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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Vuelta a España stage 10 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Michael Storer's Team DSM:

After an intense day of all-out racing, Team DSM and Michael Storer doubled up at the Vuelta a España in spectacular fashion – with Storer and the team celebrating their second win of the race in Rincón de la Victoria.

Michael Storer

Michael Storer wins again. Sirotti photo

With yesterday’s rest day behind them, the Vuelta a España peloton were back in action today for a 189 kilometre long stage from Roquetas de Mar to Rincón de la Victoria. Evidently well rested, it was a fierce start to the day with an infernal pace set at the front of the peloton as teams and riders looked to get clear, with Team DSM rotating well in covering the moves. Eventually after roughly 80 kilometres of racing the elastic snapped and a large 31 rider group featuring Thymen Arensman, Martijn Tusveld and Michael Storer broke clear.

Working well together and with the pace easing off in the peloton, the breakaway was able to extend their advantage to over 12 minutes as they headed into the first and only categorised climb of the day. Things became tactical and a four rider splinter group got clear, with Arensman riding strongly in the chase for the team to keep the gap close. On the lower slopes of the climb things regrouped and the attacks started again. Remaining calm, Tusveld and Arensman helped to position Storer who came to the fore as the gradient started to bite in the final four kilometres of the climb.

Pushing on at the front, Storer created a gap over the rest of the reduced breakaway, continuing to drive hard over the top of the ascent where he held onto a 15 second lead over Champoussin and 35 seconds over the group of chasers. Taking the sinuous descent perfectly he managed to extend the lead over Champoussin, who was joined by a few others, as the race charged towards the finish. Driving all the way under the flamme rouge, Storer sat up and soaked in the applause from the local crowds, putting his arms aloft to celebrate a brilliant second Vuelta win for Team DSM.

“It’s truly more unbelievable than the last time,” beamed Storer at the finish. “There was a massive fight for the breakaway. It was one of those epic days where it took 80 kilometres before it went and I was happy to get in there with the guys. I was feeling good on the last climb. We knew exactly what we needed to do today to win – to go on the attack. I looked to see how the rest of the guys in the group were doing and felt the moment, and just went for it and hoped for the best. We knew it was tight on the descent and that I had to go fast down there. I was happy with my descent and in the end it was just enough to hold on. I dreamt of one stage win at this Vuelta and now to have two after ten days of racing; it’s unbelievable. The guys did a perfect job to set me up for this today. We didn’t put a foot wrong. This is for all of us.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston continued: “Our goal was to have guys in the break again, ready for the final, and we did a really good job. It took a long, long time for the breakaway to go and when it went we had three guys in there. We knew that Storer was in really good shape and looked after him in the breakaway. A small group went away and Thymen and Martijn did a brilliant job to bring him back into contention ready for the final climb. We said that he had to attack early to make the difference as we weren’t going to win a sprint so we had to go early and make that difference on the climb. That’s exactly what we did and Michael executed the plan perfectly. The guys kept chasing behind but Michael kept the pressure on and took a really nice second victory for us, and we once again showed a really strong display of teamwork.”

Here's the report from new GC leader Odd Christian Eiking's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

After a very colorful first week in the Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09) for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, during which Rein Taaramäe conquered the red leader’s jersey thanks to his stage win on the Picon Blanco, Odd Christian Eiking offered the team a new opportunity to dream in red. In the tenth stage, suited for breakaways and with the Puerto de Almáchar as only difficulty of the day, the riders battled for a long time to form the breakaway. Not less than 80 kilometer after the start in coastal city Roquetas de Mar were necessary for a group of 31 riders to receive green light from the peloton. Between them, the Norwegian Odd Christian Eiking was the best placed rider in the provisional general classification in 19th place and 9 minutes behind Primoz Roglic.

The leaders smoothly increased their advantage, until the time gap crossed the important limit of 10 minutes with 30 kilometer to go. The advantage culminated at 13 minutes at the bottom of the Puerto de Almáchar, the decisive climb of the day with the top situated 17 kilometer before the finish line. It was clear that Eiking would not only race for the stage win, but also for the lead in the general classification. Guillaume Martin was the main threat, as the Frenchman was only 29 seconds down on Eiking in the provisional classification. The Australian rider Storer managed to escape on the steepest parts and took his second stage win in this Vuelta in Rincón de la Victoria. Behind, Eiking reacted well on the attacks of Martin and finished 5th.

