Magnus Cort wins again as Odd Christian Eiking retains lead at Vuelta a Espana

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Magnus Cort wins again as Odd Christian Eiking retains lead at Vuelta a Espana - GETTY IMAGES

Magnus Cort wins again as Odd Christian Eiking retains lead at Vuelta a Espana – GETTY IMAGES

Thursday August 26 – Jaén to Cordoba, 175km

Magnus Cort won the second stage of this year’s Vuelta a España and the fifth of his career when he once again proved that he is one of the best all-rounders in the race as he beat Andrea Bagioli and Michael Matthews.

The EF Education-Nippo rider, who led a breakaway until 200 metres from the stage 11 finish, sprinted to victory after a gruellingly hot 175km route in southern Spain, holding off a late attack from Bagioli of Deceuninck-Quick Step.

Race leader Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) retained the red jersey after finishing in safely in the bunch that was awarded the same time as the stage winner.

“The team did amazing. They did a great job and today I was able to sit on the back, relax [for] many hours while the breakaway fought it out,” Cort said. “I felt the legs from yesterday, but got over the two climbs and then Jens [Keukeleire] did an amazing job to deliver me for the sprint.”

An eight-man breakaway formed early on that saw reigning champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) again crash but finish in the main group. They led until the day’s final climb – the Alto del 14% – with Maxim van Gils (Lotto-Soudal) pushing on in search of a solo victory.

He was swallowed up by the chasing peloton two km from the summit and a group of four – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix), Romain Bardet (DSM) and Sergio Henao (Qhubeka NextHash) – opened up a gap on the descent.

They were caught with just under one km to the line as Keukeleire moved to the front, teeing up team-mate Cort Nielsen for victory. Reuters

Stage 11: Roglic breaks rivals’ resolve as Eiking retains red

Wednesday August 25 – Antequera to Valdepeñas de Jaén, 133.6km

Primoz Roglic broke the heart of Magnus Cort, and the resolve of his general classification rivals, when the Jumbo-Visma rider surged ahead on the final climb to win his first road stage at this year’s Vuelta a España.

A day after losing his leader’s jersey to Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and crashing on a descent towards the end of the stage, defending champion Roglic was back to his imperious best on what he described as a “short but super hot” day.

Having been delivered to the bottom of the short and steep final climb of the day by his team-mates, Roglic made his initial move around 900 metres from the line before Enric Mas (Movistar), his nearest rival on general classification, followed. As the two duelled it out on the wall-like incline in Valdepeñas de Jaén, Cort laboured. The EF Education-Nippo rider who won from a breakaway on stage six was unable to pull off a repeat as Roglic, Mas and the following group swallowed him up – and duly spat him out the back – in the closing few hundred metres.

Despite having looked the best of the rest, Spaniard Mas was unable to hold the wheel of Roglic all the way to the line after the Slovenian produced one final burst to put space between himself and the Movistar rider who rolled over the line three seconds later. Mas’s team-mate Miguel Ángel López held on for third. Although Christian Eiking kept hold of his leader’s red jersey, with Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) still second at 58sec, Roglic closed the gap on the pair, with Mas 25sec adrift of the defending champion and Ángel López third on general classification.

“I was suffering a lot but luckily I had enough to win at the end,” Roglic said. “It’s always nice to win, you never know when will be your last victory. It was a nice finish with steep uphill, which normally I can do well, so it was a nice challenge and the team did an amazing job, pushing really hard throughout the day.”

Briton Adam Yates finished fifth behind Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), a result that propelled him up a single spot on general classification, though the Ineos Grenadiers rider trails team-mate Egan Bernal by 11sec, both around three minutes behind Roglic who remains the favourite to win the race when it concludes in Santiago de Compostela on Sept 5.

