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Saturday, September 3, 2022

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Vuelta a España stage 13 reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Mads Pedersen just got himself and his Team another Grand Tour win this year, making the 2022 season one of his best.  After winning Stage 13 of the Tour de France in July, Mads Pedersen sprinted to victory in La Vuelta today – in stage 13!  For some, an unlucky number.  For Mads, Stage 13 appears to be his founded sweet spot in three-week races.

Mads Pedersen wins stage 13. Sirotti photo

“This is super nice,” exclaimed Mads. “We knew that this final was super good for me, and the boys were super focused all day.  I am just happy that I could finally get the win and give back the boys something back for all the work they did so far -it’s really nice for all of us.”

Stage 13 ended in the expected bunch finish, but what separated this one from the previous sprint endings was that the last meters were uphill.  It was a finish crafted for one strong-minded man and his determined team. It would take more than pure speed – which Mads proved he had plenty of after finishing in second place in three stages! – it also required raw power.

“This morning we had a plan and the whole team was super committed,” said Mads. “We put pressure on the whole team today, and in the end, I had to deliver. A bit of pressure is always good, and it can give you an extra 10% in a finale like this. I like pressure like this, and I like to give the guys back what they were working for.”

No one stood a chance against Mads’ force when the sprint unfolded.  Pascal Ackermann tried by jumping first.  But Mads was quick to grab his wheel, and from there… game over.

The 26-year-old Dane powered around Ackermann and even had time to look behind – and see no one close – before he raised his arms to the sky.  Trek-Segafredo came for a stage win, and after Mads finished three times as runner-up in Stage 13 they finally got it.

“Alex (Kirsch) delivered me in the last corner, so there was still 800m to go, so it was perfect that Jumbo-Visma made a good hard tempo and that Pascal Ackerman jumped early.  It meant I could jump with him.  It was a long, long sprint – a full sprint, so a 330m sprint today.”

“I don’t care about the 2nd places,” continued Mads.  “We came here for a stage win and now we have one.  It’s just nice to win, after all the work, not only from myself but from everyone.  I am just super happy that I could finally give the whole team, not only riders but also the staff, this victory.  Whether it’s 1 centimeter or 50 meters, it doesn’t matter. A win is a win.”

Trek-Segafredo came into the race with two goals: to win a stage and the green jersey.  With the victory today, Mads eighth of the season, he also added to what may be an insurmountable lead in the points jersey.

“It’s super nice to have a comfortable lead in the jersey, but it still would have been nice to have Sam (Bennett) here to keep fighting for the jersey,” he added. “We have the victory we wanted and maybe now we put a bit more focus on winning green.  I think we have a few more stages that fit me well, and this should help keep the jersey as well.”

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Here's the report from GC leader Remco Evenepoel's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Another day, another performance for Remco Evenepoel at the Spanish Grand Tour; by retaining La Roja Friday afternoon, he became, at the age of 22 years and 220 days, the youngest rider since the inaugural edition in 1935 to lead the general classification for eight consecutive days. It happened at the end of another hot stage, which took the bunch from the picturesque city of Ronda to Montilla, in the province of Cordoba, over 168.4 rolling kilometers.

Remco Evenepoel goes into the weekend wearing red. Sirotti photo

The high temperatures were the main difficulty of the day, which came down to an uphill bunch sprint after being animated for almost four hours by a three-man breakaway. The entire Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team stayed around Evenepoel at all times, keeping him out of the wind and well-positioned, before escorting the Belgian safely home through the final hectic kilometers.

“It’s been a hot day and nervous at times in the peloton, but overall, a good stage for us, and I am proud to continue wearing this jersey, one of the most beautiful in cycling. Now I will try to recover as best as possible and be ready for the hard weekend that we have ahead. The heat and the fatigue could play a role, but our goal remains keeping the red jersey and my advantage in the general classification. I think there will be attacks, and the plan is to do my best to defend the jersey in the hard mountains of Saturday and Sunday”, Remco explained after the stage.

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Here's the Vuelta report from GC second-place Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has tried to take the stage victory in the final phase of the thirteenth stage of the Vuelta a España. The black and yellow formation pushed to the front in the vicious final and tried to sprint for the podium places. Primoz Roglic eventually finished ninth as the peloton's strong sprinters did not let up.

Primoz Roglic (waving) before the start of stage seven. Sirotti photo

Team Jumbo-Visma unexpectedly revealed itself at the front in the uphill last kilometre, much to the crowd's excitement in the finish city of Montilla. The team made clear that it was aiming for the podium and the bonification seconds that come with it. Roglic's team's approach failed because they didn't surprise day winner Mads Pedersen, among others.

"This was a classic sprinters' stage, but one with a vicious final", sports director Addy Engels said. "On a flat finish, we would not have come to the front as a team. We wanted to seize the modest opportunity we saw today with both hands. The men put Primoz in a good position. In the end, the truly powerful riders proved to be too strong. Our move was well timed. We wouldn't have had a chance for a good result if we hadn't tried. The team showed its best side today and that's encouraging."

Engels observed that his squad is making progress. "At Thursday's finish, the guys surrounded Primoz excellently as well. That's encouraging on the eve of an important weekend. The classification will likely be determined during the upcoming two days. During the rest day on Monday, we will evaluate our performance and determine if that was the case. It seems that everything is falling into place. The men are approaching their top form and those who have had bad luck have already made a full recovery. That's a welcome boost ahead of an important weekend."

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Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this stage thirteen report:

Traversing the middle of Andalusia, today's 168.4km undulating stage from Ronda to Montilla offered the fast men one of their last chances at this year's Vuelta. BORA - hansgrohe was aiming to bring in another strong result today with Danny van Poppel, who finished second in the fast finish two days ago.

Danny van Poppel (on right) finishing second to Kaden Groves in stage eleven. Sirotti photo.

The team from Raubling was part of the chase to reel back the breakaway, and with the leading trio eventually having been brought back, the team got to work to prepare the final sprint for Danny. On the finish straight, he rode right at the front of the group but about 400m before the finish line, the sprint was then opened by P. Ackermann. The German was quickly overtaken by the day's winner Mads Pedersen, while Danny finished fifth.

"The finish was much harder than we had anticipated. I think quite a lot of riders actually underestimated how steep the finale would be. On those inclines, I didn't quite have the punch that was necessary to take the win. When Ackermann and Pedersen were out front, I saw that the finish line was still slightly further away, so I waited a bit, but they were already too far ahead. I tried my best, but it wasn't my day in the end." - Danny van Poppel

"As a sprinter you of course always hope for more than fifth place. Still, the guys worked well towards our goal, especially Jonas, who was involved in the lead-out, and Ryan, who brought Danny into a good position. In the end, the sprint was a bit too hard, so chapeau to Pedersen for being able to take the win there. Despite losing Sam Bennett, however, we still want to continue to be involved in the sprints and also be in a strong position with Wilco in the overall classification." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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