The 18th stage of the Vuelta a España went down to the general classification contenders, with Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) taking the stage victory solo ahead of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in second and Enric Mas (Movistar) in third.
Roglič held onto his race lead with three stages to go in this year’s Vuelta.
Multiple attacks and breakaways that formed early in the stage came together at the front of the race to form a mini-peloton of 32 riders ahead of the actual peloton containing the race leader and his foes.
The climbing whittled the breakaway down as the stage went on, but their advantage was kept in check under 6 minutes. Michael Storer (Team DSM) went on multiple attacks from the breakaway to scoop up mountains points, eventually taking the lead from his teammate Romain Bardet atop Altu de la Cobertoria. After nabbing the mountains jersey, Storer continued on alone, gaining over two minutes advantage on the breakaway behind him with 25 km to go.
Ahead of the final climb and with less than 20 km to go the peloton absorbed and spat out the breakaway. Storer, on the hunt for a third Vuelta stage win 2021, remained the only escapee out front.
David de la Cruz (UAE-Team Emirates) attacked from the peloton with 10 km left to climb and caught Storer with 7 km to go only to leave him in the mist. Behind, the favourites start to fight each other. López attacked a group containing Roglič inside the final 4 km and passed De la Cruz over a km later. He continued on to win the stage alone, with Roglič finishing 14 seconds later.
La Vuelta ciclista a España (2.UWT) Salas → Altu d'El Gamoniteiru
Bahrain - Victorious