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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 2, 2022

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Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. - H. G. Wells

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Vuelta a España stage 12 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz put in a perfectly timed late attack to secure victory from the breakaway on stage 12 at the Vuelta a Espana.

The Ecuadorian made his way into the day's break before launching the winning move with two kilometres to go on the steep final climb of Penas Blancas.

He's gone. Richard Carapaz on his way to winning the stage. Sirotti photo.

Pushing clear to win by nine seconds, Carapaz claimed his first Grand Tour stage for the team, and a first Vuelta stage win for the team since 2017.

The GC contenders arrived almost eight minutes later, with Carlos Rodriguez and Tao Geoghegan Hart showing well at the front on the final climb. Rodriguez retained fourth overall with an impressive ride, despite losing a handful of seconds in the final metres. The Spanish champion sits 4:06 back on race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step - AlphaVinyl), who battled back from a mid-stage crash.

Geoghegan Hart now sits 10th overall after a pair of breakaway riders leapfrogged the Brit. For his efforts Carapaz jumped back up to 16th overall.

Richard Carapaz:
"To be honest, I feel happiness, because we came here with a goal and the circumstances weren’t in our favour. We had the focus now on trying to win a stage, and I’m really happy with that.

"Bora were doing almost all the work and I waited for the last moment. I know, at 2 km for the finish, that the last .8 kilometres were so hard, and very regular. I knew I had one move left and I made the most out of it.

"I’m very happy. Mostly because the feelings I hoped for from the start are back. I have to enjoy it. I knew I wasn’t coming with the best condition after crashing at home. When we arrived in Spain after the Netherlands, we hit the mountains and it was a bit complicated for me. I moved on mentally to focus on a stage win. I knew I could do it in La Vuelta. Other years, I came 2nd, 3rd… It’s the first time, so I’m moved. There are still many stages to keep trying. We have to make the most of our current level."

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Here's the Vuelta report from second-place Wilco Kelderman's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Most of today’s 192km stage along the Costa del Sol was flat, before the Peñas Blancas, towering above Estepona, set up a showdown among the remaining breakaway riders. In 35-degree heat, Wilco Kelderman and Matteo Fabbro managed to jump into the day's 32-man break. Wilco was the best-placed rider in the GC from this group, at 14:04 minutes down.

At the foot of the final climb, the escapees had around an 11-minute lead. Matteo and Wilco set a high pace here and as a result, the leading group split. After an attack by E. Gesbert about four kilometers from the finish, only Wilco, R. Caparaz, M. Brenner, and J. Polanc remained at the front of the race. When Carapaz attacked shortly afterwards, only Wilco was able to follow.

The Dutchman tried to close the gap of only a few seconds, but in the end, Carapaz proved to be the strongest and took the day's victory. Wilco crossed the finish line nine seconds later in second place, moving up 15 places to 6th overall.

Wilco Kelderman headed for the finish. Sirotti photo

“We wanted to get into the breakaway today, but it took a long time until the peloton let us go. In the end, we were represented by Matteo and me. Our goal was obviously to take the stage win today. Matteo did an excellent job in the breakaway, and particularly on the climb. In terms of strategy, usually a long climb like this suits me pretty well. I think what we did was prefect. We tried to set a high tempo and drop the other riders. It was working really well but ultimately Carapaz was just that extra bit too strong, but we know we did our all today." - Wilco Kelderman

"It was our goal to make the break today. The group with Sergio that initially went clear was bought back, but afterwards we were in the big group of the day with Matteo and Wilco. Matteo did a huge job on the final climb, keeping the pace up for Wilco. I think finishing second behind Carapaz is still a great achievement, it was a strong performance. Wilco was also the highest-placed rider in the GC and after this performance he is now 6th overall. All in all, it was a successful day for us. After yesterday's second place and second again today, we are optimistic that a victory is still to come." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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

Remco Evenepoel continues to maintain a strong grip on the leader’s jersey after the Peñas Blancas, following a solid ride on the 19km Andalusian climb, where he looked in control at all times. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Belgian led home the small favourites group that emerged from an already reduced peloton on the slopes of the climb which returned at La Vuelta after nine years, despite a small incident that gave him a scare on this stage 12.

