Vuelta Stage Report: Sunweb’s Nikias Arndt won a rain-soaked stage 8 of the Vuelta a España. The German was the strongest rider of the early break that splashed its way in to Igualada after 166.9 kilometres. Frenchman Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) moved into the overall lead with 3 minutes on Miguel Ángel López of Astana.
Arndt’s second Grand Tour stage win
Stage 8 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez:
A mid-mountain stage due to the nature of the landscape the race passes through rather than the actual climbs involved. The Puerto de Montserrat, towards the end of the stage, will be a key moment when the sprinters’ teams will have to decide whether to control the race and prepare a final sprint or let the breakaway go for the victory.
The Vuelta started the second week with a transition stage through a rolling Catalan hills. After three summit finishes, the riders had a different type of stage today with only one categorised climb. An early break of 21 riders was soon up the road and building a nice lead.
Tony Martin at work again
The break was made up of: Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), Fernando Barceló (Euskadi-Murias), David de la Cruz (Ineos), Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Jonas Koch (CCC), Jonathan Lastra ( Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Luis León Sánchez (Astana), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Martijn Tusveld (Sunweb) and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal). Only Jumbo-Visma, EF Education First, Mitchelton-Scott and Burgos-BH had missed the move.
Mostly dry, with a downpour promised
Astana didn’t try too hard behind the break
The peloton let the big break go. The Astana team of overall leader Lopez took control of the peloton and set the pace of the chase. The Frenchman Edet (at 6:24 to Lopez) was the best classified rider and was soon in virtual red.
The break knew they could go all the way
Stetina opens the final
The Puerto de Monserrat was the only climb that counted for the KOM. Stetina was the first to attack the break, and was the first to cross the summit, he was soon joined by Barcélo and Herrada, but they were pulled back by a larger group on the descent.
Stetina put in a big attack, but maybe a bit early
As they started to get close to the finish in Igualda it started to rain. An acceleration from Guerreiro was followed by a counter reaction from Barcélo. Tusveld and Aranburu also put in attacks, but in the finalé the others were close behind the four. Tusveld took a round-about too fast and slid to the ground. The others came together 3 kilometres from the line.
Ludvigsson tried for a solo, but was pulled in by Stybar. The Czech went past, but couldn’t take a gap. In the sprint for the win, Arndt had the fastest final kick. He finished ahead of Aranburu and Van der Sande to give his Sunweb team a huge boost with his stage victory after the loss of Nico Roche during the week.
The win and the overall lead would come from the ‘Break of the Day’
Edet new leader
The peloton finished more than 9 minutes after stage winner, Arndt. Nicolas Edet became the new overall leader and will start tomorrow’s mountain stage to Cortals d’Encamp in Andorra in the red jersey.
A tough finish
Stage winner, Nikias Arndt (Sunweb): “It’s amazing. Yesterday I said already I wanted to be on the break. But to actually be there, and able to get victory, is unbelievable. I got great support from Martijn [Tusveld] during the stage. He was on the front, covering all the moves, and I could sit in, go smooth over the climb and wait. When Martijn crashed, I knew I had to chase every attack and keep things together because I knew I could win from a sprint. This is one of the best days of my career. I’ve always said I want to win a stage in every Grand Tour and this is a step forward on that goal. When I crossed the line I still couldn’t believe I’d won a stage on La Vuelta. I guess I sprinted on the saddle because I was too tired as to stand on the pedals, yet I could produce enough power as to get the victory.”
Yet another overall leader
New overall leader, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis): “They told me Bernard Hinault had taken the leader’s jersey in Igualada too. He has so many records, it’s nice to share one with him. It’s a nice story. To claim La Roja is something totally different than a stage victory or the Polka-dot jersey I won in 2013. To be on the podium in Madrid meant more than a stage victory. Here, it might very well have been the opportunity of a lifetime to take the leader’s jersey and I had to seize the opportunity. I had La Roja in the back of my mind since the start of La Vuelta. Today, I wasn’t supposed to go in the break. I hope my DS won’t be mad about it… To climb on the podium is a reward for my family. As a rider, you make sacrifices, you don’t see your parents, your wife, your children… My daughter often asks me for a lion from the Tour de France. She’ll have the Spanish toro, it’s nice too. You have to enjoy those moments to the fullest, give it all you have and I don’t want to have any regret tomorrow after the queen stage of La Vuelta 19.”
Vuelta a España Stage 8 Result:
1. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb in 3:50:48
2. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
3. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida
7. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
9. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
10. Sergio Henao (Col) UAE-Team Emirates.
11. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
12. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo
13. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
14. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:06
15. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 0:35
16. Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Sunweb at 0:58
17. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
18. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
19. Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar at 2:32
20. Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Dimension Data at 5:37
21. Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale
22. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 9:24
23. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
24. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
25. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 8:
1. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis in 32:16:24
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Merida at 2:21
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:01
4. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 3:07
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:17
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:28
7. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 3:45
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4:59
9. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 5:37
10. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:53
11. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 6:35
12. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 6:37
13. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
14. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:56
15. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 7:02
16. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 7:56
17. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 8:09
18. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 9:09
19. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 9:25
20. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 9:29
21. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 11:02
22. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 11:40
23. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 12:06
24. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 12:08
25. Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 12:28.