This was the grand tour that looked the least likely to run its 2020 course after a surge in COVID cases in Europe and refusals from the French authorities to let the opening weekend stages go ahead across the border.
But run its course it did and in keeping with the Tour and the Giro it was a cracker.
Primoz Roglic won riding for Jumbo/Visma after a ding dong battle with Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers with the red jersey changing hands a number of times during the race.
In the end it was time bonuses rather than physical gaps on stages that retained the race for the Slovenian ace although one particualar split that Carapaz missed was highlighted as race defining (despite the gap being only 3 seconds).
The truncated opening and full closing weeks featured terrible weather and it was an early race crash that saw Mike Woods of EF Procycling drop out of the reckoning.
That left leadership in the hands of lanky Lancastrian Hugh Carthy and he didn’t disappoint.
He won the queen stage and was still trying to get the race lead on the final Saturday of the race with an all or nothing attack in the mountains above Madrid. Carthy went on to take the final podium spot in third place.
Let’s hope its a sign of more to come!
Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann were the sprinters of choice in the race, dividing the scarce flat stages amongst themselves. Aside from Carthy there were memorable stage wins for Woods, who had more freedom after losing time and a brace for David Gaudu of Groupama/FDJ.
It was a fitting and excellent end to a season we will review in due course but which did so well to happen in any form.
2021 is looking to have gaps with the Tour Down Under and Tour de Yorkshire gone already. But let’s deal with next year in time.
Vive la Vuelta!
|1||1||–||ROGLIČ Primož||Team Jumbo-Visma||850||400||72:46:12|
|2||2||–||CARAPAZ Richard||INEOS Grenadiers||680||290||0:24|
|3||3||–||CARTHY Hugh||EF Pro Cycling||575||240||1:15|
|4||4||–||MARTIN Dan||Israel Start-Up Nation||460||220||2:43|
|5||5||–||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||380||200||3:36|
|6||6||–||POELS Wout||Bahrain – McLaren||320||190||7:16|
|7||7||–||DE LA CRUZ David||UAE-Team Emirates||260||180||7:35|
|8||8||–||GAUDU David||Groupama – FDJ||220||170||7:45|
|9||9||–||GROSSSCHARTNE Felix||BORA – hansgrohe||180||160||8:15|
|10||10||–||VALVERDE Alejandro||Movistar Team||140||150||9:34|