La VUELTA’19 Stage 13: Slovenia Rules Los Machucos!
Vuelta Stage Report: The finalé of a crazy day on stage 13 saw two Slovenian riders blast the others off their wheels on the murderous climb of Los Machucos. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) took his second stage win in the Vuelta a España, he and his fellow countryman, the overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) rode away from the other favourites on the steep ramps, and then won the final sprint for the stage win.
Stage win and more time in the back for Pogacar and Roglic
Stage 13 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez – Bilbao > Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega 166,4 km:
An extremely challenging stage, dishing up seven mountain passes: four 3rd category climbs, two 2nd category, and an HC finale at the top of Los Machucos. The teams will find it hard to control the race, with its very demanding finish providing the first true test to reveal those riders with a real chance of becoming the overall winner of La Vuelta 19.
Winner of La Vuelta in 2015, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) didn’t start stage 13. Aru said: “The analyses carried out with the team’s medical staff showed a strong muscular damage that does not allow me to recover from the efforts. The situation was getting worse, so together with the team’s medical staff it was decided to stop, and carry out further checks. I am sorry to withdraw but, given the situation, it would be unthinkable to be able to continue.”
The sign-on was at the front of the Bilbao football stadium
Time for a kick-about before the start?
After an hour the stage made a proper start to the action, immediately a few riders tried to take the lead. At the foot of the first of seven climbs, the Alto de la Escrita, the peloton was again together. Wout Poels tried to get away again on the climb and that turned out to be the start of the ‘Break of the Day’ with KOM Ángel Madrazo amongst the front group. Both AG2R-La Mondiale and Katusha-Alpecin had three riders in the escape. Sergio Higuita was the best placed rider on GC in the leading group. The Colombian from EF Education First was 14th at 10:21 from Primož Roglič.
Stage 13 started from the San Mamés stadium, home of the Athletic football club Bilbao. Bilbao fans Fraile, Lastra and Bizkarra wore the team jersey
CCC’s Patrick Bevin tried to get the break going
The leading group: Pierre Latour, Geoffrey Bouchard and Clément Venturini (AG2R-LA Mondiale), Steff Cras, Matteo Fabbro and Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), Tsgabu Grmay and Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Wout Poels and David de la Cruz (Ineos), Robert Power and Martijn Tusveld (Sunweb), Gianluca Brambilla, Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Herrada and Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis), Mikel Bizkarra and Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias) Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), Sergio Henao (UAE Emirates), Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) and Sergei Chernetskii (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
Sergio Luis Henao (UAE Team Emirates) was also one of the early attackers
Thomas De Gendt also wanted be in the escape of the day
Nineteen of the 22 teams were represented at the front. Only Jumbo-Visma (Roglič), Astana (López) and CCC stayed in the peloton, with the Dutch team setting the pace. The lead was kept stable at 3 minutes. On the Collado del Asón, the third climb after 86 kilometres, the leading group split. Poels, De Gendt and Brambilla headed off the front as other fought to hold them.
Saez went for a long solo
On the Puerto de Alisas, the fourth climb, Grosschartner tried a solo attack. Shortly before the summit the Austrian was passed by Jesus Herrada, but more riders were able to return to the lead group. The peloton was now at 8:30, allowing the break to dream of a stage win. In the run-up to the fifth climb, the Puerto de Fuente Las Varas, Hector Saez went for a long range attack.
In the peloton the World champion, Alejandro Valverde, doesn’t seem to happy about something
Wout Poels was keen to keep the break going
The Euskadi-Murias rider had already seen his teammate Mikel Iturria win a stage of la Vuelta and started the last 50 kilometres with a 30 second lead. On the climb he added to his lead and had 2:30. Armirail and Bouchard then started a pursuit together. Bouchard couldn’t keep up the pressure and so Armirail went on alone. At the top of the penultimate climb, he was only 45 seconds behind Saez, 12.5 kilometres from the foot of the steep climb of Los Machucos.
