Pogacar and Quintana, co-princes of Andorra

September 1 st 2019 - 18:24

The 20 yo wonderkid Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) has claimed a spectacular stage win in Cortals d’Encamp after an action-packed day of racing. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) lit up the race with 20km to go and a thunderstorm made the race even more brutal. The ace leader Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) had already been dropped with 45km to go. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) finished second to claim La Roja, 6” ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma). The Colombian climber leads La Vuelta for the first time since his overall victory in 2016.

A short explosive stage with an uphill start leads to a very intense battle for the breakaway. The fight is full on up the cat-1 Coll d’Ordino, summited first by Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias) and Patrick Bevin (CCC Team). No less than 30 chasers bridge the gap to them in the downhill, featuring Lotto Soudal’s Carl Fredrik Hagen, 7th on GC with a delay of 3’45”. Other GC threats include Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman (12th, +6’37”), AG2R La Mondiale's Pierre Latour (14th, +6’56”) and Mitchelton-Scott's Mikel Nieve (15th, +7'02”).

The gap is up to 4’11” when Movistar start driving the bunch at the bottom of the Coll de la Gallina. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-La Mondiale) goes solo at the front of the race with 45km to go. Astana Pro Team up the tempo for Miguel Angel Lopez and the race leader Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) is dropped 3km away from the summit. Geoffrey Bouchard goes over the top (km 56.6) just ahead of Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida) and a reduced group of chasers. The Lopez group trails by 3’19” and Nicolas Edet is 1’ further behind.

Fireworks through the storm

Bouchard is still alone at the front as the race enters the last 20km. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) already goes on the move, once, and then twice, and nobody follows him with 18km to go. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) and Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) get back to Bouchard 14km away from the finish. Miguel Angel Lopez is 1’45” behind them. And the rest of the favorites are 35” further behind.

Marc Soler (Movistar Team) makes his way to the front of the race and goes solo inside the last 5km, while Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) bridge the gap to Miguel Angel Lopez. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is on his own, trailing by 15”. Through the storm, the race is turned upside down again when Nairo Quintana and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) join Soler in the last 2km. The young Slovenian goes solo while Nairo Quintana takes the second place to snatch La Roja ahead of Primoz Roglic, who surged to 4th in Cortals d’Encamp, ahead of Valverde.

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