Strong Rafał Majka moves up to fifth overall on grueling summit finish on Vuelta a España stage 16
Before tomorrow’s well-deserved rest day, the riders had to face another grueling stage today at La Vuelta with the second consecutive summit finish. Stage 16 covered 144 demanding kilometers from Pravia up to the finish on Alto de la Cubilla. Today’s route offered two category one climbs, before the final 18-kilometer-long and 5% steep climb.
It was a nervous start to today’s stage as several riders tried to form the day’s break. After more than 30 kilometers of racing, a group of 21 riders finally had a small advantage, which increased after the first climb of the day to more than five minutes. BORA – hansgrohe remained in the pack, supporting their GC contender Rafał Majka, who at the start of the day sat sixth on the overall.
The situation stayed the same until the breakaway headed onto the last ascent of the day. The front group fell apart and the attacks were flying, while in the back, the group around the La Roja jersey came closer to the leaders at front. Rafał Majka stayed close to the other GC contenders and, like yesterday, he rode a good pace up the climb. At the 4km to go mark, he was able to put some distance between him and N. Quintana and went up the road with riders like A. Valverde, Soler and the race leader Roglic.
Coming into the final kilometers of the race, J. Fuglsang was already some seconds ahead of his former breakaway companions and took the stage win solo, while some kilometers down, Rafał fought for his position on the GC, crossing the line in 19th place, some minutes behind the stage winner to move up to 5th place overall.
01 J. Fuglsang 4:01:22
02 T. Geoghegan Hart +0:22
03 L.L. Sanchez +0:40
19 R. Majka +6:24
From the Finish Line
“First, I want to say thank you to my team. Once again, they did a great job, protecting me the whole day and staying with me until the final climb. I moved up to 5th overall before we start the final stages of the Vuelta. It is still a way until Madrid, things still can change but first, we take the rest day to relax and get ready for the last stages of this last Grand Tour.” – Rafał Majka
“Another tough stage is done and dusted, tomorrow we can take a small rest on the rest day and get mentally and physically ready for the final part of this year’s tough Vuelta. Our team spirit is still great, the boys work so good together and support each other in every situation. We go into this last rest day with Rafal 5th on GC and of course we want to arrive in Madrid with a great overall place but, we take it day by day, stage by stage.” – Patxi Vila, Sports Director