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VUELTA’21 Stage 20: Champoussin Wins as Top-Ten Explodes!

Roglič holds the overall into the TT

Vuelta Stage Report: The final road race stage of the 2021 Vuelta a España split on the tough roads of Galicia. Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Enric Mas (Movistar) were safe in first and second overall, but Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) were the big losers. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) moved up. Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën) won the stage.

Stage 20 final kilometre

The penultimate stage of the 2021 Vuelta will be one to remember for a long time. Clément Champoussin won the stage, but this was after a crazy stage of attacks and chases on tough Galician roads. Miguel Ángel López lost his podium spot to Jack Haig, after an attack by the Bahrain Victorious rider, and abandoned the race.

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Stage 20 Profile

Technical director, Fernando Escartín: “This stage promises to be very entertaining for the spectators. The first part, relatively flat, will give way to a mini “classic”. Constant climbs and descents and five short, but tough mountain passes. A lucky “mini Liège Bastogne Liège” just one stage before the end of La Vuelta 21.”

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The start of the last road race stage

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Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) leads the points classification with 250 points. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is in second with 162, ahead of Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Nippo on 144

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The start from Sanxenxo

A hilly stage to Alto Castro de Herville gave the escapees and GC riders another chance to play all or nothing in the Vuelta. The Spanish Grand Tour concludes on Sunday with an individual time trial in Santiago de Compostela and today was the last chance for many.

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Only two days to go

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Not many on the beach this morning

With five categorised climbs on the route, there were still plenty of opportunities to force something, and that’s what happened. First by a leading group with Clément Champoussin, Mark Padun, Jesus Herrada, Nick Schultz, Romain Bardet, Chris Hamilton, Michael Storer, Daniel Navarro, Lilian Calmejane, Ryan Gibbons and Mikel Bizkarra who broke away after 10 kilometres and soon had a lead of 12 minutes.

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Relaxed Galician start

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A bit of music while you work

Then the plans of the INEOS Grenadiers team became clear: Put Egan Bernal or Adam Yates on the podium at the end of the day. By leading the peloton, the British backed team halved the lead in no time. The toughest climb of the day was still to be climbed: the Alto de Mougas.

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Relaxed Galician start

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A bit of music while you work

There the leading group fell apart. Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) took off alone and managed to create a good gap, Bardet, Storer, Calmejane, Padun had to chase. There was still more than 60 kilometres to go.

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The first attacks were not long in coming

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The break of the day included the two DSM riders fighting for the KOM – Bardet and Storer

Due to the pace in the peloton their chances of the stage victory dwindled: Yates attacked 60 kilometres from the finish hoping to drop Jack Haig and Miguel Ángel López. The Brit didn’t succeed, but a tactical fight followed in which Haig attacked. Primož Roglič, Enric Mas, Gino Mäder and Yates jumped on him, only to see Bernal and López behind them refusing, or unable to close the gap.

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The course was either up or down all day

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Back to the Galician coast

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Roglič only had to watch Mas

Haig quickly put Mäder on the front to extend the lead as the Australian still had a chance to put himself onto the podium. The Colombian’s defense was quickly broken, because within 20 kilometres he was at more than 4 minutes. After Padun dropped out of the leading group, his deficit grew further and further. Towards the end of the stage, López angrily gave up the fight and climbed into a team car.

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Bahrain Victorious blew the GC group apart

Gibbons was still ahead on the final climb. With a lead of almost 2 minutes, the South African started the last kilometres with hope on his side, but to no avail. When Yates attacked with 6 kilometres to go, his lead vanished.

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Big win on a big day for Clément Champoussin

Yates, Mas, Roglič and Haig turned out to be the best climbers in the second group as predicted, but they failed to close the last gap. While several riders managed to catch the front group, Gibbons was pulled back. Many attacks followed, but the decisive one came from Champoussin, who took his first professional victory after a tough race.

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Champoussin – More than happy with his first pro win

Stage winner, Clément Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën): “To be honest, when we got caught at the bottom of the climbing, after being the whole day ahead, it was a bit tough, but the favorites were tired too I think. When they went in the steep part, it was going too fast for me. Afterwards, I was lucky, I ran into Gino Mäder, who brought us back into the group. I hung on, clocked up, and a little over a mile from the finish I was lucky they looked at each other. Since I’m not dangerous, I thought to myself that I had to try to pass a little faster. The last kilometre wasn’t too hard and I was able to stay ahead until the end. It’s a bit unexpected because I’ve had some ups and downs over these three weeks. Yesterday I was really not well. Today I would have been happy to finish the stage. I was with Lilian [Calmejane] and Stan [Dewulf] up front. They helped me a lot all day. I couldn’t miss.”

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Champoussin may not have been the hero of the day, or even the strongest, but he was the victor

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m super happy with the place I finished in today with the way it went. I couldn’t wish for more. I was mainly looking at [Adam] Yates and Enric [Mas] but at the end there were a lot more guys. We need to be super strong to attack and to go away. I kept everything more or less under control. The first half of the stage was nice. We did the tempo then I expected that the guys went for it in the last mountain stage. Ineos rode hard and the race exploded. I’m looking forward to the time trial tomorrow. We’ve been waiting for this so finally here we are.”

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Just the time trial to go for Primoz Roglič

Vuelta a España Stage 20 Result:
1. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën in 5:21:50
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
3. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:08
4. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 0:12
6. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) DSM 0:00:16
7. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:23
8. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:26
9. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious
10. Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:50
11. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:05
12. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:09
13. Sylvain Moniquet (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:13
14. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 1:15
15. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:35
16. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH at 2:25
17. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 6:55
18. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
19. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
20. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
21. Alvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 7:31
22. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
23. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious
24. Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
25. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 20:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 83:11:27
2. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:38
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 4:48
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 5:48
5. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 8:14
6. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 11:38
7. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 13:42
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 16:11
9. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 16:19
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 20:30
11. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 20:46
12. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 24:50
13. Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 26:18
14. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 43:59
15. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 47:47
16. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 52:05
17. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 1:02:56
18. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:04:36
19. Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 1:06:46
20. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 1:16:18
21. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:18:18
22. Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 1:18:57
23. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH at 1:29:59
24. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious at 1:31:33
25. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 1:34:27.

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