With around 45 kilometers to go, Evenepoel slid out in a corner and suffered some road rash on his right side, but after a quick change of bikes he was already chasing the bunch, where he returned with the help of Ilan Van Wilder.

Remco Evenepoel, a little worse for the wear, leading a group on the climb to the finish. Sirotti photo

Prominent in the big break that formed 60 kilometers into the stage, Louis Vervaeke dropped out from that group and waited to be caught by the peloton, where he helped with the pace-setting.

Ilan and Louis formed a strong duo that kept things together and protected their leader until with five kilometers to go, when a series of attacks changed the pace and left only ten men there. Remco remained calm, taking over the front and defending himself excellently against all his opponents, retaining the red jersey and the same gap he had opened up atop the standings after Tuesday’s individual time trial.

“Everything looks to be fine after that tumble. It was a very slippery corner and I think the motorbikes were also slipping and slowing down a bit, that’s why I wanted to cut the corner, but it was a bit too much”, the Belgian said before the podium ceremony, where he collected both the red and the white jerseys. “I felt good on the climb and went with my plan, which was to follow the others. I did that and it’s the most important thing at the end of the day. The team was once again great and I want to thank them for the amount of work they put in it. Now I’ll try to recover and continue with our plan, which is to take it stage by stage.”

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And here's the report from fifth-place Marco Brenner's Team DSM:

Today’s stage at the Vuelta saw the peloton faced with a 192 kilometre long stage from Salobreña to the mountain top finish of Peñas Blancas. With rolling terrain in the opening part of the stage it was a fierce start to the day with the team active in trying to make the breakaway, present in several failed moves. Eventually the proverbial elastic snapped after 45 kilometres of racing with Grand Tour debutants Marco Brenner and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg making the large 32 rider move for the team.

Although the gap was held steady at three minutes for a while, the bunch eventually relinquished control and it was clear the break would go on to fight for the stage win. Hvideberg did a brilliant job to help keep the pace high in the breakaway before positioning Brenner on the lower slopes of Peñas Blancas. Immediately the pace went up one notch further and the group was quickly whittled down to ten with Brenner still up there.

Riding within himself, Brenner moved passed others who dropped as they entered the closing four kilometres and the attacks started. Responding well, Brenner closed down several moves and found himself in what was now the front four. Eventually Carapaz made his stage-winning move while behind Brenner fought hard to try and take a podium place. He would ultimately be passed in the closing few hundred metres but still took a very impressive fifth place – his best career result to date.

Marco Brenner finishing fifth. Sirotti photo

Behind in the peloton, John Degenkolb and Joris Nieuwenhuis positioned Thymen Arensman for the finale – where we also had some action in the GC group. A dogged and determined ride from Arensman fight back to the GC group on several occasions before finishing alongside Almeida, after things split in the closing stages.

“Today the plan was for me to go in the break and if possible also be there together with either Joris on Jonas,” explained Brenner. “It was a really big fight today. I felt good at the start, it was quite undulating terrain in the first 30 kilometres and I kept trying but it didn’t go. Later on it was a bit flatter and I was there in the right move with Jonas. It was a really big team effort to bring me into the breakaway; everybody was there trying to help me, especially John. Then it was about saving as much as possible the whole day and Jonas did a really good job of keeping the pace up.

"On the final climb it was a hard pace straight from the bottom. I was on the limit a bit already and we were left with nine riders. It settled down and I recovered and felt quite good actually. Then the big attacks went and there were a lot of big guys in there like Carapaz and Kelderman. I just tried to follow for as long as possible and it was going well, I still believed that if it came down for a sprint then maybe I could even go for the win but then Carapaz put in one last big attack and went. I was fighting for third but in the last kilometre I just didn’t have the legs anymore. I think we can be really happy with the fifth place. It gives a lot of confidence and motivation for the next days. I think Thymen also did a good job out of the bunch, with the guys there positioning him well for the final. In general I think it was a really good day for the team today.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston said: “Big breakaway went with 32 guys and it was good to have both Marco and Jonas in there. Jonas did a really good job to support Marco and bring him into the final climb as best as possible. Marco battled well there for a nice fifth place which I think is really good in his first Grand Tour. In the peloton Joris and John did a good job to bring Thymen into the last climb and he also did a solid final. He lost a little bit of time and slipped a few places on GC but confident that as the race goes on and develops then we will move back up.”

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