Vuelta Stage Report: Jakob Fuglsang won stage 16 of the Vuelta a España on the summit of the Alto de la Cubilla. The experienced Dane of the Astana team was the strongest from the early break after a tough 145 kilometres of climbing. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) finished second at 22 seconds. Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked the other favourites, dropping Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana.
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A powerful performance from Jakob Fuglsang
Stage 16 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez – Pravia > Alto de La Cubilla. Lena 144,4 km:
A mountain stage with three climbs on the route which run together toward the end: Puerto de San Lorenzo, La Cobertoria and the top of La Cubilla, where we will have a chance to enjoy spectacular views, if the weather permits. The winner of this stage will be a firm candidate for winning La Vuelta.
Primoz Roglic looking cool in red at the start
The battle started early on stage 16. On the ‘flat’ start, Mark Padun, Zdenek Stybar, Jonas Koch and Casper Pedersen formed the first real leading group, but they didn’t stay away. On the Puerto de San Lorenzo, the first climb of the day, the race exploded.
The first break of the day
Deceuninck – Quick-Step had a plan to get in the break
Bad situation for Roglic on the first climb
Primoz Roglic seemed to be in trouble for a while, but with the help of his teammates he was able to return to a thinned-out favourite’s group. Only Robert Gesink, Neilson Powless and Sepp Kuss remained in support of the red jersey. Before that, Astana and Movistar had lifted the pace and both teams were well represented in a large leading group: Imanol Erviti, Jakob Fuglsang and Luis Léon Sánchez along with James Knox, Philippe Gilbert, Thomas De Gendt, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Nikias Arndt and KOM Ángel Madrazo.
Tao Geoghegan Hart was to finish 2nd on the stage
Bouchard takes the KOM jersey
Jumbo-Visma then took control of the peloton, but Movistar had other ideas. With a few attacks the Spanish team tried to make the Jumbo boys nervous, but men in yellow recovered and after George Bennett’s returned, they led the bunch. Up the road in the leading group there was an interesting battle for the mountain jersey on the San Lorenzo. Geoffrey Bouchard won the first mountain climb from Madrazo and took the lead in the KOM classification.
Lunch time for Movistar
On the second climb, the hard Alto de la Cobertoria, it was Bouchard again ahead of Madrazo for the points. Jumbo-Visma counted on Tony Martin and Lennard Hofstede to lead the pack. They gave the leaders a 7 minute lead and kept the peloton together.
Philippe Gilbert in the break again
The front group attacked each other on the run-up to the final climb, the Alto de la Cubilla (17.8 km at 6.2%), which they started with a lead of more than 9 minutes. Deceuninck – Quick-Step set the pace for Knox. Luis Léon Sánchez then further thinned the leading group, only Knox, Fuglsang, Hart and Gianluca Brambilla could follow him.
Primoz Roglic played a waiting game
Fuglsang took over from Sánchez 7 kilometres from the top. He shook Brambilla off, but had Hart after him in the last 4 kilometres. The Brit did not give up and kept the Danish climber in sight, although the fog made it a bit more difficult as they neared the summit. The difference remained around 15 seconds between Fuglsang and Hart. This was an unbridgeable gap for the Ineos rider, which allowed Fuglsang to win a stage in a Grand Tour for the first time in his career.
First Grand Tour stage win for Jakob Fuglsang
Roglic, López and Pogacar make a move
Among the favourites, Wilco Kelderman was out of luck on the first sections of the final climb. The Sunweb leader had a puncture and had to chase to reconnect more than 10 kilometres from the top. Astana then took over the work, which put Nairo Quintana in trouble. Astana’s work led to the expected attack by Miguel Ángel López with 5 kilometres to go. The Colombian had Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic on his wheel, as Soler closed the gap for Valverde. Majka also joined, leaving only Quintana from the men of top overall placings.
Bad day for Quintana
The favourites group looked at each other, giving Majka and Soler the opportunity to ride away. Hermann Pernsteiner and Nicolas Edet were also allowed to escape. A new effort by López, which only Pogacar could follow, hurt Valverde. Roglic wanted to jump across, but could not follow the attack from López. After a short time the red jersey made the crossing to López and Pogacar.
Valverde lost time to Roglic, Pogacar and Lopez
Roglic then received help from the others in the final kilometre. López and Pogacar wanted to take time on the second placed Alejandro Valverde, and so the three pressed on to take 20 seconds on the leader of Movistar. The damage was even greater for Nairo Quintana.
Time gained for Primoz Roglic
Time lost for Alejandro Valverde
Primoz Roglic is going into the second rest day with a comfortable lead. His lead over Alejandro Valverde has grown to 2:48. Tadej Pogacar is at 3:42, and Miguel Ángel López at 3:59. The fifth place is now in the hands of Rafal Majka at 7:40, who overtook Nairo Quintana by 3 seconds.
Roglic. Lopez and Pogacar took time out of the other top men
Nice Asturian hat
Stage winner, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “It feels great. To win a stage was one of my goals coming here as well as helping the team and building my shape for the last part of the season. But one thing is to have a goal, another thing is to achieve it. I’m super happy with this win. From the morning the plan was to have me and Luis [Leon Sanchez] at the front, to go in the hunt for the stage victory. With two guys in the breakaway, we could try to win the stage and if it didn’t work out, we had people up the road to help Miguel [Angel Lopez] in the final climb. And the plan worked out. It’s been my best season ever. I am super happy that I can continue to show it was not a good spring; that I had consistency to come back after a setback in the Tour de France. To win my first Grand Tour stage is really special.”
Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 4:01:22
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos at 0:22
3. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana at 0:40
4. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:42
5. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:12
6. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:09
7. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 2:15
8. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 2:21
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:32
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
11. Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 02:46
12. Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 3:49
13. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 5:49
14. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 5:58
15. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
16. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
17. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar at 6:21
18. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
19. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 6:24
20. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida
21. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 6:35
22. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 6:49
23. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 6:52
24. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 6:54
25. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 62:17:52
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:48
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:42
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:59
5. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7:40
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 7:43
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 10:27
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 10:34
9. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 10:40
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 12:05
11. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 13:26
12. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 14:24
13. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 16:33
14. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 16:53
15. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 17:26
16. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 17:28
17. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 17:32
18. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 17:48
19. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 24:37
20. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 28:38
21. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 38:03
22. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 38:12
23. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 40:06
24. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 42:15
25. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Dimension Data.