Vuelta Stage Report: Legendary is a word too easily used these days, but in years to come, Vuelta’21 stage 17 might be looked back on as ‘legendary’. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) started the move of the day, but it was Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) who finished it off at the Lagos de Covadonga. Stage and overall lead for the Slovenian.
Stage 17 last kilometre
Do we now know the final winner of the Vuelta a España 2021? Primož Roglič dominated stage 17 with a view to his third overall victory. The Jumbo-Visma rider won the mountain stage to Lagos de Covadonga with a great show of power, after a long attack with Egan Bernal.
Stage 17 Profile
Technical director, Fernando Escartín: “A great stage… with a surprise. Before facing the final leg with the classic climb of the Lagos de Covadonga, the peloton will complete two loops around a circuit including an unprecedented La Vuelta climb: la Collada Llomena (almost 8 km long with slopes reaching an inclination of 14%).”
Some local art-work for Floris De Tier to enjoy at the start
Today the top men like Primož Roglič, Enric Mas and Egan Bernal started the proper race. The seventeenth stage through the mountains of Asturias, with the Alto de Hortiguera, a double ascent of La Collada Llomena and the iconic final climb to the Lagos de Covadonga. On this 12.5 kilometre long climb, with gradients of up to 16%, the favourites could have their battle.
Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH). Most aggressive rider of stage 16. Sponsored by El Pozo Alimentación
With Odd Christian Eiking still in the red leader’s jersey, the peloton left the small village of Unquera to start this 185.8 kilometre stage. The first attack of the day came from Arnaud Démare, Olivier Le Gac, Cesare Benedetti, Pelayo Sanchez, Dylan Sunderland and Mauri Vansevenant. These six riders were off the front for a short time, but were caught again before the first climb. The next escape by eight riders wasn’t long in coming.
You can never have enough bells
This time, two-time stage winner Michael Storer, Mark Padun, Kévin Geniets, Joe Dombrowski, Andreas Kron, Alexander Krieger, Damien Howson and Bert-Jan Lindeman escaped before the Alto de Hortiguera (5.3km on 4,7%) Cat-3. This escape was also short-lived, because before the top of the Hortiguera there was a regrouping. At the top of this climb, Jan Polanc was first, ahead of Damiano Caruso and Romain Bardet. The last two were engaged in a battle for the mountain jersey.
Many riders tried to get a break going in the valley before the first time up the Cat-1 la Collada Llomena, the second climb of the day. It was going to be a day for the GC men
The first hour of racing was at more than 50 kph. The riders kept attacking and the GC men didn’t want them to get away. On the steepest sections of La Collada Llomena, the second climb of the day, another sizeable leading group broke away with climbers such as Michael Storer, Fabio Aru, David De la Cruz, Mikel Nieve, Jay Vine and Sergio Henao. Dylan van Baarle was also very active for INEOS Grenadiers. This break of 14 got a bit more of a gap from the thinned peloton.
An early attack from Landa came to nothing
Just below the top of La Collada Llomena, Mikel Landa tried to make the crossing from the peloton. The Bahrain Victorious climber made an impression for the first time in this Vuelta by closing the gap of 1:30. Landa joined just before the mountain sprint, which was won by Storer. The group of favourites, led by Jumbo-Visma, followed at the top.
INEOS Grenadiers had a plan today
The break of the day seemed to have been formed, but Jumbo-Visma had other ideas. Roglič’s team continued with a good pace in the valley towards the second climb of La Collada Llomena and pulled in the sizeable leading group. Only Olivier Le Gac was still ahead at that point, with 70 kilometres to go. The Frenchman was doing a brave solo, but the first group had him as their target. The men of INEOS Grenadiers came to the front: Egan Bernal and Adam Yates clearly had plans.
Bernal made the move and Roglič was on his wheel
Due to the pace of Tom Pidcock, Dylan van Baarle and Pavel Sivakov, the group of favourites was thinned even more, with Odd Christian Eiking as the first victim. It was clearly going too fast for the Norwegian red jersey. With 5 kilometres to climb, Sivakov’s work was done and Bernal put in his first acceleration. The Colombian was joined by Roglič, as Movistar did nothing.
