Gilbert wins a windy stage 17 at the Vuelta a España: Daily News Digest
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Philippe Gilbert tops Sam Bennett to win a windy, fast-paced stage 17 at the Vuelta a España as Nairo Quintana jumps up to second overall, Dylan Groenewegen sprints to victory on stage 5 of the Tour of Britain as Matteo Trentin retakes the GC lead, American rosters for road worlds unveiled. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Gilbert wins stage 17 of the Vuelta a España
Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) took his second stage win of this year’s Vuelta a España on a stage 17 that did not play out according to the expected script. What seemed like a straightforward opportunity for the sprinters on a flat profile turned into a dramatic breakaway stage after crosswinds helped launch a massive move in the early goings.
Gilbert took the win out of the break, completing the stage with an incredible average speed of 50.6 kilometers per hour, following a great display of tactics from his Deceuninck-Quick-Step squad. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) settled for second after expending energy closing down a late attack by Gilbert’s teammate Zdenek Stybar. Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna nabbed third.
Movistar’s Nairo Quintana finished with the escapees to surge from seventh to second overall. A whittled-down red jersey group ultimately managed to limit the gap to the day’s dangerous break to around five and a half minutes, keeping Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic in red, but with Quintana jumping back into the podium conversation and now sitting 2:24 back.
“I think it’s the kind of stage that will stay in history, because of the way we rode. It was crazy from the gun,” Gilbert said after arriving at the line more than an hour ahead of the time schedule. “I had a 54×11 and I was spinning all the time. In 17 years as a pro, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. It was really, really crazy.”
The 219.6-kilometer stage from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara did not feature a single categorized climb, but a huge breakaway jumped clear in early crosswinds, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step playing the biggest role in forming the move. The Belgian squad managed to place an impressive seven riders in the escape, which grew to total more than 40 riders, including GC threats Quintana and sprint star Bennett.
With so much firepower up the road and winds continuing to batter the race, the break quickly built a hefty advantage. Dozens of riders were shelled out the back of the dwindling pack as those near the front upped the tempo to limit the damage.
The gap was up over four minutes after an hour of high-speed racing, with both peloton and breakaway maintaining a torrid pace that saw riders constantly dropped from both groups. Astana and Jumbo-Visma set the tempo in the red jersey group for much of the way, with Movistar also putting in a big push with around 50 kilometers to go despite Quintana’s presence in the breakaway five minutes up the road.
With the domestiques in the chasing pack began to flag, the “peloton” was down to around 20 riders for the final 30 kilometers, although with the biggest GC names – Roglic, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) – still in the mix. The gap hovered at around five minutes for the rest of the way.
With a reported average speed of 50.63 kmph, Philippe Gilbert smashes the record for a race over 200km to take the Ruban Jaune from Matteo Trentin.
The first time in its 80+ history that the record was set in a stage race #LaVuelta19
— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) September 11, 2019
As the break approached the finish with the fast-finishing Bennett looking like a strong candidate to win a reduced sprint, Stybar soloed off the front. Although his advantage began to dip going under the flamme rouge, Stybar still had a small gap with half a kilometer to go, motivating Bennett to put in a big dig well before the line to make the catch. With 300 meters to go and Gilbert winding up to speed behind, Bennett began to fade, opening the door for the 37-year-old Belgian to cruise past to take a clear victory, his second so far in this year’s Vuelta.
Quintana, who lost a big chunk of time on Monday’s stage 16, arrived a few seconds later, jumping right back into the GC conversation. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) were the other GC riders making big strides out of the break, with the former moving from eighth overall to sixth and the latter from 11th to eighth.
Stage 17 results
1 GILBERT Philippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 4:20:15
2 BENNETT Sam (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:02
3 CAVAGNA Rémi (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
4 TEUNS Dylan (Bahrain Merida)
5 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb)
6 KOCH Jonas (CCC Team)
7 CRADDOCK Lawson (EF Education First)
8 DECLERCQ Tim (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
9 DILLIER Silvan (AG2R La Mondiale)
10 KNOX James (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 0:06
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 66:43:36
2 QUINTANA Nairo (Movistar Team) 2:24
3 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 2:48
4 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:42
5 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 4:09
6 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 5:05
7 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 7:40
8 KNOX James (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 8:03
9 HAGEN Carl Fredrik (Lotto Soudal) 10:43
10 TEUNS Dylan (Bahrain Merida) 12:21
Beauty of Cycling
With a solid mix of GC action and breakaway battles – and one hectic sprint finish – week two at the Vuelta a España offered plenty of intrigue.
Check out some of the best images from the action in our latest gallery.
Groenewegen sprints to Tour of Britain stage 5 victory, Trentin retakes lead
Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) nabbed his third stage victory in five days at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain. The 26-year-old Dutchman proved fastest in a bunch kick in Birkenhead, winning stage 5 ahead of impressive youngster Matthew Walls (British national team) and Matteo Trentin of Mitchelton-Scott.
That third-place finish was enough to propel Trentin back to the top of the GC standings after stage 4 winner Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) spent one day in the leader’s jersey. Trentin now leads van der Poel by three seconds with three stages left to race.
American selection for Yorkshire worlds unveiled
USA Cycling has announced the American rosters for the upcoming road world championships in Yorkshire.
Reigning U.S. road champ Alex Howes and his EF Education First teammate Lawson Craddock, Sunweb’s Chad Haga, and Jumbo-Visma’s Neilson Powless make up the four-rider men’s squad. Haga – who nabbed a time trial stage win at the Giro d’Italia this May – and Craddock will both race the worlds TT as well as the road race.
Brandon McNulty (Rally UHC) is another notable set to attend, as a member of the men’s under-23 team.
The seven-rider women’s road race squad is composed of national champion Ruth Winder and her Trek-Segafredo teammate Tayler Wiles, Leigh Ann Ganzar (Hagens Berman-Supermint), Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), Leah Thomas (Bigla), Chloe Dygert-Owen (Sho-Air TWENTY20), and Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans. Two-time world TT champ Amber Neben will race the time trial alongside Thomas and Dygert-Owen.
Colorado Classic to return in 2020
The Colorado Classic will return in 2020. Organizers have announced that presenting sponsor VF Corporation has signed on for another year, with the race expecting to run from August 27 to 30 in 2020.
The UCI 2.1-rated stage race ran as a women’s-only event this year for the first time, with Chloe Dygert-Owen sweeping all four stages and taking the overall title.
Coming up at the Vuelta
Stage 18 of the Vuelta a España runs 177.5 kilometers from Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra.
With four category-one climbs on offer, the day is sure to see some excitement.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Philippe Gilbert wins stage 17 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019