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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 27, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tour de France: 2019

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vuelta a España stage 12 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Magnus Cort's EF Education-Nippo team:

If Magnus Cort was the happiest rider after today’s breathtaking stage at La Vuelta — Jens Keukeleire was a close second.

“I was really emotional when I saw what Jens did for Magnus, especially after what happened yesterday,” said Sport Director Juanma Garate.

Magnus Cort

Magnus Cort enjoys his stage win. Sirotti photo

Yesterday, Cort came so close to winning his second stage at the grand tour of Spain. No one worked harder than him throughout stage 11 — but wasn’t enough to get the win.

The Danish pro may have come up short, yet it became increasingly evident that despite some bad luck yesterday, Cort had his eyes set on the win for stage 12. An epic finale saw him and his teammate Keukeleire put on a spectacular display of skill, tenacity, and teamwork. Racing really doesn’t get much better than what we saw at the Vuelta today.

“I’m happy that the team wants to support me on these types of stages. I was able to sit in the back and relax and not be in the breakaway for most of the race,” said Cort.

The Dane will be the first to acknowledge that this victory isn’t just his. “In the end, Jens really did an amazing job delivering me to the sprint,” added Cort.

Garate and his team swiftly changed their plans halfway through the race after they saw how well Cort was riding. “Everything went perfect. It’s the kind of day you write on paper what you want to do and in the end everything comes through. It was amazing,” said Garate.

At the finish, a commentator asked Cort if he realized the magnitude of what he’s achieving at this year’s Vuelta. He joins the likes of Primoz Roglic and Jasper Philipsen who are the only riders who also have two stage wins so far at this year’s event. And none of these guys look like they are slowing down any time soon.

“No one in the peloton can really do what Magnus has done these past few days,” said Garate.

This marks Cort’s fourth stage win at the Vuelta. Back in 2016, Cort had won two stages and is now quickly becoming some sort of legend at the race.

“It’s nice to get more Spanish fans, I didn’t get the win yesterday, but I still got so many nice messages from people,” said Cort.

He’ll surely be getting even more messages after this achievement. Congratulations to Magnus and the team on a perfectly executed day.

Here's the report from second-place Andrea Bagioli's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Less than a wheel separated Andrea Bagioli from his first Grand Tour victory in Cordoba, where stage 12 of the race concluded. One of the most beautiful cities in Spain, founded by the Romans 2200 years ago and later transformed under the Ummayad Caliphate into a renowned center of learning and innovation, Cordoba returned at La Vuelta after a decade and it didn’t disappoint.

Andrea Bagioli

It was a close one between Magnus Cort and Andrea Bagioli. Sirotti photo

The day was again raced full gas, a proper breakaway being established only 100 kilometers into the stage. The eight men at the front, despite their best efforts, didn’t have a chance against a bunch determined to see things come back together before the final ascent, which featured some nasty ramps that splintered the red jersey group.

Attacks were launched there, but the small group that got away before the top was brought back on the flat run-in to Cordoba, where Andrea Bagioli showed again the amazing sprint he possesses at the end of a hard day and maturity well beyond his age, taking a close second behind Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) for his third Grand Tour stage podium, after the ones in Suances, last year, and Alto de la Cullera, one week ago.

“To be on the podium of a Grand Tour is always a good result, but today I wanted the victory. I did a good race, made sure of keeping enough energy in the legs on the last ascent and then placing myself onto Cort’s wheel, as I knew he was the guy to follow. In the closing 200 meters I gave everything, but he was just stronger. Hopefully there will be some more chances for me before the Vuelta finishes”, an upbeat Andrea said after our team’s seventh top 3 finish at this edition, at the end of a stage which saw teammate Fabio Jakobsen retain the green jersey.

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

The riders at the Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09) left Jaén in 35 degrees this Thursday for the twelfth stage of 175 kilometer. On their way to Cordoba, finish city for the twentieth time, the peloton had to ride 100 kilometer downhill before encountering two climbs, the Alto de San Jerónimo (13.2 km at 3.3%) and the Alto del 14% (7.3 km at 5.6%). The top of this last one was situated 19 kilometer before the finish.

Odd Christian Eiking, red jersey wearer for the second day in a row, could rely on his teammates to filter the breakaway attempts. The riders desiring to be part of the breakaway were numerous indeed, and it was with 80 kilometer to go that eight riders managed to escape from the peloton. They only had a slight advantage, so one by one the escapees were caught on the final climb. Thanks to the help of Jan Hirt, Rein Taaramäe and Louis Meintjes, there was no issue for Eiking to follow the first group on the climbs and descents and finish in the same time as the winner in Cordoba. Danish rider Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF) was the fastest of the group of 40 riders.

In this way, the Norwegian rider remained the leader of the Tour of Spain, on the eve of the thirteenth stage which will start in Bemmez. The parcours leaves Andalucia to reach Villanueva de la Serena 200 kilometer later without any categorized difficulty.

Odd Eiking

Odd Christian Eiking will start stage thirteen in red. Sirotti photo

"We expected a group sprint today and the scenario, which was in our favor, came true. With several riders who were further down in GC attacking on the final climb, the GC favorites didn't move. Louis and I stayed in the first group thanks to the support of our teammates. On paper, it looks like it might be a similar situation in the flat stage this Friday, but all stay very attentive, because you never know what can happen. I'm already looking forward to the next stage, because it is such a nice feeling to wear the leader's jersey!" - Odd Christian Eiking

Third-place Michael Matthew's Team Bikexchange sent me this report:

Michael Matthews fought to a solid third place, his second podium placing of this year’s La Vuelta a España, after Team BikeExchange led a hard chase to bring back a four-rider move inside the final three-kilometres.

The brutal stage in blistering heat saw a breakaway group of eight riders finally get away after 75km of racing had been completed, before being again caught with 21km to go, only for a dangerous counter-attack to immediately follow.

Digging in and surviving a fast pace on the final two climbs, Matthews made it to the flat run-in to the finish line and was given full support from his teammates to go all in for the stage win.

The entire Team BikeExchange squad came to the fore with 10km to go and buried themselves, in an attempt to bring the race back together and set up the 30-year-old Australian for the sprint. With the help of UAE in the final kilometres, they were able to make the catch with just 650metres to go.

It was then all up to Matthews, after Luka Mezgec did the final pull into position, with the eight-time Grand Tour stage winner launching from the wheels and to third place; his sixth top-10 placing so far at the 2021 Vuelta a España.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews (between Magnus Cort & Andrea Bagioli) was clearly in the hunt for a stage win. Sirotti photo

Michael Matthews - 3rd place:
“After yesterday, today was always going to be difficult. We all came together in the final there and even after I was struggling on the last two climbs to get to the finish, the boys still put it all on the line for me to go for the sprint.

"I already told the team on the first climb I wasn’t going to contest the stage today. I thought it was going to be too much for me, but I gritted my teeth and got myself over the climb and the boys said we will go for me in the sprint.

"We just got jumped a little bit in the final from Magnus Cort, they just timed it better than I did in the sprint there, but I think all-in-all we did a really good team performance today.

"When you have a team like this that supports you through the highs and the lows of a Grand Tour, then you always give it your all to try and finish it off.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director:
"Clearly today was a disappointing day for us but the team was really good, they threw everything at it. I think we had more than any other team left there in the final to chase down those final four riders.

"The boys all committed, we didn’t quite make it count as we were hoping for in the end, but there’s still some stages left. We will have a rethink about today and move on to tomorrow.”

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