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VUELTA’22 Stage 16: Crash Chaos as Pedersen Wins!

Vuelta Stage Report: Stage 16 was always going to be a sprinter’s stage and an extra day for the GC men to recover and prepare for the final tough days to come. That was the plan until Primoz Roglič attacked on a small climb in the last 3 kilometres as Remco Evenepoel punctured. The green jersey of Mads Pedersen crossed the line first as Roglič hit the deck. Problems for the top two on GC.

The crazy final kilometre

Another win for Mads Pedersen

The sixteenth stage of la Vuelta a España, that finished in Tomares, was won by Mads Pedersen. The Danish green jersey wearer crossed the finish line first after a crazy final. Before the finish Primož Roglič attacked in the final and looked to be taking time on the overall leader, Remco Evenepoel who had a mechanical, but he crashed heavily in the last few hundred metres.

The start of stage 16 in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Race director, Fernando Escartín: “After Sierra Nevada and a well-deserved rest day, the sprinters are going to need their strength again. Tomares, where Matteo Trentin was victorious in 2017, will offer the last great opportunity for sprinters before the final stage in Madrid.”

Stage 16 profile

The sixteenth stage from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Tomares was on fairly flat roads and not too challenging. There was still a devil in the tail with a very treacherous finalé, spiced up by a 1.5 kilometre climb at 6% in the last 10 kilometres. This could be an ideal springboard for an attack.

The start was at the sea in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, but the finish in Tomares was well in-land

From the start there was little enthusiasm for an early break. Two Spaniards took full advantage and escaped from the peloton. Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined forces and soon had a gap. The lead of Okamika and Maté rose to well over 4 minutes. In the peloton, Trek-Segafredo and Cofidis took control after the leading group finally pulled away. These were the teams of the top favourites for the day: Mads Pedersen and Bryan Coquard.

Lots of fans at the start

With less than 100 kilometres to the finish in Tomares, Cofidis and Trek-Segafredo still controlled the race. The lead of Okamika and Maté was slowly reduced, although the peloton kept the two leaders out front for a bit longer. The two Spaniards fought on and were not going to just let themselves be caught by the sprinter’s teams. When the difference was down to 2 minutes, there was no problem for the sprinters in this otherwise dull stage.

Primoz Roglič had his own fan club

The early break of the day – Maté and Okamika

At the intermediate sprint in Alcala del Río, just under 30 kilometres from the finish and there was a big battle between Okamika and Maté. They started the sprint very early, but Maté was the fastest. A minute later, Pedersen took more points for his green jersey in third place. The end of the early break then slowly came into view and with about 15 kilometres to go, the adventure of Okamika and Maté came to an end.

It was going to be a long hot day for the break

This was the signal for Maté’s teammate, Ibai Azurmendi, to attack. No body joined the little Basque climber and in no time he was caught by the peloton. The teams of the GC riders came forward and the fight started for the right positions. Little happened on the first climb, although stage winner, Australian Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco), saw his chances for the stage victory disappear due to a flat tire.

An extra day to recover for the GC men

The dry fields were nearly the same colour as the Euskatel-Euskadi jerseys

In the last kilometres the pace went up and the peloton was pulled to a thin line. Red jersey wearer Evenepoel was a bit far back in the peloton and Roglič had noticed. The Slovenian saw his opportunity to grab time and went ‘full gas’ on the last short lump of 500 metres at 8%. At the same time Evenepoel was dealing with a mechanical, a rear puncture. Roglič was pushing on, knowing that he could get valuable time back on the overall.

Not the hardest of days in the peloton

Cofidis were happy to do most of the chase work

Roglič plan seemed to be working in Tomares, but had a bad crash in the finishing straight and was pushed over the finish line with serious injuries and visibly shaken. Pedersen didn’t see any of this as it was all behind him. The Dane was far too good for the competition and took his second stage in this Vuelta. Pascal Ackermann was second, Danny van Poppel third. Evenepoel held his lead in the general classification.

Puncture for Evenepoel

And crash for Roglič

Evenepoel had a puncture in the last 3 kilometres and was placed in the same time as the riders in the first large group behind the four leaders. Roglič is eight seconds closer to Evenepoel in the standings, although the question is how has the crash affected him?

Another stage win and more points for Mads Pedersen

Stage winner, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo): “Yes, I really liked this victory. Everyone was working really hard today. I promised [Alex] Kirsch to win today, he got a daughter yesterday and he wasn’t there for the birth, so the whole team worked really hard to give him this second present in a few days. This win is for Alex, his wife and his new kid. No, [I didn’t expected Roglic to attack] not really, actually. It was a really smart move, everyone was really on the limit. Ackermann was just in his wheel, really good job, and I had to use a lot of energy to close him. It was a really good move. I didn’t hear [the crash], I wanted to go to him and I saw he was with destroyed clothing. It’s a pity that he crashed, he hasn’t been lucky this year. I hope he’s not too bad, so he can keep contending for the victory of La Vuelta.”

How bad are the injuries?

Overall leader and Best Young Rider, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I had a puncture on my rear wheel. I wasn’t in the best position. We did a recon of the finale yesterday and we felt the roads were really slippery. I was a little bit scared to be honest in the last 4-5km. I lost some positions. And then I wanted to move up on the steep bump but my rear wheel just went off. I felt I had a flat tyre. I’m happy that the 3km rule exists! Otherwise I would have lost a lot of time today. And then I heard that Primoz [Roglic] crashed so I really hope he’s ok and he can continue the race. Actually, I expected him to attack. We all know that Primoz is really explosive so a finale like this is really made for him. That makes it even more a pity that he crashed. You never want anybody to crash. I felt recovered today. I really needed the rest day because of my crash as well. I felt much better today than I did on Saturday and even on Sunday. It looks pretty good for the rest of the week.”

Good luck for Evenepoel?

# Keep it PEZ for everything Vuelta a España. #

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo in 4:45:29
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:08
6. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
7. Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Clément Russo (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Jesús Ezquerra (Spa) Burgos-BH
10. Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 61:26:26
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:26
3. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 2:01
4. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 4:49
5. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 5:16
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 5:24
7. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 7:00
8. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM at 7:05
9. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 8:57
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 11:36.

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