Remco Evenepoel leads Enric Mas by 28 seconds as Primož Roglič lies 1:01 down
Serry and Kuss DNS in blow to Evenepoel and Roglič
Stage 8 winner Jay Vine in mountain jersey
Les Praeres final climb – 3.9km at 12.9%
Frantic fight to be in the breakaway which contains nine riders - Samuele Battistella, Edoardo Zambanini, Dylan van Baarle, Louis Meintjes, Filippo Conca, Jimmy Janssens, Robert Stannard, José Manuel Diaz Gallegos and Simon Guglielmi.
Cresting the penultimate climb, the breakaway still has a four minute buffer over the peloton.
Red jersey Remco Evenepoel distances all his rivals on the last climb.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 9 of the Vuelta a España.
The second of back-to-back summit finishes, today’s stage ends at Les Praeres – a short but exceptionally steep climb which averages 12.5% with ramps as steep as 24%. Unlike yesterday, the climbing begins much later in the stage, with a category 2 mountain after almost 50 kilometers. Afterwards, there is little respite with a further four climbs packed into the last two thirds of the stage.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) suffered a blow overnight with the abandon of his right-hand man Sepp Kuss due to a fever. His arch-rival Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) also lost a key lieutenant this morning in Pieter Serry who left the race following a positive COVID-19 test. Bahrain Victorious announced that Wout Poels had also tested positive for the virus, bringing the peloton to 166 riders.
You can read the full story here.
Roglič and Evenepoel, along with Mas, had proved to be the strongest of the overall favourites yesterday, finishing together 1:20 behind the stage winner Jay Vine.
Vine took a dramatic win, and the King of the Mountains jersey, in what is becoming a breakthrough Grand Tour for the Australian. You can catch up on all the action from yesterday here.
The riders are all lined up at the start, ready to begin the stage.
Today, the race begins in Villaviciosa which the riders are navigating via the neutral zone.
Although Evenepoel is still in the red and white jerseys, the green and polka-dot jerseys have new wearers today. Mads Pedersen won the intermediate sprint yesterday and moved into green while Vine is proving himself to be a very worthy King of the Mountains.
#LaVuelta22 Vamos, rey! 👑 pic.twitter.com/H2Ew0GbfyOAugust 28, 2022
The peloton completes the neutralised section and the attacks immediately begin.
A small group of four riders have escaped, the first to attack, and the peloton seem content to let them go.
As QuickStep fanned across the road, more attacks arrived. The group of four out front are Davide Villella (Cofidis), Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) and Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).
That leading quartet have a 40 second advantage over the peloton but there is now a strong chasing group in between seeking to bridge across after it seemed that the race had settled.
The group of chasers included some significant names such as Marc Soler and Chris Froome and was deemed too strong by the peloton which has chased it down.
That injection of pace has strung out the peloton from which attacks still continue. Vine is on the front and closely marked by Julian Alaphilippe who refuses to allow the double stage winner to get away.
Mads Pedersen now moves to the front in his distinctive green jersey to scout out any potential breakaway opportunities.
Marc Soler, who finished second yesterday, has been aggressive again today and is attempting to prise away a small group. Alaphilippe is near the front to control proceedings for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and Evenepoel.
Hugh Carthy is on the front with Carapaz on his wheel. The leading quartet still have a 23 second gap.
Alaphilippe is chasing down every move and, although the peloton is stretched out into a long line, still no riders have been able to join the breakaway out front.
Maté drops back from the break leaving a trio out front which have just 14 seconds now. It looks as though the race will all come back together.
EF Education-EasyPost have put Julius van den Berg on the front who is trying to reel in the breakaway but the gap has grown back out to 24 seconds.
The breakaway have an advantage of 30 seconds now as the race makes its way along the northern Spanish coast. Van den Berg has pulled off the front and the attacks have begun again.
That flurry of attacks has brought the gap below 20 seconds. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) has slipped off the front of the peloton.
