Los Machucos, Slovenia’s paradise
September 6 th 2019 - 17:50
Sensational Slovenians! The 20 yo prodigy Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) took his second stage win of La Vuelta 19 atop the infamous Alto de Los Machucos and only his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow him all the way to the summit. Roglic increases his GC lead to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), now trailing by 2’25”. And Pogacar climbs on the overall podium and takes the white jersey as the best young rider 17” ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team).
Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) doesn’t start due to a muscle damage. The other riders participating in La Vuelta 19 follow again the trend they’ve been setting since the start of the race with a hard battle for the break. Attacks fly from the start but the break only manages to get away in the last kilometre up the cat-3 Alto de la Escrita (km 39.4). There are 29 riders at the front. The best classified on GC is Education First’s Sergio Higuita, 14th with a delay of 10’21”. The polka-dot jersey and winner at Javalambre Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) is also there, as well as Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), winner in Ares del Maestrat, and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) on the day after his victory in Bilbao. The leaders open a gap of 2’55” after 55km.
The attackers keep fighting on a rolling route. Jesus Herrada takes 3 KOM points atop the Alto de Ubal (km 56.6). Wout Poels (Team Ineos) claims 5 in the Collado del Ason (km 86). Herrada is back on top with the cat-2 Puerto de Alisas (km 106). The gap to the bunch increases to 8’25” and Sergio Higuita moves ahead of Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez (3rd overall, best young rider) on the virtual standings.
Saez, Latour and Quintana tried... But Pogacar and Roglic were too strong
Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias) attacks his breakaway companions as the race enters the last 50km. He enjoys a 1’45” gap to his chasers atop the Puerto de Fuente Las Varas (29.1km to go). Astana up the tempo in the bunch and bring the gap down to 6’30” at the summit. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) are 58” behind the leader atop the Puerto de la Cruz de Usaño (19.2km to go), the main chasing group trails by 1’59” and the gap to the bunch is down to 5’07”.
Bouchard drops down to the chasing group to help his leader Pierre Latour. Bruno Armirail catches Saez with 6.5km to go, and then Latour goes solo in the lead in the last 4.5km. Nairo Quintana is the first GC contender to attack, 6km away from the summit. But nobody can keep up with the Slovenians Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) when they accelerate inside the last 4km. They get back to Latour with 1.5km to go and Pogacar takes it home, 27” ahead of the Frenchman, Valverde and Quintana.