de Tenebreo, a third category climb and one that signals the final part of the race. After this, there is another third category climb followed by the finale - the category 1 Colláu Fancuaya.
𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒐́𝒏 𝒎𝒂́𝒙𝒊𝒎𝒂 𝑴𝒂𝒙𝒊𝒎𝒖𝒎 𝒇𝒐𝒄𝒖𝒔🐺 @qst_alphavinyl ➡️ @EvenepoelRemco ❤️📸 @cxcling #LaVuelta22 pic.twitter.com/UV9ZFnWtUuAugust 27, 2022
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl have accelerated a little onto the final climb as Cavagna finally finishes his turn. The gap still hovers and around four minutes.
Pieter Serry takes up the pace-setting duties for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl on this climb.
The breakaway continue to press on as they reach the top of this climb. Vine once again took maximum points at the summit, further extending his lead.
The breakaway's gap is remaining stable at around four minutes.
The race is flanked by sparse, green mountains as it winds its way towards the next climb - the third category Puerto de Perlavia which is 4km long at 7.7%.
Groupama-FDJ lead the breakaway onto the penultimate climb of the day.
After this climb, there is only one left - the Colláu Fancuaya which begins in just over 30km.
Newly tarmacked in 2019 and never raced before, the Colláu Fancuaya contains maximum gradients of 16.2% and is a 10.3km narrow track cut into the side of the mountain.
“The Collau Fancuaya is a very different kind of climb to Les Praeres, much more of a normal first category ascent and much longer,” 1988 Tour de France winner and now commentator Pedro Delgado told Cyclingnews. “The last seven kilometres are what count and although you’ve got some brief points where the slopes ease notably, there’s a couple of long ramps that go up to 16 or maybe 18% as well.
“It’s not overly exposed to the wind apart from the last kilometer, which is a very steady 10%. Coming after what’s come before, that last part may prove so demanding it could do some real damage."
As the accumulation of climbing today begins to take its toll, riders, including Chris Froome, are distanced from the peloton.
Vine again picks up maximum mountain points as the breakaway begins the descent before the final climb. Vine now has 30 points, a lead of 19 over the second placed Ruben Fernandez.
The intermediate sprint arrives in ten kilometers and Mads Pedersen, who has survived out front, is in pole position to take maximum points and overhaul his deficit to Sam Bennett and take the lead in the green jersey competition.
All three of Groupama-FDJ's riders in the breakaway are on the front, as the break's advantage begins to steadily drop for the first time in a while. It is at 3:51.
Pedersen looks behind to make sure that no one will sprint against him and rolls through to win the intermediate sprint. He will wear the green jersey at the end of the day with a five point advantage over Bennett.
On the roads since the penultimate climb, the peloton have eaten into the breakaway's advantage which has dropped to 3:34.
🔁 𝐅𝐮𝐠𝐚 | 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲❤️ 𝐏𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐨́𝐧 | 𝐁𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐡¿Llega la fuga o la victoria está en el pelotón? 👀 Breakaway win or victory from within the bunch today?📸 @charlylopezph #LaVuelta22 pic.twitter.com/d7IVFM5YT3August 27, 2022
The road has already started rising but the categorised climb doesn't start until 10km from the summit finish.
With his objectives for the day achieved, Pedersen drops away from the breakaway leaving nine riders out front fighting for the stage win.
Armirail is also being distanced from the breakaway as the pace intensifies. He is fighting to stay on the back of the group to help his teammate, Pinot.
The breakaway have prised open their advantage again which has stabilised at 3:45.
Armirail hangs on as the road flattens out before it kicks up again onto the categorised part of the climb.
The profile of the final climb is eye-wateringly steep, particularly the final section.
Wow, what a finish we have today at #LaVuelta22!A 10.1km climb with an 8.5% average gradient and some parts reaching an incredible 19%!Did we mention the final three kilometers, where the gradient doesn't drop below 9% and those roads hitting 17% with 500 meters to go? pic.twitter.com/C2qeNKELHtAugust 27, 2022
Movistar have moved to the front of the peloton to position Enric Mas, displacing QuickStep-AlphaVinyl for the first time today.
Pedersen is swept up by the peloton.
The breakaway have hit the wooded slopes of Colláu Fancuaya. Armirail has finally been dropped from the group.
