Fuglsang sings in the mountains
September 9 th 2019 - 17:54
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) made the most of a gruelling day and his climbing abilities to win stage 16 of La Vuelta 19 atop an unprecedented climb. After a stellar Spring and an unlucky July, the Danish rider was part of the 21-man break that managed to get away after more than 50km of hard racing and he dropped all his companions in the Alto de la Cubilla to claim the solo win ahead of Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos). His leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) attacked in the final climb. He couldn’t drop Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) nor Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) but both Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) dropped time.
It’s another hard fight for the breakaway as riders attack from the gun and the battle keeps going for more than 50km. Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Rémi Cavagna, James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Romain Seigle (Groupama-FDJ) are slightly ahead of the bunch at the bottom of the Puerto de San Lorenzo (km 50). They are joined by 17 more riders in the climb: Imanol Erviti (Movistar Team), Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Jakob Fuglsang, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team), Max Richeze, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Amanuel Ghebreizhabier (Team Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Gianluca Brambilla, Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Angel Madrazo (Burgos BH), Fernando Barcelo, Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias).
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) briefly goes on the move but Jumbo-Visma manage to keep a bunch of 35 riders under control. Geoffrey Bouchard takes the 10 points at the summit to lead the virtual KOM standings. The bunch trails by 2’45” at the summit. The race situation settles in the valley leading to the Alto de la Cobertoria and the attackers enjoy a 4’42” lead at the bottom of the climb. Again, Bouchard goes first at the summit ahead of Madrazo. The gap to the bunch is up to 7’.
Astana shake the race at the front and in the bunch
Attackers already battle it out in the last valley bit but they’re still together when they hit the first slopes up the Alto de la Cubilla, with a lead up to 9’10”. Jakob Fuglsang accelerates twice and Gianluca Brambilla is the only one to follow him 7km away from the summit. The Dane drops everyone with 4km to go and soloes to victory ahead of Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Astana riders up the tempo in the last 7km and Nairo Quintana is quickly dropped. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) attacks with 6km to go but his GC rivals follow. He goes again with 4km to go, and this time only Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) can follow him. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) drops 23” on the line. Quintana finishes more than 2 minutes behind and sees Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) take his spot in the GC top 5.