Stage 10: Storer stikes out to win again as Roglic loses lead

Tuesday August 24 – Roquetas de Mar to Rincon de la Victoria, 189km

Michael Storer won his second stage of this year’s Vuelta a España after the young Australian attacked off the front of the reduced breakaway group on the final climb of the day before soloing all the way the the line.

Having got into the day’s sizeable breakaway comprising around 30 riders, the DSM rider once again proved too strong for his rivals, dropping them on the steep slopes of the Puerto de Almáchar. Despite looking a little sketchy on the descent, Storer stayed upright before going all the way and beating Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step) to victory by 22sec, while Clément Champoussin (Ag2r-Citroën) was third.

Fellow breakaway rider Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) became the new race leader after the Norwegian crossed the line 11min 27sec ahead of overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), while Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) moved up the second on general classification. Christian Eiking will take a 58sec lead over Martin into stage 11 with defending champion Roglic now third at 2min 17sec.

Despite losing his leader’s red jersey, Roglic may consider himself lucky after he was able to continue racing having crashed on the final descent following a late surge off the front of a small group of contenders for the overall title. After putting around 20sec into the group with a trademark attack which saw the likes of Ineos Grenadiers team-mates Egan Bernal and Adam Yates lose contact with Movistar riders Enric Mas and Miguel Ángel López and Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Roglic appeared on course to extend his lead over his nearest rivals. The Slovenian, however, hit the ground on the descent after which Mas, Ángel López and Haig soon caught him before the quartet rode to the finish together, along with another small group including Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) and Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Roglic later defended his tactic of attacking that although criticised by some saw him gain further time on Giro d’Italia champion Bernal, saying: “It’s a competition. Without taking risks you don’t win. I crashed because I went too fast in the descent. The road was slippery.”

Bernal and Yates, meanwhile, dropped to seventh and ninth respectively after both losing 37sec to Roglic, with the Colombian now trailing the pre-race favourite by 2min 29sec, while the Briton is another 15sec down.

Stage nine: Caruso solos to victory as Roglic extends lead

Sunday August 22 – Puerto Lumbreras to Velefique, 188km

Damiano Caruso won stage nine of the Vuelta a España after a tremendous solo display in the mountains of Andalusia, while reigning champion Primoz Roglic came second to increase his overall lead.

Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) spent the final 70km of the 188km stage from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Velefique out front alone and although Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Enric Mas (Movistar) were eating into his lead by the end, the 33-year-old held on to win the second grand tour stage of the year and only the fourth professional race of his career.

Caruso crossed the line in five hours, three minutes and 14 seconds, 1min 5sec ahead of Roglic, who edged Mas to the line by 1sec to increase his advantage over the Spaniard to 28sec in the general classification.

Mas launched a brave attack within the final four kilometres and only Roglic could stay with him, widening the gap between the duo and the other Vuelta hopefuls.

Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) is 1min 21sec behind Roglic in third, Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) 1min 42sec back in fourth, while Giro d’Italia champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) is 1min 52sec back in fifth. Reuters

Stage eight: Jakobsen wins again to regain green jersey

Saturday August 21 – Santa Pola to La Manga del Mar Menor, 173.7km

Fabio Jakobsen grabbed his second Vuelta a España stage win in a week, continuing his extraordinary career revival by powering to victory on stage eight while champion Primoz Roglic retained his overall lead.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider bided his time in a frantic bunch sprint at the end of the flat ride from Santa Pola to La Manga del Mar Menor before surging to the front of the queue and keeping his wheel ahead of Alberto Dainese (DSM) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), who came second and third respectively.

Jakobsen also won Tuesday’s stage three, a year after a horrific crash in the Tour of Poland in August 2020 which led to him being put in a medically induced coma and having five hours of surgery for a brain trauma after a high-speed collision with Dylan Groenewegen.

