Crosswinds shakes up Vuelta’s longest stage: Sam Bennett takes second, Rafał Majka loses time on the GC
The race headed back to racing after the second rest day and kicked off the final week with the longest stage in this year’s Vuelta a España. Almost 220 kilometers from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara with a short but 3% steep uphill finish awaited the peloton today. With strong winds along the route, echelons made the race even harder.
It was a fast first hour with an average race speed of 50 km/h, which a large group of 47 riders took advantage of to build today’s break. BORA – hansgrohe’s fast man, Sam Bennett, was among them and together with his breakaway companions they opened up a lead of more than four minutes. With some of the GC contenders also being part of the break, the rest of the BORA – hansgrohe riders stayed at the front of the main bunch and helped to drive the pace which cause some more splits.
After 88km of racing eleven riders from the breakaway dropped, but Sam Bennett was still at the front in a now 33-rider big break. By winning the intermediate sprint he collected four extra points in the battle for the green jersey. The race headed towards the finish in Guadalajara with Sam still being at the front.
Meanwhile Rafał Majka still tried hard to limit his losses together with some other GC contenders. At the front of the race Sam Bennett saw himself battling for the victory against six Deceuninck - Quick Step riders. He fought hard the last kilometers but it was P. Gilbert who crossed the line two seconds ahead of the Irish Champion, who took a strong second place.
Unfortunately, Rafał Majka crossed the line some minutes behind and lost two positions on the overall, sitting in seventh place now, more than seven minutes down on P. Roglic.
01 P. Gilbert 4:20:15
02 S. Bennett +0:02
03 R. Cavagna +0:02
01 P. Roglic 66:43:36
02 N. Quintana +2:24
03 A. Valverde +2:48
04 T. Pogacar +3:42
05 M.A. Lopez +4:09
06 W. Kelderman +5:05
07 R. Majka +7:40
From the Finish Line
“Of course, I wanted to take the win today, but at the end it was a battle six against one. However, Gilbert was the strongest and therefore congrats to him. Today's stage was from kilometer 0 until the line just ridden with high speed and many attacks. I made it into the breakaway of the day and felt quite good, at the end it was just enough for second place.” – Sam Bennett
“It was an extremely hard stage with an incredibly fast tempo right from the start. We have to be honest to ourselves and face the truth, that we were missing the large break with Rafał. Following this mistake, we lost two positions on the overall and got some minutes. For the stage win, Sam was up there but he saw himself fighting against a strong and big group of Deceuninck- Quick Step riders, however he sprinted onto the podium and still took a great result. Well, sometimes you win, sometimes not, but you always learn something.” - Patxi Vila, Sports Director