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Magnus Cort earns EF Pro Cycling a hat trick of Vuelta stage wins

GC scrap never develops on penultimate mountain stage

Photo by: Sirotti

EF Pro Cycling took its third stage of the 2020 Vuelta a España on Friday, as Magnus Cort won a reduced bunch sprint in Ciudad Rodrigo. EF has won six 2020 Grand Tour stages. Race leader Primož Roglič padded his lead by coming runner-up and taking six bonus seconds, and is now 45 seconds clear of Richard Carapaz with one GC day to go. The attacks expected on the day’s big climb never developed.

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The Course

It wasn’t the most exhausting day in the mountains–there were only two categorized climbs. The Cat. 2 Puerto El Portillo came just over the midway point of 162 km and the Cat. 1 Puerto El Robledo peaked with 32 km to go. Both were long climbs but neither averaged more than 4.4 percent.

Attacks began immediately from the flag in Salamanca. Wildcard team Burgos-BH had 50 percent of the riders in a sextet of fugitives and one in a two-man chase behind. After only 35 km the six up front had a 5:00 gap.

Angel Madrazo was one of three Burgos-BH riders sporting perhaps the best kit of the race in a sextet of escapees. Photo: Sirotti

The pace of the breakaway on Puerto El Portillo dropped off one of the Burgos-BH fellows. The gap stayed at nearly 5:00. Ineos tried to animate things over the top, signalling Carapaz’s intent to attack on El Robledo.

El Robledo

On the lower slopes of El Robledo, the break was down to a quartet, with only one purple-clad Burgos-BH rider still involved, and the gap below 1:30. Ineos, Jumbo-Visma and EF Pro Cycling were in that order at the front of a strung-out peloton.

With both the last fugitives and the top of the climb in sight, it was clear that none of the favourites would attack. Movistar grabbed the reins on the descent.

The last of the breakaways, Remi Cavagna, habitual fugitive, carried on ahead of the peloton. With 10 km remaining he held a 12-second lead. It was edge-of-your-seat stuff.

It was Mitchelton-Scott who finally overtook the intrepid Frenchman. Movistar took the field under the 2 km banner. With 1.5 km to go Groupama-FDJ’s Bruno Armirail attacked. Movistar yanked him back. Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa looked like they were going to be the main challengers for the win, but Cort came ripping up the right-hand side of the road to take the victory. Roglič’s second place earned him six seconds over his rivals.

Saturday is the final GC showdown, the stage concluding with the HC-rated Alto de la Covatilla summit finish. Sunday is the procession into Madrid.

2020 Vuelta a España Stage 16
1) Magnus Cort (Denmark/EF Pro Cycling) 4:04:35
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma)) s.t.
3) Rui Costa (Portugal/UAE-Emirates) s.t.
48) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) +1:21

2020 Vuelta a España GC

1) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) 64:20:31
2) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Ineos Grenadiers) +0:45
3) Hugh Carthy (Great Britain/EF Pro Cycling) +0:53
4) Dan Martin (Ireland/Israel Start-up Nation) +1:48
5) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +3:31
6) Wout Poels (The Netherlands/Bahrain-McLaren) +6:21
7) Felix Grossschartner (Austria/Bora-Hansgrohe) +7:20
8) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +8:45
9) Alexander Vlasov (Russia/Astana) +8:54
10 David De La Cruz (Spain/UAE-Emirates) +9:29
27) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) +51:52