With the race and the podium of its three riders practically assured, the Jumbo-Visma team insists on making life difficult for itself and tensions begin to emerge between its three leaders with Sepp Kuss who defended the lead tooth and nail against the attack of his own teammates in the seventeenth stage of the Vuelta a España.
It turned out to be a stage in which the Slovenian Primoz Roglic set a pedaling pace that, clearly, also sought to beat Jonas Vingegaard, second in the segment and overall, while Kuss came in third on his own birthday. . The civil war within Jumbo-Visma is ready.
This Wednesday it was the turn of the fearsome Angliru, without a doubt, one of the toughest colossi of those who climb in professional cycling, with permission from the monstrous Zoncolan. As on Tuesday, a short day of just 125 kilometers that started next to the sea in Ribadesella and with the hardness concentrated in the last third of the stage with the chain of La Colladiella, Cordal and Angliru.
As expected, the stage started again at a thousand miles per hour with Remco Evenepoel, as he had already promised during the rest day, emerging as the protagonist, looking for an escape at all costs. A leak that would take more than 50 kilometers to arrive, first with a cut of 5 units and which forced Remco to row from behind in order to reach what would be the final cut.
A getaway of the day that was selected even before reaching the start of La Colladiella and in which Remco was in the lead with his partner Mattia Cattaneo and the Groupama-FDJ cyclist Lorenzo Germani as a stone guest. In fact, halfway up the climb he ended up giving in thanks to the Belgian’s hard pace.
From behind, there was an interesting movement with the unexpected start of Marc Soler, who little by little opened a juicy gap, which lasted for more than a minute despite the fact that Jumbo-Visma continued marking his particular pasodoble.
Between Colladiella and Cordal there was a flat link section where Mattia Cattaneo gave all his strength, managing to open the gap between Remco and Marc Soler, almost 2 minutes at the beginning of the Cordal and almost 3 with the group of favorites at that same point. A beginning of the Cordal where the Italian opened up after turning for his teammate and let Remco Evenepoel fly alone towards this iconic victory that had been marked on the agenda, in fact, Remco got carried away during yesterday’s stage to the point to finish in the penultimate position.
For his part, Marc Soler also left his teammates at the beginning of the port but, without the spark of Remco, who could not close the gap, he began to give way to the group of favorites where Bahrain-Victorious had taken over from Jumbo -Visma toughening the race one more point if possible.
In fact, at the top of the Cordal the peloton had practically hunted Marc Soler while Remco maintained around 2 minutes 20 seconds, a difference that left his stage victory uncertain given the tremendous hardness of the Angliru and the tremendous wear and tear along the way. of the day in the search for the escape.
At the foot of the Angliru, while passing through La Vega de Riosa the difference had decreased to 1:20 although it would stabilize in the first part of the Angliru despite the fact that Bahrain-Victorious redoubled its effort. Meanwhile, Marc Soler dropped out of the peloton, accusing the effort made in his fruitless adventure.
Passing through Viapará, the false flat section before facing the inhumane last kilometers, Remco Evenepoel’s income was already negligible and is decreasing thanks to the pace of Bahrain-Victorious, which, in addition, continues to decimate the main group. That was when Romain Bardet’s change of pace arrived, giving the Belgian cyclist the finishing touch.
Then it was the turn of Wout Poels who redoubled the effort, eliminating not only a willing Bardet but also taking down Juan Ayuso and Cian Uijtdebroeks first. The same thing happened a few meters later with Enric Mas. A Wout Poels who left everything in the face of Mikel Landa’s predictable attack.
But the fans’ dream of seeing Mikel Landa winning in the legendary Angliru could not be fulfilled. Right at the curve that marks the beginning of the brutal Cueña les cabres ramp, with its maximum ramps of 23%, it was Primoz Roglic who took the lead and, without attacking, at pace, opened up one meter, two, three… despite Despite the great efforts of Mikel Landa, he could do nothing to close that gap.
As if that were not enough, at the end of the Cueña, both Vingegaard and Kuss surpassed the Alavés and closed the gap with Roglic with tremendous ease while Mikel watched sadly the tremendous power of Jumbo-Visma.
When we were all preparing for an image like that of that Paris-Nice stage with three cyclists from the Dutch team crossing the finish line in unison, the unexpected happened. Roglic’s pace took its toll on leader Sepp Kuss and he dropped off without his teammates making the slightest attempt to wait for him.
Kuss would cling to Mikel Landa’s wheel, gritting his teeth in a heroic attempt to save the blunt jersey. Meanwhile, Roglic and Vingegaard rushed towards the end of the stage as if they had to hurry every second, achieving victory, more due to skill and placement in the final descent of Primoz Roglic.
Sepp Kuss overtook Mikel Landa in the final meters, while apologizing to him for taking third place after tailgating, but he needed the bonus of that place to save the red jersey in extremis and certify a new Jumbo-Visma triplet.
For his part, Enric Mas was caught by Juan Ayuso and both crossed the finish line, with helplessness etched on their faces, more than a minute and forty seconds behind the Slovenian, which puts their podium ambitions a little further away with one less day to go. in front of.
This Thursday there will be a new mountainous stage in Asturias with the final double ascent to the Cruz de Linares and in which, in the absence of any cyclist who can overshadow the Dutch team, the incentive will be the outcome of the internal war unleashed within of Jumbo-Visma despite the fact that the team continues to insist on conveying that there is an agreement between directors and riders so that the one who appears strongest ultimately wins.
Classification Stage 17
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 3h15’56”
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) m.t.
Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +19”
Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) m.t.
Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) +44”
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +58”
Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1’20”
Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) m.t.
Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +1’42”
Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +1’43”
Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +60h34’21”
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +08”
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1’08”
Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +4’00”
Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +4’16”
Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +4’30”
Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +6’43”
Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +7’38”
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +9’26”