Rui Costa won the fifteenth stage of the Vuelta a España 2023, after traveling 158.3 kilometers between Pamplona and Lekunberri. The Portuguese from Intermarché-Circus-Wanty was the best of the break, defeating the German Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and the Colombian Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), second and third, respectively. American Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) maintained the lead.

The first 50 kilometers of the stage passed between ups and downs, after passing Puerto de Lizarraga (19.3 km at 2.6%), which was the first climb of the day, and after many attempts, a 14-mile break was consolidated. cyclists among whom was again the Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) and the beetles Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) and Einer Rubio (Movistar Team).

On the first climb of the day Marc Soler tried and was countered by Jonas Vingegaard and Aleksandr Vlasov, but Jumbo-Visma controlled the situation, meanwhile the breakaway of 14 riders, with the two Colombians included, was consolidated.

Consequently, Remco Evenepoel, Santiago Buitrago, Lennard Kämna, Rui Costa, Cristián Rodríguez, Jonathan Caicedo, Chris Hamilton, Kenny Elissonde, Rudy Molard, Nico Denz, Jimmy Janssens, Andreas Kron, Geoffrey Bouchard and Einer Rubio were at the head of the race.

Next, the runners headed to a local route around Lekunberri that included the Puerto de Zuarrarrate (7.3 km at 4.8%). That circuit and the climb had to be completed twice, leaving the last summit eight kilometers from the finish line, where Buitrago from Bogotá was the main protagonist.

At the close, Buitrago and Costa decided to attack at the beginning of the final climb. The duo opened a gap of 15 seconds and, led by the Colombian, that difference with Evenepoel’s group grew to 25 seconds. Kämna managed to join the two leaders before reaching the summit. However, Buitrago launched himself into the eight kilometer descent, reaching a slight advantage, but was quickly recaptured.

On a somewhat flatter section, Kämna tried to take advantage of his time trial qualities. He opened a small gap and took many risks, with all the consequences that entailed. The German went to the ground, suddenly putting Costa and Buitrago in a winning position. However, the duo did not agree and suddenly slowed down, allowing Kämna to return.

Evenepoel’s group was also able to get closer in the last kilometer, but in the trio’s sprint it was Rui Costa who took the victory with a wide margin ahead of Kämna and Buitrago. Evenepoel entered 4th and Rubio 6th.

The Iberian round will have its second day of rest this Monday. The actions will return on Tuesday, September 12 with a 120.5 kilometer stage starting in Liencres and arriving in Alto de Bejes, a second category port with 2.7 km at 9.2%.

Source: Revista Mundo Ciclistico