The Frenchman ease off and passed the Spaniard on the final climb, Saez had ridden more than 40 kilometres solo. The first pursuers were at less than 40 seconds and the peloton was within 2 minutes. There was going to be an exciting finalé.
Pogacar and Roglic ripped the race apart
No one could follow the Slovenian tandem
Latour goes for the win and passes Armirail
While Armirail struggled on the steep ramps of the Alto de Los Machucos, Latour, who was also part of the early break, kept stamping on the steep 25% ramps and joined the Groupama-FDJ rider 4.5 kilometres from the finish.
Has Slovenia taken over the climber’s crown from Colombia?
The GC peloton was now down to barely eight riders, with Nairo Quintana taking a small lead. Marc Soler, Alejandro Valverde, Rafał Majka, Primož Roglič, Miguel Ángel López and Tadej Pogačar pulled back the Colombian 4 kilometres from the finish, just 1 minute behind Latour. Roglič and Pogačar then joined forces, at first only Alejandro Valverde could follow.
Valverde was the only rider to hold on… but not for long
When the world champion was shaken off, only Roglič could follow the wheel of his young countryman, Pogačar. Together the Slovenians caught Latour in the last kilometre and a half, the Frenchman could not follow the killing pace. Roglič and Pogačar continued to work together, and the UAE Team Emirates youth took the win to add to the victory of Cortals d’Encamp.
Roglic helped, but the younger Pogacar was going strong
Large time differences after a spectacular stage
As for the others; the losses were fairly large in a short distance. Latour took third place 27 seconds behind Pogačar and Roglič, with Valverde, Quintana and Majka on his wheel. For López, the damage amounted to 1:01. Roglič extended his lead and Pogačar climbed to third place at the expense of López and Quintana. Valverde held on to second spot.
The last K
Vuelta stage win No. 2 for Pogacar
Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a big fight and it was a nice day for Slovenian cycling. I didn’t expect to open such differences. I expected a big fight and it was a hard climb that delivered a good finish for me. I think both the time and the moral advantages are important. But the time is what counts in cycling. It’s nice to open bigger differences. It was a great day for Slovenian cycling to have the two of us (with Tadej Pogacar) at the front. We gave our whole until the finish. Tadej is of course a big talent with a big future. He has gained time on the GC also and is on the podium now. He is a good friend of mine, a nice guy, and a rival.”
All a bit much for Tadej
Stage winner and 3rd overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “I can’t believe it’s my second stage win in my first Grand Tour. I’m extremely happy, so happy I can’t even describe it. At the start, I didn’t know I would feel so good in the last climb. I just wanted to survive that day. I just wanted not to lose too much time and in the end it was a great day for me. When I heard on the radio nobody was following me and Roglic, I realised it was a good opportunity. It’s difficult to go against Roglic, he’s really strong. So I’m very happy with what I’ve done today. I don’t think I can win La Vuelta, Primoz is really holding on to La Roja. It’s my first Grand Tour, I don’t know how I will react. Those two weeks have been perfect for me. I hope I can continue like this. I want to be there in Madrid next to Primoz, with the white jersey and top 5 or maybe even top 3 on GC. I think it’s possible, I will do my best and hope I don’t have a bad day.”
Los Machucos was a bit steep for Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
Vuelta a España Stage 13 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:28:26
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:27
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:01
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:08
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
11. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:13
12. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida
13. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:23
14. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
15. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 1:25
16. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 1:32
17. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 1:52
18. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:18
19. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 2:28
20. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 2:59
21. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma
22. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
23. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 3:13
24. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 3:32
25. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
26. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 13:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 49:20:28
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:25
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:01
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:18
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:33
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 6:15
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 7:18
8. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 7:33
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 7:39
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Merida at 9:58
11. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 10:03
12. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 11:30
13. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 11:52
14. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 13:40
15. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 14:25
16. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 14:51
17. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 15:27
18. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 16:46
19. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 18:13
20. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 18:45
21. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 19:13
22. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 20:41
23. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 26:22
24. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 33:09
25. François Bidard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 34:32.