Pedersen is near the front again, as the attacks continue. Alessandro de Marchi (Israel-PremierTech) is the next to accelerate.
The peloton now have the leading breakaway in their sights.
Another quartet has bridged across to the front of the race but this new leading group of seven has just a handful of seconds to play with.
Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Premier Tech), Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Soudal) and Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) are the riders who have joined the front of the race.
De Gendt presses on as chaos reigns behind him. He is the sole survivor from the breakaway which has been reeled in as attacks continue from the peloton.
Even De Gendt has been caught now and the race is all back together again.
Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) has a small nine-second gap as attacks continue behind him.
Meurisse and Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) escape off the front, eluding the attentions of Alaphilippe who has policed everything for Evenepoel.
Pacher has a 14 second advantage over the chasing duo who in turn are eight seconds ahead of the peloton.
Meurisse and Bou have been caught by the peloton.
Pacher too has been caught by the peloton and the race is showing no sign of settling down yet.
Luis Léon Sanchez and Carapaz are among those in the next wave of attackers.
Several riders are off the front and it looks as if the peloton has finally reached an agreement to let the breakaway go.
Ten riders made it up the road and their gap is growing up to 35 seconds.
The breakaway is composed of Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal), Thymen Arensman (Team DSM), Jimmy Janssens, Robert Stannard (Alpecin Deceuninck), José Manuel Diaz Gallegos (Burgos-BH) and Simon Guglielmi (Arkea Samsic).
Arensman is the best placed on general classification of those riders. He is eleventh, just 3:18 behind the red jersey.
The breakaway has a 2:59 gap already as the race settles after an exceptionally fast start with an average speed of 47.6km/hr.
The breakaway hits the first climb of the day - the 7.6km Alto del Torno at 6% - as a counterattack led by Marc Soler forms between the peloton and the breakaway.
Vine has bridged across to Soler along with Buitrago and this trio have a small gap over the peloton. Arensman has dropped back from the breakaway
Soler, Buitrago and Vine have been swept up by the peloton.
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl have moved up to the front of the peloton in an attempt to restore some form of order.
Due to the fast start, the peloton is already very reduced. Even João Almeida has been distanced, according to the official Vuelta website.
Rob Stannard, Jay Vine's teammate in the breakaway, took maximum points in the mountains competition at the summit to defend his teammate's jersey.
Alaphilippe is on the front of the peloton for Evenepoel as the breakaway's advantage reaches four minutes.
Today, the race finishes at Les Praeres for the first time since Simon Yates won there in 2018, retaking the red jersey which he held all the way to the finish in Madrid.
👀 La última vez que La Vuelta visitó Les Praeres… 😏 Last time La Vuelta finished in Les Praeres…#LaVuelta22 pic.twitter.com/MPu6RvjZpFAugust 28, 2022
Three riders in the breakaway have taken victories so far this season. Van Baarle, of course, won Paris-Roubaix in such memorable style while Meintjes won the Giro dell'Appennino - a hilly one-day race - in June and Stannard won the GC at the Tour de Wallonie in July.
As the riders approach the foot of the first category 1 climb of the day, the breakaway's advantage has stretched out to nearly five minutes.
Henri Vandenabeele of Team DSM has abandoned the race.
The breakaway are 15km away from the Mirador del Fito - a 9km climb with an average of 6% but containing steep sections of 10%.
Just before the climbing begins again, the grupetto rejoined the back of the peloton.
The breakaway are steadily making their way up the Mirador del Fito with 6km to go until the summit.
Over 5 minutes for Louis Meintjes' breakaway, now climbing Mirador del Fito! #LaVuelta22 🏁 85 km📸 @cyclingmedia_ag pic.twitter.com/uKOj9yGhpXAugust 28, 2022
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl are still controlling the tempo at the front of the peloton, keeping the breakaway at around five minutes. Their leader Evenepoel is wearing the red jersey for the third consecutive day, the youngest rider to retain the overall lead for so long since Miguel Indurain in 1985.
