Quintana already lights up La Vuelta 19
August 25 th 2019 - 17:58
The lumpy roads leading to Calpe already saw the main contenders of La Vuelta 19 get on the move, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) soloing to victory on Sunday. The race split after an intense battle in the last climb of the day, the Alto de Puig Llorença, with more than 20km to go and the Colombian climber made the most of the situation to open up a 5” gap to a chasing group led by Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) ahead of Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma). Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) dropped 37” and Roche is the new leader of La Vuelta, six years after a first stint with La Roja.
The 176 riders participating in La Vuelta 19 pay tribute to Bjorg Lambrecht - Lotto Soudal’s rider who tragically passed away at the beginning of the month after a crash in Poland - with a minute of silence before the start of the stage from Benidorm. Attackers appear motivated by the challenges lying ahead and it takes 15km of battle for a break to get away at the bottom of the 20km climb up the Puerto de Confrides (cat-2).
Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal) and Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) make the most of this first climb of La Vuelta 19: Madrazo claim the first KOM points 1’30” ahead of two chasers, Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin). Astana drive the bunch for the leader Miguel Angel Lopez with a delay of 6’30”. The chasers join the leading duo in the second climb of the day, the Alto de Benilloba, and Madrazo takes 3 more points at the summit.
The gap is almost up to 7 minutes when Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe get to the front of the bunch with 130km to go. The German squad steadily reduces the gap and the pack crosses the finish line for the first time (km 156) with a delay of 1’25”. Sander Armée drops his breakaway companions with 41km to go and is eventually reeled in by the bunch 10km further.
Valverde sets the pace
The race opens up in the last climb of the day, the spectacular Alto de Puig Llorença (3km, 9.5%). Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) sets a hard tempo and only 20 riders remain in the front group. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) trails by 40” at the summit.
Another group of six strong riders attack with 20km to go: Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates). They enter the the last 10km with a lead of 20” over the Lopez group. Nairo Quintana accelerates again with 3km to go and soloes to victory, 5” ahead of Nicolas Roche, who takes the red jersey from Miguel Angel Lopez as the Colombian drops 37” on the line.