After a week of dominance in the climbs and time trials, the most recent stages of the Vuelta will have left Belgian fans chewing their finger nails as Remco Evenepoel starts to shed time to the chasing pack.
I say pack. I really mean multiple defending champ Primoz Roglic and Spaniard Enric Mas.
The rest are too far back.
However, in the weekends mountain stages (ahead of the rest day today) both have taken time back from the race leader, something that looked unlikely a few days ago.
We left the race in the last post with a time trial in Alicante. It was dominated by Remco.
The following day was won by Kaden Groves in a sprint before we started to climb again.
Way down on time after a tough first few stages, Richard Caparaz was given free reign to leave the peloton in a breakaway and he took that chance winning in Estepona. The favourites came home together over seven minutes back.
Mads Pedersen had been in a number of breaks trying to build his lead in the points competition and won stage 13 in an uphill reduced bunch sprint.
It was the sort of finish we know the Dane has, but don’t see it often enough in the classics and stage races. This will have done wonders for him though although it was a shame to hear post stage that he wouldn’t be taking this form down to Australian for the upcoming world championships. I would have made him favourite.
Carapaz won again at La Pandera on Saturday with Evenepoel finally showing weakness and being dropped by Roglic and Mas.
The feat was repeated yesterday on a stage won by Thymen Arensman at Sierra Nevada.
The time gap between the leader and Roglic now down to 1m34s.
Its been tough for Remco, losing Julian Alaphillippe to another crash and shoulder injury. The reigning world champ would have been crucial to keeping the red jersey holder in touch on the last mountain stages.
It’s going to be an interesting last few days. I see Roglic as the likely winner though now I have to say. There are three uphill or summit finishes left for him to make the real breakthrough.
Remco looks tired and on the back foot without his team to defend him. It’s painful to watch.
Either way its going to be an exciting last few days of the final big stage race of the 2022 season.
|1||1||–||EVENEPOEL Remco||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||20||6″||56:40:49|
|3||3||–||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||14″||2:01|
|4||5||▲1||AYUSO Juan||UAE Team Emirates||4:49|
|5||4||▼1||RODRÍGUEZ Carlos||INEOS Grenadiers||5:16|
|6||6||–||LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel||Astana Qazaqstan Team||10″||5:24|
|7||7||–||ALMEIDA João||UAE Team Emirates||7:00|
|8||11||▲3||ARENSMAN Thymen||Team DSM||10″||7:05|
|9||10||▲1||O’CONNOR Ben||AG2R Citroën Team||8:57|
|10||13||▲3||HINDLEY Jai||BORA – hansgrohe||11:36|