Now Ineos-Grenadiers move to the front of the peloton, positioning their GC riders before the climb.
The peloton too begin the final climb with a deficit of 3:18 to the breakaway.
Julian Alaphilippe hits the front, reasserting some sort of control for QuickStep and Evenepoel.
The breakaway's advantage has tumbled on the opening slopes of this final climb to 2:49.
Landa, wearing his usual impassive face, leads the breakaway up the final climb as Alaphilippe dances out of the saddle in the peloton, hunting down the front of the race. The gap is now 2:22.
Alaphilippe has done his job, leaving Louis Vervaeke to pilot Evenepoel up the mountain.
Lutsenko is the first to accelerate from the breakaway, distancing Soler and Landa.
Lutsenko can't hold the pace, and only Vine and Pinot can continue onwards.
And Pinot is dropped too; Vine continues solo in search of his second stage win in three days.
Vine has a two minute lead over the peloton and a ten second advantage over Pinot and Taaramäe - the next two riders on the road.
The peloton is shedding riders too but has been whittled down to about 20 riders.
Soler has recovered sufficiently to reach Pinot and Taaramäe. This chasing trio are already 26 seconds behind Vine.
Carapaz, Pozzovivo and Almeida are now dropped from the peloton which is being led by Ilan van Wilder for Quickstep.
Pinot and Soler have dropped Taaramäe from the chasing group.
Geoghegan Hart launches the first attack from the GC group as Wilco Kelderman is distanced from the peloton.
There is heavy cloud once again on the mountain and live television pictures have stopped. The fog is so dense on the mountain that it is difficult to see more than a few meters.
Pictures are back! Vine has a 28 second gap over the chasers and the GC group has exploded.
Evenepoel is with Roglic, Mas and Carlos Rodriguez while Simon Yates is just behind them.
Soler is only 26 seconds behind Vine who is in the last kilometer.
Soler's resistance seems to have been broken, he is rocking on the bike and the gap has increased to 36 seconds.
White jersey Juan Ayuso is 34 seconds behind the Evenepoel group along with Hindley and Miguel Angel Lopez.
Jay Vine rides through the mist, shakes his head in disbelief and takes his second stage win in three days!
Soler is riding up to the finish line and hangs on for second place on the stage. Taaramäe and Pinot finish just behind him.
Evenepoel leads the GC contenders up to the line with Mas and Roglic perhaps a second behind him.
Rodriguez and Yates are the next to finish as gaps open up in the general classification once again.
Ayuso finished 50 seconds behind Evenepoel alongside Ben O'Connor, with Hugh Carthy and Jai Hindley six seconds behind them.
The official results have Evenepoel, Mas and Roglič finishing on the same time and so the Belgian maintains the advantage he had at the start of the day.
Behind the virtual podium, there was a reshuffling of the general classification. Carlos Rodriguez moves up to fourth, 1:47 back, with his teammate Geoghegan Hart a further seven seconds back in fifth.
Jay Vine was one of the key architects of the breakaway's escape today and proved to be the strongest rider in it.
"On the first climb, I thought I don’t know if we’re going to be able to stay away, they seem to be chasing us pretty intently so I decided to definitely target the first couple of KoMs. But then in the valley, we had a good group. The FDJ guys had three in the move and QuickStep were just controlling so from that point on I went if I can get the KoM points without too much of a struggle, I’ll go for them but the stage was definitely still the goal," Jay Vine said at the finish.
"[Alexey] Lutsenko did a starting move and I was sort of in the wheel so I decided to follow and after he pulled off there was no indication that he was going to do a second attack or anything like that. So I decided it’s about a 25 minute effort from here, similar to what I did two days ago, and I decided to keep the pressure on and after about a minute and a half I looked down and there was no wheel and I forced myself to get to that next hairpin. And after the hairpin I looked back and there was no-one so I kept going.
"It’s incredible, I think I’ve just got so much more confidence after the first [victory]. I’ve got that monkey off my back and it just felt so much more natural riding in the group today. All the pressure was off me, I had two goals and if one didn’t pay off I always had the KoM jersey to fall back on. I had a lot more confidence in myself and just enjoyed myself – today was such a fun day.”
Jay Vine celebrates a second stage victory.
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