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Vuelta Stage Report: Frenchman, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) got the better of Marc Soler (Movistar) on the tough final climb of the Alto de La Farrapona. The two had been part of the ‘Break of the Day’, but rode away from the others to fight it out for the victory. The two top men on GC, Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers), finished together.
David Gaudu whooped across the finish line
David Gaudu won the mountain stage 11, finishing on the top of the Alto de la Farrapona. The Frenchman beat his escape companion Marc Soler after being together in the escape for almost 170 kilometres. The favourites stayed together, probably thinking about Sunday’s l’Angliru.
A big day of climbing for the peloton – The start from Villaviciosa
Stage 11. Villaviciosa > Alto de La Farrapona. Lagos de Somiedo – 170km
Huge days in the mountains! Asturias are set to shape the race for the overall victory of La Vuelta 2020 and it starts today with a summit finish atop the Alto de la Farrapona at the end of a stage featuring almost 5,000m of elevation.
Stage 11 profile
Fernando Escartín’s Comment: “The stage will feature four 1st Cat and one 3rd Cat climb. These will include La Colladona mountain pass, La Cobertoria and San Lorenzo before the final climb of the Alto de La Farrapona. The race leaders will do their best to defend their positions in preparation for the decisive next day at the Alto de L’Angliru.”
The early break
After a short rider’s protest, the stage got under way on Saturday for stage 11. The GC riders kept their powder dry on the way to the Alto de la Ferrapona, but a few brave riders tried their luck early in the stage. Rui Costa, Tim Wellens and Guillaume Martin were some of the riders who showed themselves at the front. Wellens and Martin are involved in a battle for the KOM jersey. Wellens was first on the Alto de la Campa, to put him 4 points behind Martin. The Belgian was then part of the first escape group of the day, unlike his French competitor.
Primoz Roglič back in red
With Ion Izagirre (Astana), Clément Champoussin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Pierre Luc Perichon (Cofidis), José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott) and Gino Mäder (NTT Pro Cycling) Wellens was surrounded by a number of strong riders.
Tim Wellens was originally looking for KOM points
Due to the work of Cofidis, they did not reach the top of the Alto de la Colladona. After they were caught, Martin then escaped with Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Donovan (Sunweb) Michael Storer (Sunweb), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar). The French KOM leader was unable to take any points at the top, but was part of the break.
Second and third overall – Richard Carapaz and Dan Martin
On the descent Wellens reconnected with the David Gaudu group. The eight front runners were then 2 minutes ahead of the peloton, with the climb of the Alto de la Cobertoria on the horizon. Movistar put the pressure on early. Marc Soler, who had been in difficulty a climb earlier, rode away from the peloton and managed to close the gap with the leading group in no time. When the Spaniard joined the leaders, Wellens was dropped for good, the Belgian was paying for his previous efforts. At the top of the Alto de la Cobertoria, Martin managed to take 10 points for a gap in the mountains classification.
KOM leader, Guillaume Martin, eventually got with the break
Solo Soler crossed to the break
On the penultimate climb, the Puerto de San Lorenzo, Martin added another 10 points to his KOM total. In the overall race, this tough climb only resulted in a status quo. Lennard Hofstede held the leading group on behalf of Jumbo-Visma at 2:30. The Alto de la Ferrapona was the final part of the eleventh stage. With only 40 riders left in the peloton, Jumbo-Visma chased Soler, Oliveira, Gaudu, Martin, Storer and Donovan. Esteban Chaves, 7th overall, was in trouble after a mechanical.
INEOS Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma were in-charge of the peloton
Soler attacked 5 kilometres from the finish, the start of the most difficult part of the climb, the climb did not go below 10% from then on. The Spaniard had Gaudu with him. The other riders in the leading group couldn’t hold them.
The break with Soler and Martin pushed on
The two leaders expanded their lead over the peloton little by little. With 3 kilometres to go, they still had 2 minutes. On the Alto de la Farrapona, one of the two riders would take the victory.
Chris Froome working hard for Carapaz
They played some poker in the last kilometre, but in the end it all came down to the last 200 meters. Gaudu put in a big jump to shake off Soler. A little later, Storer came in third just ahead of his teammate Donovan.
In the peloton there was a couple of attacks in the finalé. Mikel Nieve and Alejandro Valverde gave it a try, but their move was quickly neutralised by Robert Gesink. Aleksandr Vlasov was more successful after that. The Russian managed to cross the finish line with a few seconds lead on a day when the favourites were holding back a little for Sunday.
A very happy David Gaudu
Stage winner, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) : “I screamed because I was relieved. The legs hurt in the past few days. I was complaining that it wasn’t going so well and this has been a complicated season. We struggled at the Tour de France and we came to La Vuelta to be more ambitious. Unfortunately Thibaut [Pinot] had to abandon but we stayed motivated together. To win here, at the summit, it’s amazing. I knew I’m explosive and I’m a very strong rider for this type of finish. When Marc Soler attacked with 500m to go, I saw the headwind forced him to quickly sit down again. I waited for the last 150m and I decided to give my all. I saw he was dropped with 75m and it was pure bliss.”
Roglič in red, but what about tomorrow…
Overall leader, Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a hard day in the mountains, the first one, and more is coming tomorrow. Everything is under control, so it was a good day. [Marc Soler] is just a super strong guy, of course he is capable of getting away but we didn’t want to really panic. We showed we have a super strong team, the guys are strong and we did our job. In the end, the race depends on the team, but it’s also a one on one. So far we’ve focused on ourselves, and so far we are doing really good so I’m really glad with that.”
# Stay PEZ for Sunday’s big stage to l’Angliru. #
Vuelta a España Stage 11 Result:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:54:13
2. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:04
3. Michael Storer (Aus) Sunweb at 0:52
4. Mark Donovan (GB) Sunweb
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:55
6. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 0:58
7. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 1:03
8. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 11:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 45:20:31
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:25
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:58
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:54
6. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 2:44
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:31
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:44
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:54
10. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 4:43.