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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, September 4, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

History is nothing but gossip about the past, with the hope that it might be true. - Gore Vidal

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Vuelta a España stage 14 reports

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

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

The fifth summit finish turned out to be the most demanding stage of the race so far for Remco Evenepoel, who was put under pressure by his rivals, all of whom attacked in waves on the toughest part of the final climb. Remco however managed to limit the losses and remain at the top of the general classification with one stage to go until the third rest day.

Remco Evenepoel leading Juan Ayuso up the final climb of the day. Sirotti photo

A hard tempo from the bottom of Sierra de La Pandera ripped the peloton apart, leaving only a select group in pursuit of the breakaway. Having controlled the stage from the beginning, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl remained prominent with Ilan Van Wilder, who set the tempo for Evenepoel, burying himself for the red jersey. When the big moves came four kilometers from the top, Remco showed a lot of maturity, not panicking and riding his own tempo on the double-digit gradient that began to bite, despite losing contact with his rivals, who tried to make him crack, only to see a spirited and resilient response from the GC leader.

This allowed the Belgian not only to make sure the gap didn’t go over the psychological barrier of one minute, but also to bridge across to some of those that had initially dropped him, in the end coming home around 50 seconds behind his main opponents. Ahead of the toughest ascent of the race – Sierra Nevada, which will take the peloton at an altitude of more than 2500 meters – the 22-year-old has a buffer of 1:49 over the second-placed rider and remains optimistic about his chances of carrying la roja into the third week.

“It wasn’t my best day, that’s for sure, and I suffered a bit as I didn’t have my best legs, but there’s no reason to panic. If this was my bad day, then I can be content with that. It’s important to recover for Sunday and try to defend myself on the tough summit finish that we have at the end of the stage”, said Remco after donning the red jersey for the ninth consecutive day. “The last three kilometers of the climb were really steep, and the wind made it impossible to stay in the wheel, but I remained calm and kept fighting. I can’t say that I’m worried, because others lost time as well in the previous days, that’s how a Grand Tour works. The confidence remains at the same level and I’m ready to do my best on the last mountain stage before the rest day.”

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Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma posted this report:

Primoz Roglic has taken time back on classification leader Remco Evenepoel in the fourteenth stage of the Vuelta a España by escaping from the group with classification riders on the final climb. The Slovenian of Team Jumbo-Visma finished the stage third in third place.

Primoz Roglic on the day's final climb. Sirotti photo

A breakaway gained a four-minute lead following a quick opening phase. In an equally fast final phase, the escapees' lead quickly dwindled after Robert Gesink and Chris Harper, among others, had made an effort at the head of the pack on behalf of the Dutch team. After his teammates’ work, it was Roglic's turn, who attacked from the considerably thinned group. Only escapee Richard Carapaz managed to stay ahead of Roglic and Miguel Angel Lopez. The three-time Vuelta champion caught up to the red jersey holder by 52 seconds.

Roglic also hopes to make up time in the coming days. “It was a beautiful day for us. Sometimes you lose time; sometimes you gain time. Today it was me who gained time. Hopefully I can continue this trend because I'm starting to feel better. My teammates have done a great job and I am happy to be part of this team. Madrid is still a long way to go and we must keep fighting.”

Harper kept up his speed well into the final. The Australian looked back on a good ride and is happy with his contribution to his leader’s performance. “Primoz asked us to make the final tough. It was up to me to ride at a fast pace on the final climb. Seeing Primoz become stronger inspires everyone. The whole team believes in him.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann did not anticipate catching up to the classification leader today. “It is a very nice bonus to have diminished the time difference. I saw a solid squad along the way. Primoz rode the final well. I look forward to tomorrow because, in my view, that is the queen stage. Primoz is still quite far behind, but it is good to see we are still fighting.”

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Joao Almeida's UAE Team Emirates posted this report:

The 14th stage of the Vuelta a Espana was a two-faced stage, arriving in Sierra de la Pandera after a 160.3 km race, with UAE Team Emirates taking a double top-10 through Joao Almeida and Juan Ayuso.

The first 100km of the day were flat with many attacks and splits, with UAE Team Emirates initially being caught out and forced to push and work well as a team to get back in contact with the group.

Only after 80km at the foot of the first GPM, 9.8 km at 3.5%, did the breakaway develop an advantage, gradually gaining more and more on the pursuers.

The race, however, was decided on the last ascent to the finish line with 8.4km at an average 7.8% and peaks at 15%.

In the group various attacks put the leader Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) in difficulty, with Almeida gaining ground to finish fourth at 27” behind the winner Carapaz (INEOS-Grenadiers).

Joao Almeida headed to a fourth-place finish.

There was bad luck for Ayuso who lost time due to a puncture, but managed to finish in the top 10 with less than a minute lost.

Almeida: “Today we raced full gas from start to finish. The team came together at the beginning of the day after we had a nervous moment with splits. In the end the legs were good and I managed a good result. Unfortunately Juan got caught up with a puncture on the last climb but he managed to save the situation. I think tomorrow is going to be a key stage. I trained in Sierra Nevada a lot this year so know the roads well and how hard they are.“

Tomorrow another stage that could prove decisive: 149.6km scheduled with departure from Martos and arrival in Sierra Nevada.

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

A difficult weekend of racing commenced today with a 160 km stage from Montoro to Sierra de la Pandera. The terrain of the first half of the course was relatively flat, but the 22 km long and steep final climb brought several riders into difficulties. Sergio Higuita initially tried to make the jump into a breakaway group, but the peloton wouldn't let them go and it was only after 70 km that a group ultimately managed to break free.

On the final climb, the peloton was decimated while a quartet including Richard Carapaz attacked from the group of escapees. 4 km ahead of the finish, the Ecuadorian broke away from his companions and was able to take the day's win. Behind him in the group of favourites were Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley. The Dutchman finished tenth, yet lost two places in the overall standings, now sitting in 8th place, while Jai maintained his 13th place.

Wilco Kelderman racing in stage twelve. Sirotti photo

"The plan was to make it into the breakaway today. Sergio initially was able to do that, but then his group was brought back. Then we turned to our other plan, which was for me to try for a good result. The guys did as always a great job to help bring me to the final climb, and there I tried to follow my own rhythm. I realised that I don't really have the best legs at the moment. But I'm still going to keep fighting, as there are a lot of stages still ahead of us." - Wilco Kelderman

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