Slovenian Tadej Pogačar, the stage race revelation of 2019, moved past two rivals on Saturday’s final GC day of the Vuelta a España while winning his third stage of the 74th edition. At the expense of Nairo Quintana, he seized the final podium spot, and at the expense of Angel Lopez, he nicked the white young riders jersey. Pogačar became only the third-ever rider to win three stages of a Grand Tour before turning 21 years old. With the fight elsewhere, Pogačar’s compatriot Primož Roglič wasn’t challenged for the race lead and will win his first ever Grand Tour after Sunday’s procession into Madrid.

The Course

The last day to move in the GC contained six categorized climbs, the last two the most crucial. The Puerto Peña Negra was a 13.5 km, 6 percent Cat. 1 that crested at 24-km to go. The last climb to the was an anticlimax at 3.8 km of 6.5 percent.

From the breakaway quintet Sergio Samitier of Euskadi Basque Country-Murias took maximum KOM points on the first three climbs before Nicolas Edet, who led for a day and tumbled out of the top-10 on the wild, Quintana-in-the-echelons stage to Guadalajara, scooped him on Climb 4.

Ninth place James Knox was fighting hard to keep in the top-10, for a crash on Friday had left him weakened. He had teammates helping him to stay in contact with the red jersey group.

Endgame

On Puerto Peña Negra, two fugitives skipped away as the peloton drew closer. Angel Lopez attacked and all his top-5 rivals were able to match him. Just before the last fugitives came to heel, Pogačar dashed away.

The young Slovenian moved past first Lopez and then Quintana in the GC. He crested with a 1:30 lead over the red jersey group. Astana and Movistar were hopeless in solving their problem in the remaining 24-km.

Valverde managed to defend his second place on GC, which will give him his eighth career Grand Tour podium and his first since the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Quintana is now fourth; he also missed the Vuelta podium by one spot in 2015. Still, fourth place will be his best Grand Tour result in the last five tries. Lopez adds fifth in the Vuelta to seventh in this year’s Giro.

Of all the unlikely fellows in the top-10 on the final rest day, only Carl Fredrik Hagen remains; Knox dropped out with Mikel Nieve taking his place–Nieve has been 10th in five Grand Tours. Marc Soler’s ninth will be his first Grand Tour top-10.

2019 Vuelta a España Stage 20
1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) 5:16:40
2) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +1:32
3) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.

2019 Vuelta a España GC
1) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) 66:43:32
2) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +2:33
3) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +2:55
4) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +3:46
5) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +4:48
6) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +7:33
7) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Sunweb) 10:04
8) Carl Fredrik Hagen (Norway/Lotto-Soudal) 12:54
9) Marc Soler (Spain/Movistar) +22:27
10) Mikel Nieve (Spain/Mitchelton-Scott) +22:34

Report error or omission

Related

Leave a Reply