One thing I would have been confident in writing last week was that a duel between stage-hunter Fred Wright and Primoz Roglic would not end up deciding the Vuelta’s general classification.
But we saw a bizarre stage 16 end the suspense as to whether or not Remco Evenepoel would win the Tour of Spain 2022.
We left the race in our last review at the final rest day with Remco starting to ship time every time the race went up hill.
Enric Mas but more importantly Roglic were taking time back. 10 seconds here, 25 seconds there and as we headed into the tough final week it looked a matter of time before the Jumbo/Visma man would take back the leaders red jersey.
However. Stage 16 bit back and caused drama in the way that only a Roglic capitulation could see.
The short uphill to the finish wasn’t too much of a gradient. This was shown by Mads Pedersen going on to win the stage.
But Roglic shot out of the pack like a rocket at the exact moment the red jersey was dropping back with a puncture.
It was inside 3km from the finish meaning the race jury would allocate the same time as the main peloton to Remco. But that would still mean a time loss as Rog powered up the finishing straight.
No-one truly knows if Rog had an inkling of the leaders woes when he attacked. But it soon became academic as he crashed into Wright in the final metres. Roglic bolted from one side of the road to the other and the two clashed handle bars before the Slovenian hit the deck.
His Vuelta was over and he has since pointed the finger of blame at Wright. Unfairly for me.
This left Mas the main challenger but over the next mountain stage, won heroically by Rigoberto Uran, he couldn’t get away.
The final true mountain stage ended up being won by Remco who put 2 more seconds into Mas and that was that.
Pedersen, Richard Carapaz and Juan Sebastian Molano won the remaining stages but it was the Belgian who ended his homelands long drought in three week grand tours.
Despite the anticlimactic last few stages it was a really decent race this and sets up next summer’s big races perfectly.
|1||1||–||EVENEPOEL Remco||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||850||400||16″||80:26:59|
|2||2||–||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||680||290||23″||2:02|
|3||3||–||AYUSO Juan||UAE Team Emirates||575||240||4″||4:57|
|4||4||–||LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel||Astana Qazaqstan Team||460||220||10″||5:56|
|5||5||–||ALMEIDA João||UAE Team Emirates||380||200||7:24|
|6||6||–||ARENSMAN Thymen||Team DSM||320||190||16″||7:45|
|7||7||–||RODRÍGUEZ Carlos||INEOS Grenadiers||260||180||7:57|
|8||8||–||O’CONNOR Ben||AG2R Citroën Team||220||170||10:30|
|9||9||–||URÁN Rigoberto||EF Education-EasyPost||180||160||22″||11:04|
|10||10||–||HINDLEY Jai||BORA – hansgrohe||140||150||12:01|