Roglič went solo
Bernal and Roglič quickly rode away from the chase group by 45 seconds, where Wout Poels and Gino Mäder of Bahrain Victorious tried to limit the damage for Jack Haig. In the group was Mas and López, Felix Großschartner, Sepp Kuss, Guillaume Martin, De la Cruz and Meintjes. Just under 2 minutes from the front of the race, Eiking tried his best to limit his loss.
Bernal put up a good fight, but…
Bernal and Roglič started the wet and treacherous descent of La Collada Llomena with about 40 seconds. The Colombian and Slovenian had started a brave, but at the same time very ambitious move, as they still had more than 50 kilometres to go. Bernal took some risks, misjudged a bend, but remained upright. Behind; Aleksandr Vlasov and Eiking were less fortunate. Both riders crashed On the dscent of La Collada Llomena, but were able to continue.
Is there a battle between Mas and López in the Movistar team?
López. Yates and Kuss (+Mas) fought it out for second
Bernal and Roglič took turns to extend their lead over the chasing group. In the second group, Bahrain Victorious did everything to keep the difference close, but the two front runners started the final climb to the Lagos de Covadonga with a lead of one and a half minutes. Roglič and Bernal worked well together, while a strong Poels kept the pace high in the chasing group. This turned out to be disastrous for Martin, second overall, who was dropped.
The locals were not too interested
As the line approached, Bernal began to grimace more and more, while Roglič looked fairly fresh. With 7 kilometres to go, the Slovenian rode away from the Colombian. The smooth pedalling Roglič rode a minute away from Bernal, who tried to do his best to hold off the pursuers. In the second group there was an acceleration from López, but the Colombian didn’t get away. Then it was up to Mas to take a jump into the thick fog.
Stage and red jersey for Primoz Roglič
The Spaniard, still suffering from a crash on Tuesday, was pulled back by Yates, Kuss, Haig and Mäder. The Mas-López group meanwhile had Bernal in their sights, who kept fighting but clearly lost his power. Roglič was riding towards the win and the red jersey. This is the third stage win for the Slovenian in this Vuelta, after winning the opening time trial in Burgos and the stage to Valdepeñas de Jaén. Kuss completed Jumbo-Visma’s day by finishing second, followed by the other GC riders, more than a minute and a half from the victor of the day.
A stunning win
Sepp Kuss second on the stage
Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “In cycling, there is always risk, a lot of things can happen. But it went well today. I enjoyed it. It’s a super nice day for me and the whole team. I didn’t think anything, I just went with [Egan Bernal]. It’s a race! Then I was thinking a little bit… Wow, this is quite far, with still a hard climb in the end. But it was going well and we showed real racing. I just rode as hard as possible on the last climb. At that point, Egan didn’t follow anymore so I went alone. I think it’s my greatest showing in La Vuelta, yes. I was enjoying it with all the support. Only the weather wasn’t the best, but it was a super nice day. The gap on GC is never big enough, but it’s a nice one, we deserve it. No matter what, tomorrow we have a queen stage coming, so we’ll see if it’s enough.”
Roglič back in red
Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:34:45
2. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:35
3. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
6. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
7. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 2:29
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 2:44
11. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
12. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:47
13. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
14. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 3:43
15. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 4:46
16. Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 5:03
17. Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 5:20
18. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious at 5:25
19. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 5:52
20. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 5:57
21. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH at 7:46
22. Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 7:49
23. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 9:23
24. Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
25. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 9:41
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 68:42:56
2. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:22
3. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar at 3:11
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 3:46
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 4:16
6. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:29
7. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:45
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 5:04
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 6:54
10. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 6:58
11. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 7:59
12. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 8:12
13. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 8:34
14. Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 15:04
15. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 16:06
16. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 31:08
17. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 32:49
18. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 38:24
19. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 40:09
20. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 48:09
21. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 49:08
22. Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 54:15
23. Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 54:53
24. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 54:59
25. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 59:54.