The breakaway have almost crested the Mirador del Fito and are a kilometre away from the summit.
Stannard and Janssens rolled over the top of the climb in first and second place, protecting the points for their teammate Vine.
The peloton too have crested the climb and are on the descent, 4:24 behind the breakaway.
QuickStep continue to press on during the descent and the peloton strings out under pressure.
Fausto Masnada and Rémi Cavagna are on the front for Quickstep, and are gradually reducing the gap to the breakaway which has fallen from more than five minutes to 4:21.
The race is on the next climb is the Alto de la Llama - a third category climb after which there is a small plateau before the road descends again. The breakaway's advantage has expanded again to 5:29.
After this climb and the plateau the race drops down into Villaviciosa, where the stage began today and where the intermediate sprint is situated.
The breakaway are less than a kilometre away from the summit of Alto de la Llama with a lead of 5:16.
Stannard once again took maximum points atop the climb. He moves into second place in the King of the Mountains competition on 18 points but still well behind his teammate Jay Vine on 40 points.
With 50 km remaining, the breakaway has a 5:08 advantage. It's a packed last 50km with two more climbs, including the monstrous Les Praeres, and the intermediate sprint still to come.
There is a crash on the descent with Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost), Antoine Raugel (AG2R Citroën), Hector Carretero (Kern Pharma) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qasaqstan) all involved. They are all back up on their bikes.
The breakaway are maintaining their advantage on the descent - it is holding at 5:08.
The race is just four kilometres from the intermediate sprint and 15 kilometres from the summit of the penultimate climb - La Campa - and for the moment, the situation is steady.
The breakaway roll through the intermediate sprint with Conca crossing the line first.
The breakaway are on La Campa - the penultimate climb of the day - 9.3km long at 4.1%.
Its descent is long but leads to the approach road to the final climb that is "fast and very narrow so quite dangerous," 1988 Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado told Cyclingnews.
Once again on the descent, QuickStep's pace has shaved off a chunk of the breakaway's advantage. It is now 4:35.
The last climb has loomed over the stage and the race is almost there. It is only 3.8km long but averages 13.8%, with stretches reaching 24% in the final 500 metres.
“Don’t forget that Les Praeres was where Simon Yates won in 2018 and then he went on to win the Vuelta overall that year. So it’s clearly a finish which can tell us a lot about the different GC contenders, even if it’s only four kilometres long,” 1988 Tour de France winner and long-standing TV cycling commentator Pedro Delgado told Cyclingnews.
You can read more about this brutal climb here.
A little more of the breakaway's advantage has disappeared on the climb. With 2.2km until the summit, they are 4:19 ahead of the peloton.
Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) has abandoned the race after struggling with a lingering ankle injury.
Stannard took the maximum three points available at the top of La Campa.
QuickStep are accelerating out of every corner on the descent and the gap dips below four minutes.
Most of the GC contenders still have swathes of teammates with them. Behind QuickStep, Movistar, Jumbo-Visma and Ineos-Grenadiers are all arrayed in formation as they approach the final climb.
Janssens and Conca launch a speculative attack from the breakaway but are chased down.
Janssens' attacks are forcing Meintjes to chase and allowing his teammate Stannard a free ride.
Battistella and Janssens have a small five-second gap over the rest of the breakaway.
With a teammate behind, Janssens is sitting on Battistella's wheel. Their gap has increased to 15 seconds.
Battistella gestures and swears in frustration at Janssens who is refusing to cooperate.
The chase 30 seconds behind the leading duo is fracturing too as Van Baarle attacks.
Back in the peloton, meanwhile, Alaphilippe is on the front setting the pace for Evenepoel. They are 3:38 behind the leading group.
Battistella and Janssens pick their way down a steep, technical approach to the climb.
There's a crash behind in the peloton. Tao Geoghegan Hart crashes and remounts his bike. Chris Harper crashes too and is being attended to by the medical teams.
On the steep sections of the climb, Janssens leaves Battistella.
