La VUELTA’19 Stage 9: Pogacar Storms It – Quintana in Red!

Vuelta Stage Report: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) won the short Andorra stage 9 of the Vuelta a España in a grand manner. The 20-year-old Slovenian talent attacked the final climb to Cortals d’Encamp, three kilometres from the finish Pogacar jumped from the wheel of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), to cross the line solo. Behind him, the favourites fought to hold each other and limit the time gaps. Quintana took over the red jersey from Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).

A fine win for the young Tadej Pogačar

Stage 9 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez – Andorra la Vella > Cortals d’Encamp:

A similar stage to the final act of La Vuelta 18, although this time the climb up to the Coll de Ordino is in the opposite direction. In turn, the hardest part of Coll de la Gallina and the finish will link La Comella, the first ever appearance of the Engolasters mountain pass, and a new 4 km flat gravel track to the final climb to Cortals d’Encamp. It will be one of the crucial stages for deciding the overall standings.

Stage 9 in Andorra started with a climb. On the Coll d’Ordino (8.9km at 5%) the peloton split open immediately. Many riders wanted to be in the leading group, but it was Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) who was the first to take the lead. After a lot of work, a large group joined Hart.

A good warm-up before the start for Bahrain-Merida

Wilco Kelderman, Martijn Tusveld, Wout Poels, Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss, Neilson Powless, Sergio Higuita, Thomas De Gendt, Jakob Fuglsang and Pierre Latour joined Hart. Movistar (Erviti and Soler) and Astana (Fraile, Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre) also had riders in the group for their leaders. On the descent of the Ordino, the mini-peloton was at 40 seconds behind Mikel Bizkarra and Patrick Bevin. The main peloton was at more than 2 minutes.

Wout Poels at the start

The best placed rider in the 35-strong group was Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal). Cofidis, for the red jersey of Nicolas Edet led the chase, but let the leading group take 4 minutes. This made Hagen the virtual leader. Kelderman (12th at 6:37), Latour (14th at 6:56) and Nieve (15th at 7:02) were also in with a chance, but Movistar was not going to let it happen. At the base of the Coll de la Gallina (12.2km at 8.3%) the speed was lifted by the men in blue.

Not much flat in Andorra

That pace was too much for Fabio Aru and Esteban Chaves was also in trouble. The Colombian had to change bikes twice and lost time to the other ‘Top 10’. Overall leader, Nicolas Edet was also dropped. The favourites group quickly thinned out as Astana and Movistar put on the pressure. Roglic still had George Bennett at his side. At the top of the Gallina, Geoffrey Bouchard was just ahead of the thinned out leading group. The GC top men followed at 3:30 and the Chaves group at 4:20.

A short but tough day

The finalé consisted of a three part climb split by plateaus. At the foot of the first climb (Alto de la Cornella, Cat 2), Bouchard had more than 1 minute on the Kelderman group and 4 minutes on the GC group, with Chaves. The attacks in the CG group started with 19 kilometres to go. Miguel Ángel López was the instigator on the first ramps of the Cornella. Nairo Quintana closed it immediately, followed by Roglic and Valverde. Another attack from ‘Superman’ Lopez was allowed to go as Roglic was counting on the support of his team mates. López had sent riders with the early break and so received support from Gorka Izagirre and then Jakob Fuglsang.

Not a good day for ‘Superman’ in the end

Majka and Nieve

Can ‘Superman’ fly?
López finished the second part of the final climb, the Engolasters, 40 seconds up. Quintana put in some smaller jumps behind, but they were always countered by Roglic. Valverde and Quintana decided to attack the Slovenian in turn, but he held their moves. The gap to López stayed the same as Kuss fell back to help Roglic and put himself on the front.

Roglic and Valverde finished together

At this point it started to rain, which changed to hail as the riders hit the gravel section of the course. Quintana and Valverde managed to distance themselves from Roglic, who fell due to a manoeuvre of a moto and had to chase. The Movistar leaders joined López, who had also fallen. Quintana attacked again with Pogacar on his wheel. Roglic followed at 30 seconds.

Sunweb’s Martijn Tusveld battled through the storm

Lopez lost time on the other GC men

Bouchard and Hart were no longer at the front and had been replaced by Movistar climber, Marc Soler. He started the final climb to Cortals d’Encamp with a small lead, but the Quintana/Pogacar duo were not far behind him. Shaking his head, Soler, who could have won the stage, waited to help his leader. Roglic joined the López and Valverde group, but the World champion attacked.

Pogacar went solo three K out

Quintana was too slow for Pogacar and the 20-year-old Slovenian talent dropped the two Movistar Colombians 3 kilometres from the top. Quintana finished second at 23 seconds from the solo Pogacar.

A great future ahead for Tadej Pogačar

Behind; Roglic closed the gap to Valverde, while López couldn’t follow. The Jumbo-Visma leader finished third at 48 seconds from the stage winner, just ahead Valverde. López lost 13 seconds to Roglic and Valverde.

23 seconds later, Quintana crossed the line for the overall lead

Another new overall leader
Nairo Quintana is the new leader in the general classification, partly due to the time bonus at the finish. Primoz Roglic is now at 6 seconds, Miguel Ángel López at 17 seconds and Alejandro Valverde at 20 seconds. Tadej Pogacar climbed to fifth place.

There will be a lot of work cleaning bike tonight

Pity the TV lost all the live action due to the storm!

Big win for Pogacar

Stage winner, Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates): “It has been an incredible stage; it was very demanding from the start. Yesterday, when I saw the weather forecast for today, and I read that it would be rainy, I was actually happy because I knew I had it in me to do something special. I gave it everything on the gravel sector and even after that effort I felt strong right up until the finish line. I know that I beat some of the best riders, but today’s stage wasn’t very straightforward. We had to contend with gravel and also a hailstorm, so it’s understandable that some riders would have had difficulties.”

New overall leader – nairo Quintana

Overall leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I’m very happy. It was a great day for me and for the whole Movistar Team. We have gained some time back on the GC. Let’s see how the ITT pans out. It’s likely I’ll lose La Roja against better time triallist such as Primoz Roglic or my teammate Alejandro Valverde. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll do a good performance, as being the leader on the GC is quite motivating. I’ve been getting better since Mas de la Costa, and I’m sure I’ll improve further from today on. Team orders were given for Marc Soler to wait and help me out. He did stop and pulled for as long as he could or wanted to. As for me, I kept moving forward as I was trying to edge out my rivals as much as possible. The stages in Andorra are always quite hard, also because of the weather. It rained less than expected, but the hail made us go through a lot of misery.”

Vuelta a España Stage 9 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE-Team Emirates in 2:58:09
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:23
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:48
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Marc Soler (Col) Movistar at 0:57
6. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aust) Bahrain Merida at 0:59
7. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First at 1:01
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana
10. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos at 1:38
11. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 1:46
12. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:02
13. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:08
14. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
15. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
16. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:48
17. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:02
18. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:23
19. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:58
20. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 4:17
21. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
22. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First
23. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Dimension Data at 4:25
24. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 4:43
25. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 5:12.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 9:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 35:18:18
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 0:17
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE-Team Emirates at 1:42
6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 1:46
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 2:21
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 3:22
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 3:53
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 4:46
11. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:19
12. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 6:23
13. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 6:41
14. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 6:51
15. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 7:07
16. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 10:03
17. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 10:17
18. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 12:21
19. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 12:29
20. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 12:57
21. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 13:23
22. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 13:50
23. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 14:19
24. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 15:39
25. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 17:08.

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