Race leader Roglic attacked from the peloton on the first slopes of the Puerto de Almáchar and crossed the line 12 minutes behind the winner. In this way, Eiking became the new leader of the Tour of Spain. The Norwegian had an advantage of 58 seconds on his closest rival Martin, before the eleventh stage suited for punchers. This Wednesday, the stage of 133 kilometer finishes on the well-known explosive climb towards Valdepeñas de Jaén.

Odd Christian Eiking

Odd Christian Eiking is the new GC leader. Sirotti photo

“The feeling to be race leader in the Tour of Spain is indescribable, it is something really big! After Rein's fantastic success, this red jersey is a big bonus for the team. I am very happy. This morning I would never have imagined to conclude the stage in red, as I was 9 minutes down in GC. A miracle was necessary for me to become the race leader. But once I was in the breakaway and I realized that the advantage didn't cease increasing, I started to believe in this miracle. I was aware that Guillaume Martin was a strong contender, because he was close to me in the classification and because he finished 8th in the latest Tour de France. I know the qualities of my former teammate. In the end, I managed to react on his attacks and even to gain time on him. This is important for the next days, because I want to defend the jersey as long as possible!” - Odd Christian Eiking

Here's the update from Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has dropped to third place in the Vuelta a España. A large breakaway group was able to take a lot of time, allowing Odd Christian Eiking to clinch the red jersey. The 31-year-old Slovenian and his teammate Sepp Kuss finished in the first group of favourites after a hectic final.

Primoz Roglic

Roglic just after the stage. Sirotti photo

After a fast opening stage, 31 riders formed a leading group who would ultimately be able to ride for the stage win. The peloton seemed to remain calm, until Roglic attacked on the only categorised climb of the day. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma quickly gained 30 seconds on his main rivals, while Kuss also held on well. Roglic seemed to stay ahead, but due to a crash in the technical descent he eventually finished in the presence of his rivals.

Roglic said he had not suffered any major damage. “I would have felt better if I hadn’t fallen, but I’m okay. It’s a competition; without taking risks you don’t win. I crashed because I went too fast in the descent. The road was slippery.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann was satisfied, despite the crash. “It is about the group that gets away, but we were happy to give up the jersey. That way we could save our strength and control the race. We knew that the last part of the climb was very difficult and Primoz wanted to try something there. Initially, it worked out well, but the slip in the descent was of course unfortunate. He seems to be okay, but he has lost the lead. It’s not a disaster, but it’s a small blemish on a very good day for us.”

Here's the report from second-place Mauri Vansevenant's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Mauri Vansevenant showcased his undoubted talent, delivering a brave ride en route to his first Grand Tour stage podium. It all happened Tuesday afternoon, when the race resumed after a well-deserved rest day with a 189km journey from Roquetas de Mar to Rincon de la Victoria, which had a largely flat course that featured only a classified climb, albeit a demanding one, inside the final hour of racing.

Mauri Vansevenant

Mauri Vansevenant is the first of his group across the line. Sirotti photo.

As expected, a huge breakaway group got clear, but only after a rapid start which witnessed numerous attempts from those who didn’t pose a threat to the general classification. Both Andrea Bagioli, a top 3 finisher last week on the uphill finish of Alto de la Cullera, and Mauri Vansevenant were there for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, helping the move take their advantage over the peloton to more than three minutes.

When the group split on the flat roads leading to the bottom of Puerto del Almachar (10.9km, 4.9%), our youngsters put in a strong effort and helped the chasers join the attackers midway up the climb. Soon after this happened, more attacks came, Andrea being among those who tried their chance. Around three kilometers from the top, Michael Storer (Team DSM) rode away while behind a small group featuring Mauri – who showed the same grit and determination that have become his trademarks since turning pro – pulled clear from the large field and attempted to bring back the Australian.

The trio reduced the gap to the leader, but ran out of road and were left fighting for runner-up and third, and it was Vansevenant, who had proved his fast turn of legs at the end of a hard race with other occasions, who took second place at the end of the day for our team’s sixth podium since the start of the race.

“Today was really tough. We rode full gas for two hours until a breakaway formed, and once this happened, it was good to be there with Andrea. We all knew the last climb would be decisive and you could see that’s where the attacks came. We trailed the guy in the front by around 50 seconds at the top, and worked together managing to claw back time, but despite our effort we couldn’t catch him. In the sprint I had confidence and got a solid second, which will give me the motivation to try again, but I won’t hide the fact I am a bit disappointed as I would have loved to win”, the 22-year-old Belgian said.

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