Alaphilippe leads QuickStep carefully down that technical descent. There is a split in the peloton behind them as they also begin the climb.
The GC group has splintered and only Roglic, Mas and Ayuso are alongside Evenepoel.
Meintjes has made his way up to Janssens and Battistella and coolly passes them on the climb.
Evenepoel presses on, grim-faced, and only Mas can hold his wheel now.
Mas also drops away from Evenepoel and the red jersey continues alone up the climb. He is 2:17 behind the front of the race.
Evenepoel is extending his lead in the general classification and sweeping up the remnants of the breakaway.
Carlos Rodriguez has joined Roglic and Ayuso in a group 40 seconds behind Evenepoel and 15 seconds behind Mas.
Meintjes continues on in search of a stage win. He is 1:52 ahead of Evenepoel.
Meintjes recovers on a rare flatter section before the road kicks up again in the final kilometre.
Mas has been caught by Ayuso and Rodriguez who have in turn dropped Roglic.
Evenepoel has carved out a gap of almost a minute on his nearest GC rivals.
Meintjes is approaching the finish line for a memorable stage victory.
Louis Meintjes raises his arms to the sky and wins stage 9!
Battistella is the next to cross the line, a minute behind Meintjes to take his second second place on this year's race.
Evenepoel has crossed the line, just 1:32 behind the stage winner. He has stamped his authority on the race today.
In the end, Evenepoel gained 34 seconds on Ayuso, 44 seconds on Mas, 46 seconds on Rodriguez and 52 seconds on Roglič. He now has a 1:12 lead in the GC.
Evenepoel goes into the rest day with a 1:12 lead over second-placed Mas. Roglič is third at 1:53 with Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos-Grenadiers) fourth at 2:33. Ayuso rounds out the top five 2:36 back.
“It’s something really special, I think it still needs some time to sink in. I’ve actually never been on the podium of a WorldTour race except for team classifications so that was one of my main goals before stopping my career," Louis Meintjes said at the finish.
"The last few days in the mountain finishes I was just not quite fast enough to keep up with the GC guys. Then, if I don’t get a result that way, the best is to go in the breakaway. It worked out perfectly today I was quite lucky, my team controlled it quite well and I tried once and picked the right breakaway so that was good teamwork.
It was quite a hard day and they made me do a bit more work, always closing the gap and accelerating, so I knew I was also spending more energy than most guys so I was not sure that I would still have the best legs.I knew it was really hard and it didn’t matter if you followed the breakaway or not, it was just a time trial to the finish.”
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Latest on Cyclingnews
European Championships: France claim Mixed Relay TTT titleItaly secure silver medal, Germany take bronze in Emmen
Shimano to recall 760,000 Ultegra and Dura-Ace cranksets due to risk of failureWorldwide recall to come as six injuries found in over 4,500 reported incidents of failing components
Tour de Luxembourg: Biermans blasts to victory on rain-soaked stage 2Kragh Andersen trails in second place and takes overall GC lead
Stefan Küng ends season after bloody European Championships TT crashSwiss rider fractures hand, cheekbone and suffers minor concussion after finishing TT with smashed helmet and blood-spattered face
Multi-discipline talent Lauren Molengraaf signs unique three-team deal17-year-old Dutchwoman to ride for FDJ-Suez, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and Lapierre-Mavic Unity across road, cyclocross and MTB
Tadej Pogacar ramps up training ahead of Il Lombardia title defenceSlovenian completes six-hour 'coffee ride' with 3813m elevation gain ahead of final 2023 Monument
Giro Aries Spherical review: The best that Virginia Tech has testedClaiming the top spot in the Virginia Tech ratings is impressive but is there more to this helmet?
Elevation gain doubled in UCI Gravel World Championships routes in 2023Elite men's 169km route features 1,900 metres of climbing with nine key uphill sections
Nathan Van Hooydonck forced to retire early from cycling due to heart problemsBelgian feels 'incredibly lucky' after collapsing while driving due to heart muscle anomaly