There was no change in the overall lead in Spain as Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and his fellow general classification contenders came over the line together right behind Jakobsen. Roglic has an eight-second overall lead over Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) and a 25sec advantage over Enric Mas (Spain) heading into Sunday’s stage nine, a punishing 188km mountain route from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Velefique which could lead to a change in the general classification. Reuters

Stage seven: Aussie Storer lands his maiden grand tour win

Friday August 20 – Gandia to Puerto de Tibi, 152km

Michael Storer claimed his first grand tour stage win of his career on the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España, while Primoz Roglic retained the leader’s red jersey.

The 152km route featured six categorised climbs, culminating at Balcón de Alicante. With three kilometres remaining of the final climb, Storer (DSM) pulled away from the lead group of Carlos Verona (Movistar), Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) and Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal), holding them off to cross the line first.

“I know what I’m capable of and my next goal was to always win a stage at WorldTour level, and now I’m going to have to set myself a new goal,” Storer said.

Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finished three minutes 33 seconds down on Storer and leads second place Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) by just eight seconds, while Enric Mas (Movistar) is third at 25sec.

Earlier in the day Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), who finished third in last year’s race, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), both abandoned. Reuters

Stage six: Cort holds on for victory as Roglic regains lead

Thursday August 19 – Requena to Alto de Cullera, 158.3km

Magnus Cort landed the fourth Vuelta a España stage of his career after the EF Education-Nippo rider held on all the way to the line atop the Alto de Cullera climb having been part of the day’s five-man breakaway.

Having reached the bottom of the day’s steep final 1.9-kilometre climb in the leading group Cort held off the charging group, containing most of the big pre-race favourites, including Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

“It was very close and I am very happy that I kept Roglic just behind,” Danish rider Cort said in his post-race interview. “I looked back with 150 metres to go and I could see him coming. I sprinted with everything I had and I luckily could keep him behind me.”

After finishing second to Cort, defending champion Roglic regained the leader’s red jersey he lost to Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) on stage three and will take a 25sec lead over Enric Mas (Movistar) into stage seven, while another Movistar rider Miguel Ángel López sits third on general classification at 36sec.

Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) remains the highest-placed Briton in 13th spot, 25sec behind Roglic. It was a disappointing day for Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), the Preston-born rider who was third in last year’s Vuelta, after he finished 2min 50sec down on team-mate Cort. Carthy now trails Roglic by 4min 28sec and is 33rd on general classification.

Stage five: Philipsen roars to victory as Elissonde takes lead

Wednesday August 18 – Tarancón to Albacete, 184.4km

Jasper Philipsen won his second stage of this year’s Vuelta a España as the Alpecin-Fenix rider regained the green jersey from Fabio Jakobsen who he leads by one point.

Philipsen outsprinted Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Alberto Dainese (DSM) to win the crash-marred fifth stage into Albacete, while Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) took the overall leader’s red jersey.

Overnight leader Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) lost 2min 20sec after the Estonian was caught up behind a mass pile-up, while Romain Bardet (DSM) who arrived at the Vuelta in good form, saw his general classification hopes all but end after crawling over the line, battered and bruised, 12min 32sec down.

Elissonde now leads defending champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) by 5sec, while Lilian Calmejane (Ag2r-Citroën) is third on general classification at 10sec.

Stage four: Jakobsen powers to emotional victory

Tuesday August 17 – El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón, 163.6km

Fabio Jakobsen took an emotional win just over a year after the Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinter was involved in a life-threatening crash at the Tour of Poland.

Following his crash at the Tour of Poland that resulted in the Dutchman being placed in an induced coma having broke almost all of the bones in his face and losing all of his teeth, Jakobsen completed his comeback to the top tier of the sport with the win in Molina de Aragón after also taking two stages at the recent Tour de Wallonie.

“This is a dream,” Jakobsen said. “I want to thank my family and the team, my second family, because they are the reason I am here. It’s the most beautiful victory of my career and I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did for me. It’s been a long road since last year, and to be here, a grand tour stage winner again, makes me incredibly happy.”

