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Thursday, September 8, 2022

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Vuetla a España stage seventeen reports

We posted the report from the race organizer with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Rigoberto Uran's Team EF Education-EasyPost:

Dropping his head in disbelief, Rigoberto Urán was the first to cross the line on stage 17 of La Vuelta a España.

The win not only moves the Colombian into the top ten overall but also sees him join an elite group of racers who have won a stage at all three grand tours.

Rigoberto Uran enjoys his win. Sirotti photo

“It’s beautiful to win in the Vuelta,” says Rigoberto Urán. “I’ve been looking for this for several years because I’d already won at the Tour and the Giro. So as a three-week rider, to win here is very special. It’s not just this year that I was looking for this win, I’ve been looking for it for years, so I’m very happy and I want to thank the team and my family.”

The fight to get into the breakaway was hard and the move of the day took nearly forty kilometers to stick. The breakaway was a strong one, featuring thirteen riders, ranging from classics riders to pure climbers. While the group worked well together throughout the stage, building up a seven minute lead over the bunch behind, the lead up to the final climb of the day - the Monasterio de Tentudía - saw several riders try long range moves.

Rigo was patient and showed his experience. Following wheels and closing gaps, it was clear that the Colombian was on a good day. Once on the Monasterio de Tentudía, Rigo closed several gaps, ultimately passing the last rider with a few hundred meters to go. By the time he crossed the line, a few meters ahead of the next best rider, Rigo had given it his all, dropping his head in disbelief.

This is Rigo’s first grand tour stage win in over five years. Along the way he has had to overcome numerous injuries including a career threatening crash the last time he raced the Vuelta in 2019. This one is a big one for the Colombian and he knows it.

"This win shows that we always have to believe and fight, even if sometimes the results seem far off,” he says. “The important thing is to get up every day and ride with a good attitude, with happiness and with hope.”

Disfruta [Enjoy], campeón. Congrats to the entire team.

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

Remco Evenepoel made it twelve consecutive days at the top of the general classification after successfully defending La Roja on the climb to Monasterio de Tentudia. On paper, the ascent looked to be an easy one, having an average gradient of just 5%, but that told only half of the story, as it included two short downhill sections before the final four kilometers, which featured some steep ramps of 7% that promised to make it difficult for the riders.

Evenepoel was indeed tested in the final two kilometers, when Enric Mas (Movistar) put in a dig at the front, but he responded promptly, sending a clear message to all his opponents. Shortly after, Remco took command of the small but select group of favourites, controlling things and even accelerating out of the saddle with the finish line in sight, gaining a few seconds on some of the other general classification contenders.

Remco Evenepoel finishes with Enric Mas right at his side. Sirotti photo

With only four stages to go, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 22-year-old remains firmly in control of the standings, where two minutes separate him from the rider in second, but the Belgian stressed out that the fight for victory is far from being over, with three days in the mountains still on the menu.

“I expected Mas to attack, I knew he would want to see how I reacted, but I felt good, despite not being the easiest of finishes, with some steep gradients in the final part, all this after another fast and nervous stage. The team was very good again today, they set the tempo and protected me until the climb, where Dries brought me in a good position, and all I had to do there was follow the moves. I’m satisfied with how things went, but we have a couple of more difficult days left here and we must keep the same focus”, said Remco, who continues to lead also the youth classification.

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

Primoz Roglic has missed the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España after crashing on Tuesday. The 32-year-old Slovenian, three times winner of the Spanish stage race, was severely affected by his injuries. Team Jumbo-Visma was unable to compete for the stage win in the hilly stage to Monasterio de Tentudía.

Before the crash: Primoz Roglic wins stage 4 of this year's Vuelta. Sirotti photo

“Primoz was in a lot of pain last night”, sports director Addy Engels said about the crash’s consequences. “That is also why he did not appear at the start today. His medical scans this morning showed no fractures but did show several bruises and abrasions. Pain and his injuries prevented him from racing. It is tough for him and the team. Yesterday Primoz showed he was not yet done in this Vuelta. It's also psychologically taxing. His world has fallen apart, but we know he'll fight back. Fighting for the general classification is over, so we'll aim to win stages.”

Immediately after the start signal, a fierce battle ensued for a place in the leading group. Chris Harper and Rohan Dennis were active at the front but lacked the fortune to be in the right breakaway. In the end, thirteen riders formed the leading group of the day and eventually battled for the stage win.

Harper was disappointed with Roglic’s abandonment. “We came to the Vuelta to ride in support of Primoz. We were convinced we had a good chance to win. Primoz was extremely motivated to fight in the final stages. Unfortunately, crashes are a part of this sport. We must regroup and make the best of the coming days.”

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Filippo Conca has to leave La Vuelta due to covid

Conca's Lotto Soudal team sent me this bad news:

Filippo Conca did not start of the 17th stage of La Vuelta today, as he has covid. The Italian youngster from Lotto Soudal was riding very offensively, coming in 5th in stage 9 and also being present in the breakaway in stage 14.

Filippo Conca: “I am very disappointed having to leave my first grand tour like this. Especially as I was feeling very well before I got sick yesterday. I had the feeling that for the first time in two years, I was really able to show what I am capable of. This first grand tour experience has been very valuable for the future and I hope to come back next year.”

Conca at last year's Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

Team doctor Stéphane Horman: “It is sad to see another rider abandon because of covid. We are taking all the necessary precautions: our riders and staff are wearing facemasks, even within our own bubble, we are social distancing and all riders have their own separate room. It is difficult to work like this, but the safety of our riders is the most important during a grand tour.”

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Maximilian Schachmann ends season prematurely with fatigue syndrome

Schachmann’s Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this update:

Following medical examinations, Schachmann was diagnosed with fatigue syndrome. As such, a joint decision was made that Max should make use of an early and longer break, in order to start the 2023 season fully recovered.

"I thank the team for their support during this difficult time for me. There is no other therapy than rest, so I will now be taking a longer break. This will give me the opportunity to get back to full health and come back at what is a normal level for me. Of course, I would also like to thank my teammates who will now have to compensate for my absence at races. My goal is to be able to thank everyone with good performances in the coming season." - Maximilian Schachmann

Max Schachmann at this year's Tour de Romandie. Sirotti photo

"Max has had a difficult phase since the Olympics last year. He was just not stable enough to put down an appropriate foundation in training, there were repeated health setbacks. Of course, he was able to display his class at times, like at the Tour de Suisse, but then there were also crashes. Now we know that Max requires a break to fully recover. He will of course receive that necessary break. Just as we try to carefully build up young riders, our philosophy is also about balancing the right amount of pressure on established riders in order to achieve long-term success together. Accordingly, sometimes one must make tough decisions in order to live up to this philosophy. Max is without question a winning rider and an important pillar in our team. It is also hard as a team manager to see a top rider such as Max struggling like that. There is no point ramming one’s head against the wall, so to speak. For Max, this means he will now head into his season break. Once he has recovered properly, we would like to start preparing for 2023 early and are currently targeting a start to the season in Australia." - Ralph Denk

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