The second week of the Spanish Grand Tour and the monster of the Alto de l'Angrilu are behind us, but the final week is no 'walk in the park'. Ed Hood has been tied to the TV to give us his 'different' view on stages seven to twelve of the 2020 Vuelta a España.
The fireworks that was expected on the summit of l'Angliru, did not disappoint. The lead group was down to the bare essentials when Hugh Carthy blew past the others on the steep ramps for the stage win and 3rd overall. Primoz Roglič was in trouble and lost time to the repeat overall leader, Richard Carapaz.
Frenchman, David Gaudu got the better of Marc Soler on the tough final climb of the Alto de La Farrapona. The two had been part of the 'Break of the Day', but rode away from the others to fight it out for the victory. The two top men on GC, Primoz Roglič and Richard Carapaz, finished together.
The final sprint was far from flat, and in the last metres Primoz Roglič shot out from the pack for another stage win. The Slovenian was by far the most powerful rider to win by lengths. Ten seconds bonus and his winning gap and Roglič took the red jersey from Richard Carapaz. Both are on the same time.
After the efforts of the last two stages, the peloton was glad of a 'sprinter's day' to rest-up before the tough weekend and l'Angliru on Sunday. At the line in Aguilar de Campo, Sam Bennett who was too fast for Pascal Ackermann and Gerben Thijssen, but the judges decided that Bennett had tangled with Emīls Liepiņš.
At the end of a man-against-man battle between the red jersey, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) and the green jersey of Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), it was the Slovenian who crossed the line first at the summit of the Alto de Moncalvillo. Carapaz held the overall lead, but now only has 13 seconds on Roglič.
The finalé of stage 7 into Villanueva de Valdegovia was a crazy affair of attack and counter attack from the leading group. In the end it was Canada's Michael Woods who held the lead to the line after he made his move in the last kilometre. Omar Fraile was second and Alejandro Valverde third. The GC stayed much the same.
We now only have one Grand Tour to watch in this very strange 2020 season. Will the Vuelta a España follow the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia and fall to a 'Young Gun'? Too soon to tell, but Ed Hood takes a different look at the 'primera semana' of the Spanish Tour.
A very exciting Giro d'Italia finished on Sunday in Milano with a decisive time trial, although the Italian Grand Tour was probably won in the mountains on the previous days with battles between eventual winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman. But there was much more to the final week. Ed Hood takes up the story.