Trailing Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) with 200 metres to go, the Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinter timed his move to perfection before surging towards the third Vuelta stage of his career, a result that saw the 24-year-old take hold of the green jersey as the new leader in the points classification.

“The finale was hectic, as it always happens when you have a bunch sprint,” he added. “I feel that after this win my comeback is complete and the circle is now closed after everything that happened last year. I feel great, I am at a good level and I’m happy to be here with the team and have the green jersey, which I will try to keep for as long as possible.”

Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) kept the leader’s jersey despite being involved in a late crash. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) trails by 25sec and defending champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is 30sec down in third.

Stage three: Veteran Taaramae grabs first grand tour jersey

Monday August 16 – Santo Domingo de Silos to Picón Blanco, 202.8km

Almost 10 years after winning his last stage at the race, Rein Taaramae went one better on Monday when the 34-year-old claimed victory in the year’s first mountain finish and take the leader’s jersey off Primoz Roglic – the first of his 14-year career.

After getting into the day’s breakaway, which splintered on Picón Blanco, the steep final slope of the day, the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rider sat on the wheel of Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates), allowing the American to do much of the work, while Kenny Ellisonde (Trek-Segafredo) struggled to hold on.

Eventually, however, Taaramae made his move and dropped the pair before riding to the biggest win of his career. “It’s a big deal because I’m 34 years old and I don’t have many years left to try to do this,” he said.

“I have a stage in the Vuelta and Giro [d’Italia] but I’ve dreamt a lot about a leader’s jersey in a grand tour, at least for some days to enjoy and feel how it’s going to be. Today I did it and I’m very, very happy.”

Stage two: Philipsen completes set for Alpecin-Fenix

Sunday August 15 – Calaruega to Burgos, 166.7km

Jasper Philipsen edged out his rivals in a bunch sprint finish in Burgos to complete a hat-trick of stage wins in all three grand tours this year for his Alpecin-Fenix squad.

The Belgian sprinter surged beyond UAE Team Emirates rider Juan Sebastián Molano, who eventually finished fourth, before beating Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) to the line after three hours 58min 57sec.

“It’s incredible,” Philipsen said after grand tour debutants Alpecin-Fenix completed their collection of stage wins following Tim Merlier’s victories at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, while Mathieu van der Poel also prevailed at the Tour propelling him into the leader’s yellow jersey for five days. “Yesterday someone put it in our team group chat and for sure it was a dream but I didn’t want to think about it because the chance is always less high than it would be true. It just shows how everyone from team is really motivated. It was a team effort and we can be really proud.”

Primoz Roglic finished safely in the bunch in 33rd place, but kept hold of his leader’s red jersey after losing no time, ahead of Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) while Matthews moved up to third on general classification. Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), meanwhile, lost 31sec on his rivals after the Briton was caught up behind a crash in the finale resulting in him dropping 40 places to 56th on general classification.

Stage one: Roglic clocks on before roaring back into red

Saturday August 14 – Burgos, 7.1km (time trial)

Primoz Roglic got his title defence at the Vuelta a España off to the perfect start when he won the opening stage, the 7.1-kilometre time trial through Burgos, on Saturday.

Roglic completed the course in 8min 32sec, 6sec faster than Alex Aranburu (Astana–PremierTech), while Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious) was third another 2sec back.

Roglic, who won the Olympic time trial title in Japan just over two weeks ago, later said that though short, the opening stage through the picturesque city of Burgos, was testing. “I am very happy to have achieved this result today,” the Jumbo-Visma rider said. “Although the time trial was only seven kilometres, it was still very tough.

“We’ll see if I can keep the red jersey for three weeks,” the 31-year-old added. “It’s a great start to this race. Hopefully we can enjoy this with the team in the coming days.”

Adam Yates was the highest-placed Briton finishing 16th, 20sec behind Roglic, while his Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Tom Pidcock, making his grand tour debut just two weeks after winning mountain bike gold at the Olympics, was 36sec down in 74th.